Wednesday, March 17, 2010

'First world' water for CWG athletes

Delhi may not have drinking water but come October, athletes coming to the Commonwealth Games will be getting water of "first world" standards at the Commonwealth Games Village.

As part of preparations for the upcoming Games, Delhi Jal Board has contracted Wabag India to provide clean and safe water for the Games. The agreement includes building a new water treatment plant exclusively for the Village, as well as providing potable water of "first world" standards. Says Sudeep S, country head of Norit, the technology partners of Wabag, "We are the suppliers of the core technology that will be used in the water treatment plant at the Village. The plant will treat, purify and disinfect the intake water to first world standards."

So how different are first world standards? Norit officials claim the standards have been provided in consultation with both the DJB as well as the organising committee, which wanted the water quality to comply with international standards. Said a Norit official, "The quality criteria are simple: we will ensure that the water will be free of pollutants like suspended solids and bacteria like coli." It's a step that OC officials claim was needed in the face of the quality of water that is usually available in the city. Said a senior OC official, "The fact is that water quality supplied by the civic agency is not of international standards. We didn't want athletes to suffer from Delhi belly, especially at an international event like the Commonwealth Games."

Not surprisingly, the "first world" standards come at a price. According to officials, the water treatment plant alone would cost 5.3 million Euros. A multi-barrier system will be set up at the Village to turn groundwater into "extremely pure" drinking water. The drinking water plant will have a daily capacity of 1MGD. Incidentally, the government is also planning to increase the water supply from the existing 670MGD to 941MGD during the Games.

The water plant will supply the Games Village with its entire infrastructure, extending from residential blocks and hotels to cyber cafes, police station and sports halls, with both drinking and service water for daily needs. Government officials added that in order to compensate for possible capacity bottlenecks, a link will also be created to the Sonia Vihar drinking water plant. Added an official, "The new plant will contribute to environmental protection, as instead of bottled water from supermarkets, athletes and officials will receive top quality water from the mains, which is also cheaper." Once the Games are over, the treatment plant will be available to local inhabitants.

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