WorldwideNews: ASIA PACIFIC

June 1, 2002
Good governance is crucial to improve water services, an Asian Development Bank expert told attendees at a three-day "Dialogue in Manila," part of the ADB's preparatory activities for the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto in March 2003 under the Water and Poverty Initiative.

Governance crucial to improve water services

Good governance is crucial to improve water services, an Asian Development Bank expert told attendees at a three-day "Dialogue in Manila," part of the ADB's preparatory activities for the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto in March 2003 under the Water and Poverty Initiative.

Bradford Philips, director of the ADB Rural Development, Social Sectors, Agriculture and Natural Resources Division, told participants: "The need for better water governance in the region is criticalellipsea challenge in each country" but "there is no standard approach that fits all needs." Good governance in the water sector means sound management and involves stakeholder participation, transparency and accountability.

One in three Asians lacks access to a safe water source within 200 meters of home. "Water for All" is the vision but, to fulfil it, governance and financing water services are critical issues, said Phillips. He explained that establishing independent regulatory bodies is an integral part of the reform process. Ondeo Services gave an overview of its "Water for All" program in 130 countries where the company is managing water and sanitation services.

Financing water services requires accessing "international and domestic capital markets," said Philips. "We advocate the improvement and expansion of water services through autonomous and accountable service providers, together with cost recovery, good regulation and increased public awareness. We expect to see more private sector participation in the delivery of water services."

He stressed the need for cost recovery to sustain and expand water services and said ADB's experience "is that water users, including the poor, are willing to pay for improved water services," but decisions on water charges need to be taken in consultation with users.

Participants visited four poor communities in Metro Manila where two water concessionaires have launched water service projects for the urban poor.

Project revitalises Karnataka tank systems

A World Bank US$ 98.9-million interest-free loan supports a local approach to managing water resources in poor rural communities by returning the capacity and responsibility for water tank development to village-level user groups. The Karnataka Community-Based Tank Management Project will revitalise approximately 2,000 existing tank systems in poor sub-districts of this south Indian state. The project will build skills and ensure local delivery of resources and technical assistance so that tanks can be effectively planned, maintained and managed locally.

For generations, millions of rural communities have relied on small man-made water reservoirs, or tanks for household use, farming and tending of livestock. These tanks provide water through wet and dry seasons but in some Indian states such as Karnataka, poor management greatly diminished the ability of this traditional system to support the needs of growing villages and communities.

According to E. V. Jagannathan, senior water resources engineer and task leader for the project, "For agriculturally-based communities dependent on seasonal rainfall, improved tank management opens the path to multiple opportunities like a greater harvest and improved access to water in the home.

Similar to successful early models in rural water supply and sanitation, the Karnataka project will provide a learning example for other state governments.

Ondeo wins Shanghai SCIP contract

The Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park (SCIP) chose Ondeo as its partner for the new petrochemical industrial park of Shanghai. Sino French Water Development, a subsidiary of Ondeo, the Hong Kong-based New World Group and the Shanghai Chemical Industrial Park formed a joint venture. Ondeo Industrial Solutions, a wholly owned Ondeo subsidiary, will be responsible for designing, financing and managing water treatment installations and services for the park's industrial effluents. The 50-year contract is expected to generate revenue of US$ 570 million.

Total investments will surpass US$ 48 million for an effluent treatment volume of 50,000 m3/day.

Irrigation project underway in Gujarat

David Brown Engineering secured a £2.3-million order to supply gear units for pumping stations being used to create one of the world's largest irrigation projects in the Indian state of Gujarat. The Narmada project canal system will eventually irrigate 1.8 million hectares of land, and meet the drinking water requirements of millions of drought-affected people.

David Brown is supplying 26 single-stage vertical planetary gear units to the Indian pump manufacturer, Kirloskar Brothers Ltd., which is creating the pumping system. The Narmada gear sets transmit approximately 4,500 kW at 200 rpm, can handle a thrust load of over 90 tonnes, and are engineered to operate in temperatures of more than 45degreesC. The company will deliver the first gear sets in late 2002 following load tests carried out in conjunction with Kirloskar Brothers on rigs at the Huddersfield, UK factory. The gear sets will be supplied over the four-year life of the project.

Kirloskar Brothers is building five huge pumping stations equipped with mammoth concrete volute pumps, which will be capable of lifting some 410,000 litres of water per second to provide irrigation and drinking water.


Japan: The Japanese government funded the construction of a wastewater pumping station, municipal building and a school in Gaza City by underwriting a US$ 5.8 million assistance programme, administered by the UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. All three facilities opened on 14 May. The wastewater treatment station will serve 35,000 inhabitants of Beit Lahia and improve public health conditions in the municipality.

Taiwan: Taiwan Water Supply Corpora-tion, which supplies drinking water to the island of Taiwan, awarded a US$ 86-million contract for re-building and operating the Kaohsiung drinking water plant to a joint venture between Ondeo Degrémont and Ecotek, a subsidiary of the Taiwanese company China Steel. Kaohsiung is the second largest city on the island.

The contract covers the overhaul of some equipment, building new structures and operating the new plant for a period of 15 years. Designed to improve water quality in this city of three million, the new facility will produce 450,000 m3 of drinking water per day as early as May 2004. The Ondeo Degrémont proposal included pulsated clarification, caustic soda carbonate removal, sand filtration, ozonation and activated carbon filtration.

Thailand: The US-based company Earth Tech acquired Aquathai, a US$ 4-million industrial and municipal water and wastewater treatment system contractor based in Bangkok. The Aquathai acquisition increases Earth Tech's presence in Thailand to three offices and complements its operations in the region with offices already in China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Aquathai designs water and wastewater treatment systems in Thailand. The company performs operation and maintenance of industrial and municipal water and wastewater treatment facilities, including preventative maintenance, troubleshooting, start-up/shutdown, repairs, site maintenance and security, and incidental construction in support of modifications.

According to Earth Tech President Diane Creel, Thailand is preparing to privatise "its water infrastructure and the addition of Aquathai strengthens our capabilities in that market." Key Aquathai projects include serving as the process contractor on the Mahasawat Water Treatment Plant for Thailand's Metropolitan Water Authority. Mahasawat treats more than 400,000 m3 of water per day.

India: The Hotel Grand Hyatt in Delhi now meets its demand for water by recycling sewage and domestic wastewater, according to the Centre for Science & Environment's online Down to Earth ( The five-star hotel is not connected to the Delhi municipal water supply system; it depends on four tubewells and purchases distilled water. The recycled water is used for non-potable applications.

Last July 2001, the Ministry of Urban Affairs began requiring wastewater recycling in all establishments discharging more than 10,000 litres per day, but the new regulation has not been effectively enforced. The Grand Hyatt's initiative provides a helpful example for other institutions.