The Tirupur Water Supply and Sanitation Project (henceforth the Project) typifies an incongruity in water resource management and prioritisation. It is paradoxical that the textile industry which has over-extracted and polluted the water bodies in and around Tirupur for a decade now, has been given first priority in designing a water supply scheme. Also ironically, the scheme draws clean raw water (nearly 125 million litres per day) from a river source, but does not conceive of a design for the discharge and treatment of the same. Pollution caused due to industrial waste continues to plague Tirupur, even as state of the art technology is being installed to extract and transport water from distant sources. The scheme, in effect, has a direct bearing on the efforts to ensure recycling of waste water and ‘zero effluents discharge’ and in turn, the broader agenda of sustainable water management and conservation.
The Tirupur Water Supply and Sewerage Project has many firsts to its credit – ‘it is the first project to be structured on a commercial format; the first project-specific public limited company for water and sewerage with equity participation of major beneficiaries; first concession by a state government to a public limited company to draw raw water for domestic and industrial uses and to collect revenues; the first index-based user charges and direct cost recovery for urban environmental services; construction, operations and maintenance of infrastructure and related services by experienced domestic and international operators’.