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Dr. Ramnath Sonawane, CEO, Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation Ltd.

Dr. Ramnath Sonawane’s professional career as an administrator spans more than 28 years and includes experience in urban management. He has served as a municipal commissioner for cities such as Ulhasnagar, Jalgaon, and Kalyan-Dombivali as well. He is also well known for his administrative acumen. He has been conferred a degree of Ph.D. by the North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon for his theses ‘Administrative Communication Strategies in Local Self-Government’. Dr. Sonawane is a result oriented individual with strong analytical, communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills.Dr. Ramnath Sonawane’s professional career as an administrator spans more than 28 years and includes experience in urban management. He has served as a municipal commissioner for cities such as Ulhasnagar, Jalgaon, and Kalyan-Dombivali as well. He is also well known for his administrative acumen. He has been conferred a degree of Ph.D. by the North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon for his theses ‘Administrative Communication Strategies in Local Self-Government’. Dr. Sonawane is a result oriented individual with strong analytical, communication, interpersonal, and negotiation skills.

Q. How will you define ‘Smart Water for Smart & Resilient City’ for our readers?
Dr. Sonawane: The availability of adequate potable water to all citizens as per norms and Service Level Benchmarks (SLBs). Also an equitable distribution of water with the intervention of smart solutions and technologies.

Q. Is there a theme on the lines of which you are planning your smart city projects?
Dr. Sonawane: Yes. The Smart City proposal sought to develop Nagpur as a truly inclusive city by removing the dichotomous growth and enhance the city’s profile by improving the quality of life in vulnerable areas to bring them at par with the rest of the city, through the implementation of Town Planning Scheme (TPS) based on the principle of retrofitting in Pardi-Bharatwada-Punapur and Bhandewadi. The program will regularize and resolve the land use conflicts.

The unique intervention will also positively influence the quality of life of around 1,15,000 existing and future inhabitants of the area.

In Area Based Development (ABD) segment of Nagpur Smart City Project, Nagpur Smart and Sustainable City Development Corporation is to construct 52 kms of road with the concept of TenderSURE. The roads, water supply, sewerage, stormwater drains, and power ducts are an integral part of the TenderSURE project. The design features deal with the detailed lane plans, junction design, sections at regular intervals, footpaths, cycle lane, designing of different utilities (underground and above ground activities) and estimation of the whole project. The road length under this project is 52 kms as per Town Planning Scheme (TPS).

This concept is widely accepted for its approach wherein all the urban road elements in a stretch of road will be given equal importance and will be designed accordingly.

Q. What all are you planning to ensure a sustainable 24x7 uninterrupted water supply?
Dr. Sonawane: The infrastructure projects in the Area Based Development (ABD) segment are being developed on the concept of Project TenderSURE. Water supply is one of the major components of urban infrastructure which aims at supplying potable water for 24x7 to the citizens. Under the concept of TenderSURE, adequate space planning is made to accommodate water supply pipes and space for maintenance and future connections while planning roads. The distribution system is designed for 30 years’ period. The essence of the whole exercise is to ensure equitable distribution of water.

Q. What are your plans to build and maintain an efficient sewage system and network?
Dr. Sonawane: The best possible sewage system design for a period of 30 years are being developed towards achieving self-cleaning velocity for at least once in a day for removing settled particles within the sewage network. It is proposed not to let stormwater runoff to enter inside the sewer network for unnecessarily increasing loads upon STPs. Apart from the conveyance, the generated sewer will be discharged into the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and recycled wastewater will be used. Currently, Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is supplying 130 MLD recycled wastewater to MahaGenco Power Plant at Karodi, Nagpur.

Q. Digitalization of water & wastewater networks would be integral to smart city projects. How do you see it?
Dr. Sonawane: Digitalization of water and wastewater network ensures sustainability in water management through uninterrupted and reliable service to the user and enables the stakeholder to create more business through an enormous database. The digital database provides a strategic roadmap through accurate analysis for providing real-time solution and minimize risks. It will increase the longevity of pipe through preventive actions rather than curative, reducing leakages and correcting appropriate pressure through capacity checks. Digitalization will gain a vast database which will enable us in performing predictive servicing and maintenance thereby reducing energy consumption and optimize resources. It will not only be useful for supply and demand management but will also enhance the base for sustainable finances through water audit.

Q. Have you budgeted an amount for water projects under your smart cities plans? Kindly share.
Dr. Sonawane: Yes. The proposed cost of the project TenderSURE is Rs. 650 crores. The main components of the project TenderSURE are:

  • 51.90 kms of smart road comprising of 30m, 24m, 18m, 15m, 12m, and 9m. Also, it comprises of 28 major & minor bridges, and culverts including all the underground utilities above ground services and facilities.
  • Under-Ground Components includes: Utilities like dedicated sewer lines, water supply network, gas pipelines, stormwater drains network, and R.C.C. ducts for electric, gas, and telecommunication network.• Above-Ground Services includes: Uniform carriageways, medians with two-arm streetlights and smart poles, dedicated cycle tracks, pedestrian facilities, landscaping, bus bays & auto bays, and smart underground bins.

Q. What are the economic and funding related challenges for your smart city objects?
Dr. Sonawane: As such there isn’t any challenge.

Q. What are the most successful ‘smart water technology initiatives’ you’ve seen and liked in other cities or countries, which you would like to replicate in your smart city as well in the future?
Dr. Sonawane: There are a couple of technologies such as desalination of water in coastal areas, SCADA system for automation, dual reticulation for reuse of treated water and water efficient fixtures such as dual flush toilets, aerator faucets, and sensor operated taps. The implementation of these technologies will ensure the productive use of water. Chennai has implemented desalination at Minjur with a capacity of 100 MLD.

Q. ‘Water scarcity’ is a major issue. How will you address it?
Dr. Sonawane: Yes. ‘Water Scarcity’ is a major issue in view of increasing urbanization and climate change. Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water due to climate change.

A holistic approach is needed for addressing water scarcity by judicious water use, encourage recycled treated water, ensure timely water audit, leakage detection, and 100% water metering in order to reduce Non-Revenue Water (NRW) within 20% as per SLB.

Q. In the coming six months, do we see you floating any new water/wastewater tenders?
Dr. Sonawane: No, tenders are already floated and implementation is in progress.

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