Category Archives: Water Management

The Social Entrepreneur Arun Lakhani

A company that is truly ahead of its time, it needs a man who will take the company there. Mr. Arun Lakhani, chairman and managing director of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL) has had such a vision.

In his own words, his vision for VIL India is

“Making positive changes to the lives of individuals, society and environment at large, by creating a socially responsible enterprise”.

A positive alteration is seen not only through the leadership but also one which is clearly visible with their works is depicted from its varied water project portfolio. Mr. Arun Lakhani pursues water projects, as he realise by its very nature such projects will have a far greater social impact.

In the water sector VIL is proposing a unique win-win model which will create great value to stakeholders, governments and locals by eliminating any forms of inefficiencies from the current system. Our greatest fear in relation to water management is not inefficiencies rather the resource’s very scarcity.

His vision has seen to the execution and creation of innovation system solutions to bring about better water and waste water management. Over the years, VIL is trying to address some of these issues by creating water value chains across the user groups.  One of its major goals is to create cities that can receive water around the clock.

Going forward Vishvaraj Pvt Ltd. will thrive on waste water reuse and urban efficiency improvement projects similar to Nagpur, Magadi, Bidar, Basavakalyan, Shahabad and Yadgir. VIL, a leader in Urban Water reforms in India through has always looked to find ways of improving the livelihood of cities.

The project has been awarded including Nagpur 24×7 project was recognized with “Best Water Practices” award by the Prime Minister Narandra Modi during inauguration of Smart City program.  Arun Lakhani’s company has received global “Water deal of the year” award by GWI, London and also recognition from IFC, Washington DC, as “Top 10 emerging PPP projects in Asia Pacific” region for Nagpur project.

An indication of its attitude towards the industries is its recognition by many in the field. The firm won two major awards in the sector at the recent World Water Leadership Congress & Awards may play a huge role in the privatisation of water. The company won the prestigious Water Reuse Project of the Year and Mr Arun Lakhani, VIL’s chairman and managing director won the award for Outstanding Contribution to Water.

It sees great potential for reuse of treated waste water and in the process not only addresses urban treatment issue but also creates additional fresh water by way of diverting fresh water reservation of industries to urban users and agriculture.

As said, for a company to truly be ahead of its time, it needs a man who will take them there and Mr Arun Lakhani is reaching them there.


Arun Lakhani and Corporate Social Responsibility

It’s ‘People’- the fourth P that makes the significant difference to PPP (Public –Private Partnership). Ever since the Indian market was opened and the process of liberlisation was set in, various private players added their might partnering with public enterprises in various sectors. PPP as a concept on paper brings in very good synergy of Private enterprise efficiency with Public ownership of assets. But in reality we see a trust deficit between the ultimate stakeholders, People on one hand and Government & Private 30 years can be a risk unless people are on boarded. Our answer to this situation is Involve / Integrate the Fourth P – People – citizens in the PPP Model enhancing its credibility. PPP can be very successful if the fourth P- People are integrated in the structure with openness and responsibility of communicating with larger masses. People as largest stakeholders in any PPP must participate to monitor the contracts done between the two Ps. In the current context taking ‘People’ on-board with open communication & transparency is a business imperative for the Private Partner rather than a CSR initiative. Nagpur 24×7 and Nagpur 200 MLD STP Treatment and Reuse started out as business models but they have the essence of CSR as people were involved in the projects and their opinions were taken into consideration for the growth and development for the Water and Waste water projects.


Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship or responsible business) is an outline of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a self-regulatory mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active conformity with the spirit of the law, ethical standards and national or international norms. With some models, a firm’s implementation of CSR goes beyond compliance and engages in “actions that appear to further some social good, beyond the interests of the firm and that which is necessary by law.” The aim is to increase long-term profits and shareholder trust through positive public relations and high ethical standards to reduce business and legal risk by taking responsibility for corporate actions. CSR strategies encourage the company to make a positive impact on the environment and stakeholders including consumers, employees, investors, communities, and others. CSR is titled to aid an organization’s mission as well as serve as a guide to what the company represents for its consumers. Business ethics is the part of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR. Public sector organizations (the United Nations for example) adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles, but with no formal act of legislation. Chairman and Managing Director of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL India) Mr. Arun Lakhani says as a social entrepreneur I always believed being socially responsible and having a business that not only improves India’s development but also benefits the citizens of the nation is extremely important.


