Running water in India’s cities: a review of five recent public-private partnership initiatives

Service levels as well as service efficiency of water supply continue to be poor across all Indian cities. Water PPPs in India have recorded significant achievements—notably a stated focus on leveraging private sector efficiencies for improved service delivery, rather than private sector finance alone. PPPs are one among options to improve water supply services, and are being preferred due to the perceived limitations of public sector reform. While the above provides an overview of the progression and achievements to date in Indian urban water PPPs over the past two decades, more projects are in motion. Projects have demonstrated a distinct shift in focus to service delivery. However, this is meaningful only to the extent that objectives are achieved through the arrangement, which is closely linked to the manner in which projects are structured, and contracts designed. This report thus takes a more in-depth look at five PPP contracts: in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh; Mysore, Karnataka; Latur, Nagpur; and Aurangabad, Maharashatra. The objective is to assess the underlying rationale of the initiatives, the preparatory and bid process, key contract provisions, and related issues that may have a bearing on the operational trajectory and influence the achievement of objectives.