Tirupur water supply and sanitation project: an impediment to sustainable water management?

The New Tirupur Area Development Corporation Limited (NTADCL) is the first public private partnership, set up in 1995 primarily to supply industrial water to Tirupur, a major export centre for knitwear, in India. This water supply and sewerage project is also the first project to be structured on a commercial format; 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. This case study highlights that 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. It must be noted that though the bulk of the water supplied under this project is for industrial purposes, the scheme also supplies water for domestic use to limited urban and rural populace. Further, this case study seeks to examine the functioning of the water supply scheme - both domestic and industrial, and the new and emerging legal arrangements in promoting public-private partnerships, in the water sector.