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Case study of water supply in Jaipur from Bisalpur Dam




Our case study is about the water supply system in Jaipur whose one of the sources is Bisalpur Water Dam. We reflect upon the growing urbanisation trend and the climate variability which are predicted to make the water supply system fragile in Jaipur. We also discover that the current scenario of groundwater availability is deteriorating and worsening the water system in Jaipur and peri-urban areas of the city. We will explore the various agencies and institutional mechanisms in operation in the area and make a analytical comment upon these mechanisms in relation to ground water, better planning of surface water, delivery and conservation of water. We will build our arguments by assessing the urbanisation trend in the world and resulting issues for water supply system (WSS) . Then we shall assess the case of Jaipur and make a comparative statement on the current issues in the city.

  • 1.1 Urbanisation and Water system

Almost half of the world resident lives in cities but occupy less than 2% of the land area 1 . It is evident that the provision for water in cities must come through sources external to its urban environment. Due to pragmatic reasons, such as landuse, availability and valuation of land , it does not seem possible for rapidly urbanising countries such as India to make cities self sus- tainable in the provision of water to its citizens. It is bound to have impact on the peri-urban and villages surrounding the urban areas. As argued by

1 http://atlas.aaas.org/index.php?part=2&sec=landuse&sub=urbanization


Anthony[1], who defines urban as the interacting confluence of locality, tech- nology and institutions. Urban cannot be segregated on the basis of density or industrial activity. There is lot of literature available about the impact of urbanisation on water resource management, on hydrological cycle and water quality.

  • 1.2 Groundwater system

Groundwater use in India has drastically increased over the last few decades. It is now the backbone of agriculture and drinking water security in In- dia.Since 1970, an overwhelming majority (80 percent) of the total addition to the net irrigated area has come from groundwater, ensuring that it ac- counts for around 60 percent of irrigation water use [2]. As for drinking water, about 80 percent of drinking water needs come from groundwater [3]. Further, groundwater remains the only source of drinking water for most ru- ral households and forms an important complement to the municipal water supply in most towns and cities. Groundwater is of central importance for the overwhelming majority of the population and the number of groundwater-related issues is rapidly rising.

  • 2 Water Supply Context

Rajasthan is the largest state in the country, it covers 10% of the land area, 1.16% of the surface water resources and has to cater 5.6% of the population. Out of 142 desert blocks in the country, 85 are located in the state primarily in the western parts. Groundwater conditions in the state is at alarming stage, almost all the districts in the state are affected by the contaminants in the ground water of high salinity, flouride, nitrate, chloride content in it. The surface water resources in the state are mainly confined to southern parts such as Udaipur and south-eastern parts such as Kota, Jhalawar of the State. [4]

  • 2.1 Jaipur

Jaipur is a capital city of Rajasthan and has a high rural to urban migration rates. The share of rural to urban migration in comparison to total migration


in the period between 1991-2000 is about 53% [5]. Changes in land use in the peri-urban areas are eliminating groundwater recharge zones , untreated sewage dump in the ground and untreated commercial affluents. Prior to the Bisalpur WSS, 97% of water needs of the city was dependent upon ground- water and as remarked in section 2, high level of contamination may cause

diarrhoea and methemoglobinemia

2 .

Jaipur has a total municipal area of 467 sqkm. connected by the piped water supply system.

Area of 215 sq km is

Jaipur has a population of around 30 lac people out of which 29.70 lakh is covered by the piped water system.

It has a water demand of 462 million litres per day

Water supply in Jaipur is met primarily by two sources : Dams/Reservoir and Groundwater. Bisalpur Dam is located in Tonk district about 100 km from Jaipur. It is a gravity dam and fed by river Banas which is a tributary of Chambal and lies in the Ganga basic. It came into operation in 1999 and used for irrigation, drinking/water supply . It has a catchment area of 2772.6 thousand hectare (th ha).[6] Bisalpur Jaipur water supply project was financed through debt by JICA (Japan International Co-operation Agency) and ADB in March 2004. JICA gave Rs 534 cr at an interest rate of 1.3% with deferment period of 10 years and repayment period of 30 years. It is expected to provide 24x7 water supply to the city and reducing its dependance on groundwater. Public Health and Engineering Department was responsible for the execution of the project.

