New Delhi: The entire water management and distribution system in Delhi will see a complete revamp soon with Delhi government drawing an ambitious roadmap to bring significant reform in the sector under the guidance of the Planning Commission.

Under the first phase of reform, government will hand over certain aspects of water management system to private entities and set up a number of waste water treatment plants, besides affecting a hike in water tariff to make people understand the value of the scarce resource.

A top official said government has accorded top most priority to reform the water sector "which requires a new administrative regime".

As part of the reform, he said, government will soon set up a regulatory body on the lines of power regulator DERC (Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission) to streamline the water management system and fixing tariff.

The government is also mulling to bring in legislation to levy hefty financial penalty for wastage of water.

"People have lost value for water. Law is the only force that can bring back respect for the resource. Unless water is priced people won't value it," says Chief Secretary P K Tripathi.

"Water must be priced on par with electricity and it should not be priced according to the whims and fancies of the public but by an independent regulatory system which is not swayed by emotional consideration," he told various stakeholders in a meeting last week.

The Planning Commission has been asking the city government to initiate long-term reform in distribution and management of water, considering the city's ever increasing population.

Officials said the city government will invest sufficient funds on water recycling and waste water treatment in the next five years and recycled waste water would be supplied to construction industries, automobile workshops, power plants and industrial units to reduce demand for fresh water.

They said Government was also working on an ambitious proposal for laying parallel pipelines for providing potable and treated waste water for flushing of toilets, washing of cars and other purposes.

The government has identified new urban extension areas for implementation of the proposal on a pilot basis and later it may be extended to various other areas.

The current average demand of potable water in the city is around 1,100 mgd (million gallon per day) and currently DJB supplies around 800 mgd water across the city after treating raw water in its treatment plants.

The demand is projected to touch around 1,400 mgd by end of the 12th Five Year Plan in 2017.

Delhi relies heavily on neighbouring states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for supply of raw water.

"Extensive use of treated waste water is also proposed to meet the requirement of construction as well as automobile sector so that exploitation of ground water by these two sectors may be checked," the government said in an approach paper for the 12th Plan.

To meet the increasing demand for water, the government has also proposed to store flood water in Yamuna River during the rainy season.

The Delhi Jal Board is already working on a 'Water Master Plan – 2021' and a 'Sewer Master Plan – 2031' to plan for future requirement water requirement and sewer management system in the city.

Last year, the government had initiated reform in water billing and installation of meter and had involved IT major Tata Consultancy Services in these two key areas.

(Agencies)