24x7-Water-Supply1-Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited

Veolia France & Arun Lakhani -Orange City Water

Orange City Water (OCW) will invest 18 million euros in the project to renovate the city’s six water production plants and repair the 2,500 km of network. The production capacity of the system managed by OCW will eventually be close to 750 million liters a day and leakage from the network, which is currently 60%, will gradually be lowered to international standards. This will be a first in India.

Arun Lakhani says India has vast prerequisite of Infrastructure building and development. The PPP route was established in last decade also saw some lean time. With New government initiative the PPP has again come with better risk sharing medium between private and public. Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited saw this opportunity and decided to have a model for 24×7 water supply. Orange City Water also popularly known as the Nagpur 24×7 Water supply along with Veoila France made this happen.

Vishvaraj Environment Pvt. Ltd. (VEL) is a subsidiary of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd. (VIL), a transportation infrastructure development company from India. With a humble start over a decade ago with development of road project on BOT model, today VIL is successfully managing four concession contracts in transportation (road) sector and the fifth contract is under execution. Over this decade long journey, VIL has acquired knowledge to evolve systems in sectors where society at large is involved and all stakeholder’s interests need to be understood and addressed, ensuring a win-win situation for all, more so in a developing and culturally diverse country like India. VIL proposes to put to use this knowledge in few more sectors, water being a major focus area through its subsidiary Vishvaraj Environment. Vishvaraj Environment foresees a great opportunity for the private sector to participate in financing, building and maintaining urban water supply infrastructure projects and has geared itself to build the capacities for the future.

Veolia Water India is a wholly owned subsidiary of Veolia Water India Africa, which covers Africa, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Veolia Water India Africa is 80.55% held by Veolia Water, with the remainder being held by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group institution in charge of operations with the private sector, and by PROPARCO, a subsidiary of the French development aid agency with a similar role. Veolia Water India Africa provides 3.16 million people with water and 1.42 million with electricity. It employs 2,191 people and offers partners its technical and managerial expertise to supply specific solutions in regions affected by water stress. Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services. Specialized in outsourcing services for municipal authorities, as well as industrial and service companies, it is also one of the world’s major designers of technological solutions and constructor of facilities needed in water and wastewater services. With 96,651 employees in 69 countries, Veolia Water provides water service to 103 million people and wastewater service to 73 million. Its 2011 revenue amounted to € 12.617 billion.


Nagpur 24×7 And Continues Water Supply

Vishvaraj Infrastructure sees itself as entrepreneurs in the Water, Waste Water and Transport industry; the sectors in which we have built our name are closely interwoven with the lives of the citizens. As business, apart from value creation for share holders they also impact happiness quotient of the people, thus offering massive satisfaction to us for our life transforming work. The rapidly urbanizing Indian population is expected to reach a figure close to 600 million urban people by 2031. This massive transition is creating serious challenges for urban planners and ULBs especially that of ensuring quality water supply to these citizens. Indian cities have for long lived with irregular water supply systems riddled with a variety of troubles ranging from high levels of NRW to contamination issues.

Water supply to be explained in beginner’s terms is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organizations, community endeavors or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes. Irrigation is covered separately. Mr. Arun Lakhani had a vision for Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL) as he considered Water Supply is a project that needs to be worked on and developed for a billion+ people in India.

Technology And Vishvarj Infrastructure Limited (VIL)

The Chairman & Managing Director of Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL) Mr. Arun Lakhani says investing in technology is just a stepping stones to urbanized and modern India. At Vishvaraj Infra (VIL India) we consider in creating value for every stakeholder by removing inefficiencies. We deem ourselves as social entrepreneurs since Water, Waste Water and Transport; the sectors in which we have built our status are closely interwoven with the lives of people. As business, apart from value creation for share holders they also impact happiness quotient of the people, thus offering enormous satisfaction to us for our life transforming work.

Here is what Mr. Arun Lakhani has to say the entire integrated water management project for Nagpur began with a simple concept that we want to have a continuous water supply supporting Nagpur that means 24×7 water supply has to be provide to all the individual citizens. It was decided to improve the efficiency and bring in the new technology, a private sector expertise & to ensure that equitable water distribution this entire concept of 24×7 water supply or continuous water supply was brought in.

VIL India 24×7 Water Supply Project

India has vast requirement of Infrastructure building and improvement. The PPP route was established in last decade also saw some lean time. With New government initiative the PPP has again come with better risk sharing matrix between private and public. Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited (VIL India) has been a proponent of PPP model, and has established track record in Road and highways sector.  With Urban Infrastructure foray in Water, it is today the only Indian Utility with ongoing projects in Water distribution as well as Waste water treatment and Reuse.