  • 2.2 Water Supply Situation

According to CEDSJ [7], out of city’s total production of 401 mld of water supply system in 2010, 368 mld came from tubewells while Bisalpur Dam pro- vided 33 mld of water. The sources for this report is attributed to personal communication for data acquisition. However, the government presentations does not differ much but that 72 mld is provisioned by Bisalpur WSS. There are 1897 government-owned and operated tubewells scattered through- out the city, which are responsible for the bulk of total production yield

2 Nitrate nitrogen metabolizes into nitrite nitrogen in the body, and the nitrite nitrogen oxidizes the hemoglobin in the blood


290mld of water. Rest of the supply is done by Bisalpur WSS. Water supply to different distribution zones is done though head works consisting of tube wells, Clear Water reservoirs (CWR), pumping stations, Service Reservoirs (SR). Water is collected from tube wells and collected into CWR pumped to SR and supplied during supply hrs. Surplus water is transferred to deficit zones through transfer mains as ground water availability is not uniform through out the city. In addition, there are roughly 2,477 private hand- pumps installed at various locations.[7]. Local groundwater extraction rates exceed that of the recharge rate, decreasing water tables at an average rate of 1 metre per year.

Tanker Transportation

Tanker transportation of water is being done in connected as well as un- connected areas of city throughout the year. Number of tanker trips during summers is about 2800. Presently, number of trips is limited to about 1000. Out this about 300 are running in outer unconnected areas and balance in the connected areas [8].

Distribution Losses

Jaipur has a high distribution losses of around 44% in 2000 [9]. It is mainly

due to illegal tapping of pipes by households, industries and irrigation projects. It is expected that these losses must have been reduced by using SCADA sys- tems to operate and monitor in transfer systems.

  • 3 Climate Variability and Water Availability

Many cities around the world are faced with the problems of climate vari- ability. We refrain ourselves from calling it climate change (CC) because CC is a long term phenomenon, it is observed over a period of 30 years or more. Erratic rainfall, inadequate tools to conserve that rainfall and indiscriminate extraction has led to severe depletion of groundwater. There is a possibility that this phenomenon will lead to reduction in catchment area of the dam and hence less than expected supply in future. The precise climate change predictions are extremely difficult to do, but looking at the past 20 years data the rainfall is on continuous decline in the Jaipur.

Climate modelling and predictions


Efforts have been made to predict the rainfall patterns affected by cli- mate variability. Climate change scenarios on global and regional scales are generated by Global Circulation models and Regional Circulation models on the basis of different emission scenarios. It has been found that there will be drop in rainfall in all seasons except October-November. Higher likelihood 3 of drought years and variability in arrival of monsoon. [7]

  • 4 State Water Policy

Govt. of Rajasthan came up with Water policy in 2010. Alarmed with the fast depleting groundwater table at the rate 3 metres per year. [10] It came up with the broad policy directives to ensure conservation, quality, optimim utilisation of water resources.

Information system - Development of information system, ensure free exchange and avoid duplication of data.

Prudent and efficient Planning - Water resource projects should be predict future demands of irrigation, drinking, industrial, thermal and hydroelectric projects.

Institutional Reforms- Encourage of private initiative in the water sector, economic analysis and feasibility studies, monitoring and eval- uation of existing water projects.

Groundwater Development - New legislation should be introduced and attempt to control deep drilling through licensing.

Water Priority - National Water Policy, 2012 gives water allocation priority to drinking water, irrigation and industrial use. The state water policy also recommends the same order of priority.

