Plugging the Gaps

DJB implements IT initiatives to improve service delivery

The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) was constituted in April 1998 under the Delhi Water Board Act, 1998 to provide facilities for water supply, sewage disposal and stormwater drainage within the National Capital Territory of Delhi. At present, the board serves about 2 million customers and is responsible for the production of potable water and its distribution to all parts of the city. It supplies bulk water in areas under the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the cantonment board. DJB is also responsible for the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater in all parts of the city, including NDMC and cantonment areas. In February 2015, it started supplying potable water to Dwarka as well, an area earlier served by the Delhi Development Authority.

Over the years, DJB has undertaken a number of IT initiatives to meet the requirements of its growing consumer base. The board has adopted innovative approaches to e-governance, including the deployment of advanced online solutions for revenue management, grievance redressal, leak detection, online bill payment and tanker distribution management, etc. The majority of these initiatives focus on improving the delivery of specific core services.

Smart Utilities presents a snapshot of the key IT initiatives undertaken by DJB over the past three to four years to enhance transparency and improve service delivery…

Water supply and wastewater

Delhi’s water demand is estimated to be 1,100 million gallons per day (mgd). Against this, DJB supplies about 885 mgd of potable water, with its distribution network spanning over 12,750 km of water pipelines.

DJB taps water from the ground as well as surface water sources. The surface water sources include the Yamuna, Bhakra Canal storage, and the Upper Ganga Canal. At present, about 75 per cent of households have piped water connections with installed meters, while borewells and tankers cater to the remaining. However, considering that the majority of these meters are non-functional, non-revenue water (NRW) accounts for about 50 per cent of the total supply.

Apart from providing potable water, DJB is responsible for the treatment and disposal of wastewater. At present, only 38 per cent of the population is covered by the sewerage network. Wastewater generation in Delhi is estimated to be more than 1,175 million litres per day (mld), while the treatment capacity stands at about 721 mld.

IT initiatives

DJB has been implementing various initiatives to reduce the NRW component and improve revenue collection and customer satisfaction. These include the development of a revenue management system, a tanker distribution management system and a centralised 24×7 call centre. In May 2015, the board also constituted a separate leak detection investigation cell to detect surface leakages and hidden leakages in the city.

Revenue management system: DJB has developed a revenue management system with technical assistance from Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). The system’s primary objective is to replace the manual billing process with advanced digitised metering, billing and bill collection processes. The related software application has been developed by TCS, along with a data centre for collating information related to outstanding bills, payment receipts, consumer complaints, etc. The system is being implemented in phases, with the aim of providing a wide range of services to consumers, including online applications for new water or sewerage connections, bill details, payment services, and the registration of mutation requests and grievances. It also provides value-added services like SMS alerts, payment receipts and automated notices for late payments and defaulters.

The board has authorised 315 payment centres, partnering with ICICI Bank, Corporation Bank and Allahabad Bank. Consumers also have the option of making payments online through net banking, debit cards and credit cards. DJB is even developing a consumer database that will contain information like zone and area names, water connection numbers and meter reader numbers.

Leak detection investigation cell: DJB has constituted a leak detection investigation cell to check water theft and minimise transmission losses. The cell is responsible for detecting leakage points in the pipeline network, on the surface as well as underground.

Prior to this initiative, the board used to undertake repair and maintenance work of physical leakages in the water distribution system sporadically as per consumer complaints. However, the cell has been equipped with modern equipment to detect surface leakages as well as hidden underground leakages.

For implementation purposes, DJB has divided the entire city into sectors, with one team in charge of each sector. Each team visits its respective pre-notified area during water supply hours in the morning and evening to detect surface leakages and takes steps to repair them on the same day.

Centralised 24×7 call centre: To enhance the efficiency of service delivery, DJB has launched a centralised 24×7 call centre with a computerised complaint management system for registering consumer complaints pertaining to water supply, sewer issues, tanker requests, water contamination, etc.

The call centre has been set up at Intelligent Communication Systems India Limited in Delhi. Consumers can get their complaints registered in the online complaint registration system, after which they get a unique reference number that can be used to track complaint status at any stage of the grievance redressal process. They also receive acknowledgements through SMS, email and phone calls.

After the complaint is registered with DJB, it is automatically forwarded to the concerned department. Officials are required to take action and report its status within the stipulated time frame. After the deadline lapses, the complaint is automatically passed on to the next level in the hierarchy.

To address the complaints of consumers without internet access, DJB has set up a customer care centre that operates round the clock to track all complaints in real time. Consumers can directly contact the call centre to lodge complaints, for which the redressal procedure is the same as that followed under the online registration system.

Water tanker distribution management system: In deficit areas, DJB provides water through tankers. There are about 407 global positioning system (GPS)-enabled stainless steel water tankers and 400 mild steel tankers that are monitored by the distribution management system through GPS and water level sensors.

The system covers 42 filling point locations, over 800 water tankers and about 18,000 fixed delivery points. Each tanker operator has been provided a smart card that is to be swiped at water filling stations to record the quantum of water being supplied. GPS-enabled devices have been installed to track the movement of these tankers. This is expected to significantly improve the services provided by tankers by curbing wastage, limiting diversion and tracking tanker movement.

The system also allows consumers to book a tanker either through an online request or via the call centre and check the delivery status. It has been observed that the implementation of the distribution management system has enabled water tanker operators to efficiently utilise water at filling point locations. In addition, the initiative has led to several other benefits, including the tracking of vehicles on a real-time basis, optimisation of operations, improvement in fleet utilisation, accurate information on schedules and vehicle availability to ensure the optimum and effective utilisation of water, reduction in water wastage, and better control of tanker movements.

Conclusion

DJB has set a target of setting up 200 km of new pipelines and replacing about 165 km of old pipelines during the 2015-16 fiscal. It has also proposed to commission eight new underground reservoirs. In addition, the board is planning to set up 31 new sewage treatment plants, 27 sewage pumping stations and 600 km of sewers at an estimated cost of Rs 37 billion within the next couple of years.

Efforts are also being undertaken to reduce the proportion of NRW by introducing 100 per cent metering and upgrading the distribution network. However, in light of the growing consumer base and the depletion of freshwater resources, technological initiatives need to be taken to plug leakages and thefts in the supply network and to develop alternative water supply sources like treated or recycled water.

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