Nagpur 24 X 7: The 3rd largest city & winter capital of Maharashtra state, Nagpur is India’s loath largest city with a population of over 2.5 million people. It became the first city of its size in the country to outsource its water supply to a private operator under the PPP model for 25 years. The one big objective was to provide l00% safe drinking water 24×7 to l00% of the population including the slum-dwellers within 5 years. The second major objective was to reduce Non Revenue Water below 25% in 10 years time. The Private entity to bring in 3o% of the investment of the estimated project cost, 70% to be the Public entity’s contribution under MN URM + l00% escalation. The project to be operative for 25 years of O&M inclusive of 5 years of capital rehabilitation. The project covers management of the entire water cycle from production, treatment (657 MLD), transport (2100 Kms of network), storage and delivery to the last point of usage i.e. the customers tap. This involves replacement of more than 3, 00,00 house service connections, rehabilitation of treatment facilities, service reservoirs and pipeline. Every household including slums to get individual continuous piped water supply connection. 24×7 Call center for customer grievances, Photo billing, online billing and Customer service center open on all 7 days of week.

Water And Waste Water Treatment

VIL India did some research and realized 89% of the total available water of around 890 cubic meter goes into agriculture, of the balance 11% goes to industry and drinking water needs are met. We need better supervision of water. The coverage of piped water, the metering of water and the adequate supply of 24 hours of pressurized water these are the three steps. So to bring first to the equitable water, we need to design the system, invest capital into the infrastructure and more importantly have budgets to maintain it what we have already built.

Here’s what Mr. Arun Lakhani has to say: What is necessary is an integrated approach to water management, by integrated approach we need to see the complete water cycle as a whole. So we detect it from a source, then the treatment part then the distribution part then the customer service part. So if you have 24×7 in the distribution part that absolutely improves not only the water quality & drinking water but also saves water. Then comes the second very important part is the sewage treatment. Sewage treatment and the reuse of sewage treated water complete the cycle.

24×7 Water Supply A Dream Come True – Arun Lakhani

24x7-Water-Supply1-Vishvaraj Infrastructure Limited

India receives total annual rainfall of about 4,000 billion cubic metres (BCM). After loss through evaporation etc., the total water availability is about 1,869 BCM. When you further discount topographical characteristics and hydrological constraints, the quantity of usable water is 1,123 BCM. The total availability is limited and is decreasing in direct proportion to the increase in population. According to UN data, From 5,177 cubic metres in 1951, when India’s population was 361 million, it is likely to fall to 1,140 cubic metres in 2050, when the population is projected to be 1,640 million. There is a water scarcity crisis that looms over us as we scrutinize the specifics and figures.

Out of 100 percent of usable water 80% is allocated for agricultural purpose remaining 12% and 8% proportionately shared between industrial and regular households consumption. The 20% water clearly does not look sufficient to meet the requirements of the industry and households. However, a closer look at the ground situation explains that the issue is not of scarcity but poor management and distribution of water. In the housing segment, a large portion of water is wasted because of sheer leakage in the existing water pipeline and only 70% of the total supply reaches household. The scarcity is further supplemented by low density of metering in the country leading to further limitation of funds required for basic infrastructure.

Similarly, on the industry front, it has been observed that the sector is drawing potable / ground water from rivers and other water bodies leading to further depletion of ground water levels. Providing safe drinking water, sanitation and good hygienic conditions are essential for human survival, health and dignity. Adequate and reliable water supplies and sanitation services are critical for coping with everyday urban life. Lack of access to adequate safe drinking water and sanitation causes severe health problems. Water-borne diseases –  such as dysentery, cholera and typhoid, caused by contaminated water; water-washed diseases such as skin and eye infections caused by insufficient water for personal hygiene and water-based or other water-related diseases such as malaria, bilharzias, elephantiasis and river blindness, related to exposure to unsafe water situations. Technology alone is not able to counter the water scarcity and contamination issue due to lack of skewed demography, knowledge and implementation.  It is now time to adopt the global best practices and deploy the latest technology to make the dream of 24×7 water supplies a reality.

Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd (VIL India) , a pioneer in Water management and recycling made it a reality in Nagpur though India’s first pilot project making it possible for the residents of the city to avail 24×7 water supply. There are few pockets in India where the aspect of 24×7 running water facility management is implemented under the PPP model and is running successfully. The most heralded project under the 24×7 running water management in India has been at Nagpur city in Maharashtra.