  • 5 Problem identified

There is no dearth of problems related to the water system in Jaipur such as distribution losses, groundwater depletion, expanding of peri-urban areas,

3 a subjective assignment of possibility to an event for which one has little knowledge and no abil- ity to verify the results


migration, climate change, erratic rainfall, supply of water to intermediate areas between source to destination, Non revenue water, capital and recurring cost recovery, pricing of water, equitable distribution, financing of new water projects and others.

  • 5.1 Groundwater Situation

migration, climate change, erratic rainfall, supply of water to intermediate areas between source to destination, Non

Figure 1: Estimation of groundwater resources in Rajasthan as of 2001. Src :

Groundwater Department and Central Groundwater Board

The problem of groundwater needs to be addressed urgently and has been recognised at political and administrative level. The State water policy prescribes to bring new groundwater legislation and control deep drilling. But it has not been translated into action in comparison to the gravity of the problem. The situation of groundwater is sharply deteriorating in the state. Out of 248 Groundwater blocks in the state , around 70% are in the critical state having more than 100% exploitation , see 5.1.

  • 6 Institutions in water resources

Institutions are entities defined by a configuration of legal, policy, and orga- nizational rules, conventions, and practices that are structurally linked and operationally embedded within a well-specified environment [12]. Elinor Os- trom developed an Institutional Analysis and Development Framework which characterizes institutions in terms of three hierarchically related categories of rules: constitutional-choice rules, collective-choice rules, and operational


rules . Laws are outcome of the constitutional-choice and policies are the out- come of the collective choice through the political process while operational rules are to give effect to the laws and policies. Water related institutions can be classified as water laws, water policies and water administration.

  • 6.1 At Macro Level

    • 6.1.1 Water Laws

Water is a state subject. State has every right to do whatsoever with the wa- ter within its boundaries except inter-state water interest. India doesn’t have exclusive water law outlining legal provisions for its provision to its citizens and penal actions. The laws are dispersed in various irrigation acts, court decisions, criminal procedure code. The legal system to counter the emerging challenges related to ground water, wastage, usage ( industrial, commercial or domestic), climate change impact is missing in a single law. Rajasthan has a Soil and Water Conservation Act, 1964 which provides for improvement and conservation of soil and water resources in the State by taking exclusive rights over notified areas, establishment of Soil and water conservation committees and preparation of conservation plans. The plans for enacting new water resources law is also on the board to contain excess groundwater exploitation. It proposes to manage water resources by encour- aging public participation. In Rajasthan, several agencies and departments are involved in the use and monitoring of water resources. It includes Water Resource Department, Agriculture Department, Command Area Development Department, State Groundwater Department, State Pollution Control Board, Department of Industries and Department of Environment and Forest. To co-ordinate among these agencies, state govt constituted another depart- ment to achieve integrated approach to the development, planning and use of water resources. This department was named as State Water Resources Planning Department (SWPRD) [11] . The objective of SWPRD is to achieve the state water policy objectives outlined in section 4 . The existence of so many institutions to regulate water use, pollution, allo- cation has created problems in sharing of information among departments, The water source and utilisation can be segregated in these manner such as


irrigation, groundwater, command area but water efficiency cannot be main- tained through these multiple agencies. It is evident that to regulate these agencies another agency needs to be formed. Having said that, we don’t mean that water should be left to the people to regulate but the number of agencies involved in the overseeing creates bureaucratic impedence.

  • 6.1.2 Climate change consequences

Rajasthan government has created State action plan on Climate Change(SAPCC) on the lines of National Action Plan on Climate Change . The State Govern- ment established a ‘Climate Change and CDM Cell’ in the State Pollution Control Board to act as a nodal agency to deal with all the issues related with Climate Change(CC) in the State. The SAPCC recognises the direct impact of climate change on groundwater resources. It also mentions the impact on hydrological cycles due to climate variations. However, the need for research and development in this field has been left uncared. The im- pact is certain but how much impact is the important and serious question. The policies to address Climate change can happen when the institutions are established and are given resources to assess those impacts and relationships.

Climate change will further increase ground water extraction due to less availability of surface water and rising demand which could further deterio- rate ground water quality and have serious effects on health of people.

  • 6.1.3 Sectoral Policies

The subsidies for irrigation in the form of power and pumps has led to the adverse impacts on the water resources. Moreover, farmers at the head-ends of irrigation projects tend to extract more water and shift their cropping patterns towards water intensive crops.

  • 6.1.4 Innovation and technology led practices

It is necessary to use GIS based aquifer mapping techniques with local assis- tance to better plan the groundwater resources, catchment area of the lakes or rivers. An implementation plan should be developed which should focus


on constructing rain water harvesting structures in different ground water stressed regions.[13]

  • 6.2 At Micro level

    • 6.2.1 Localised Institutions

The institutions as far we have seen does not specify any legal rights for the water. There are evidence of existence of informal water rights among individuals and groups. The problems of water are local (however, they have far-reaching impacts as well), so the solution also needs to be local. The water permit system practiced in many parts for the canal irrigation shows the potential to create local institutions to regulate water use. Moreover, it should be mandatory for the people constructing houses greater than 300 sq m to have an effective rainwater harvesting system in place. The local government should take an initiative to ensure that all their buildings have such type of structures. It has been seen that when government make such rules they themselves do not have capability to implement them in their own backyard.



The institutional functions which were highlighted in section 6 are few of the mechanisms suggested to improve the current gaps. Climate change is set to exacerbate the water scenario in Jaipur and peri-urban areas are likely to suffer more as they are not included in planning of cities. Though, satellite towns and outgrowth areas are given importance in the 2025 Master Plan of Jaipur. Management of groundwater water resources, water supply diversification and research in climate change are areas that needs to be addressed. The institutions at the state level has to commensurate with the national level plans. The multiplicity of agencies DDand different power to these agencies result in duplication of work and bureaucratic hassles in co-ordination. The problems of water has too be solved in integrated manner. The State water policy of Rajasthan, SAPCC and JaipuPr Master Plan recognises the problem and proposes ways to intends to solve them but the research insti- tutions are in lacking. The state government is dependent upon the external agencies to do research in the field of climate change and its impacts.


It is needed that formal water sector is engaged with the informal sector such as borewell, tanker suppliers because climate change adaptation will not be in a planned manner but in an autonomous manner at an individual or a group level. The informal sectos should be involved and educate them for the better water management and provide incentives for alternate and wiser water use. Challenges of socio-economic development combined with climate change problems will give priority to the former as that poses an immediate challenges.


[1] A. Leeds Urban Anthropology, Vol. 8, No. 3/4, SOCIAL URBANIZA- TION IN LATIN AMERICA (WINTER 1979), pp. 227-247

[2] P.S. Vijay Shankar, Himanshu Kulkarni & Sunderrajan Krishnan, In- dia’s Groundwater Challenge and the Way Forward, 46/2 EPW 37


[3] Planning Commission, An Approach to the Twelfth Five Year Plan


[4] Central Ground Water Board, Govt of India, http://cgwb.gov.in/gw_ profiles/st_Rajasthan.htm


[6] http://india-wris.nrsc.gov.in/wrpinfo/index.php?title=


[7] The Uncomfortable Nexus, 2011, Institute for Social and Environmental Transition & Centre for Environment and Development Studies, Jaipur

[8] Drinking Water Managment and Water Supply, PHED, Jaipur http:



[9] Raunet, J.C. et al. (2000), Evaluation and reduction of losses and leak- ages in the water distribution system of the city of Jaipur, Seureca:


[10] Rajasthan






[11] Annual Report 2013 of SWPRD on Environmental Status.

[12] Saleth, R. Maria. 2004. Strategic analysis of water institutions in India:

Application of a new research paradigm. Research Report 79. Colombo, Sri Lanka: International Water Management Institute.

[13] Rajasthan










[14] National Action Plan on Climate Change report, http://www.moef. nic.in/modules/about-the-ministry/CCD/NAP_E.pdf