Nagpur 200 MLD By Vishvaraj Infra (VIL INDIA)

Nagpur 200 MLD STP Treatment-Vishvaraj-Infra

Globally water companies are developing technologies and management systems to deal with challenges faced with water scarcity and sewage water treatment. Vishvaraj Infra (VIL INDIA) however understands that the Indian context is different and it needs solutions which are local, competitive and socially acceptable. We develop implementation strategies keeping local situation in viewpoint as water is a very sensitive subject in our country. For us, driving innovations, creating sustainability, technological advancements, environmental friendliness and people’s involvement are the key drivers for the company in this sector.

Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd saw this as a community requirement and a industry break. In contrast the demand for fresh water is growing rapidly, estimated to go from 813 BCM today to 1,447 BCM by 2050, whereas the resource base remains constrained at 1,122 BCM. The industrial sector, which is one of the major users of fresh water, mostly puts fresh water to non-potable. Wastewater treated up to secondary level can easily be utilized for this purpose freeing up huge amounts of freshwater for domestic consumers. This can easily be achieved by improving the municipal wastewater collection, treatment and reuse thus not only recycling wastewater which is otherwise lost but also save the downstream water bodies from pollution. This is the win-win proposition of VIL’s model for the all the stakeholders, a unique example of creating value from waste whilst contributing positively to environmental sustainability.

Amongst the challenges thrown up by increased urbanization in India one of the bigger ones is massive increase in wastewater generation. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimates that about 80 percent of the water supplied for domestic use is discharged as wastewater. This pollutes the downstream areas as it enters untreated into these water bodies. Around 38,250 MLD of wastewater is generated by class I and class II cities in India, which is estimated to grow 3.5 times to 132,250 MLD by 2050. The current wastewater treatment capacity can handle only 30 percent of the total generation, out of which only 55 percent is operational. This translates to an investment gap of over USD 7 Billion for class I and class II cities by 2016-17. Nagpur 200 MLD STP Treatment and Reuse on PPP basis. Nagpur is 10th largest Indian city with 2.5 Mn populations; Population is expected to grow to 5 Mn in the next 25 years and 3rd largest and most industrialized city after Mumbai and Pune in Maharashtra. The Objective is
Providing Sewage Treatment for 200 MLD and possible reuse by potential Customers in Nagpur. Features include: Option to sale the treated water with revenue share with Client, 100% capital investment by Operator and Annuity based payment post construction period.


Nagpur 24×7 – Orange City Water Project (OCW)

Nagpur 24x7-Orange City Water ProjectNagpur’s smart water management is an example for other cities across India. The first city to take the lead is Nagpur, Maharashtra. Now included in the smart cities list, it has inhabitants of over 2.5 million people and is the first city of its size in the nation to outsource water supply to a private operator under the PPP model for 25 years. Under the scheme the main objective was to provide 24-hour 100% safe drinking water to 100% population including slum dwellers within five years. The second objective was to reduce non-revenue water (50% water supplied to towns which is untraceable, not recorded and not paid for) to below 25% in 10 years. The project included management of the entire water cycle from production, treatment, transport, storage and delivery to the customer’s tap. It involved replacement of over three lakh house service connections, rehabilitation of treatment facilities, service reservoirs and pipelines.

“Now every household has a tap and a meter irrespective of whether it is a slum, a flat or a bungalow. There is accountability for every drop of water supplied the first time,” says Arun Lakhani, chairman and managing director, Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd (VIL India), which executed the Nagpur Orange City Water Project (OCW).

The aim of the project Nagpur 24×7 was to address problems of water that was being wasted and not getting billed. The city was supplying 575 million litres per day (mld) of treated water of which only 175 mld was getting billed and paid for. Most meters were either non-existent or non functional. Also, the city was receiving water supply for eight to 10 hours or on alternate days. The tanker mafia added to the problem. On the sewage side, the city was generating 550 mld of sewage and had the capacity to treat only 100 mld.

The remaining untreated sewage was polluting water bodies that supplied water to the city. For this project, the private company invested 30% of the estimated project cost, 70% grants came from the JNNURM scheme, shared by both the state and the Central government. The project was initiated by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation. This project has showcased as the model case study for other cities at the launch of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Smart City initiative. The company also undertook a waste water reuse project for Nagpur city under which National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will be reusing 200 mld of treated water from the STP for its Mauda plant. By doing so, the city will get an additional 200 million litres per day of water, which is enough for 200 lakh people.