ADB’s development assistance in the urban WSS sector in India began in the late 1990s. Since then it has funded several multi sector and standalone
projects to provide and expand water supply and sanitation facilities in Indian cities. In 2001 ADB approved a water policy that recommended an increase in the flow of resources to the sector, and linked water supply to reduction in poverty. As the Policy comes up for a review in 2005, it was
decided to take stock of achievements under different projects and evaluate the implementation of this Water Policy. WaterAid undertook a three-country study in Bangladesh, India and Nepal to find out if the ADB Water Policy is being implemented and if it is ultimately ensuring sustainable water and sanitation services for the poor. Projects were selected for the study in consultation with ADB and Executing Agency staff. Six cities in four projects were selected: Ramnagaram which is part of the completed Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development Project (KUIDP); Karwar as part of
ongoing Karnataka Urban Development and Coastal Environmental Management Project (KUDCEMP); Jodhpur and Ajmer as part of Rajasthan Urban
Infrastructure Development Project (RUIDP) and Indore and Ratlam of Urban Water Supply and Environmental Improvement Project in Madhya Pradesh (UWSEIP). The study is a review of ADB’s Water Policy implementation from the lens of access and equity for urban poor. The five key research questions to examine this are: ADB’s involvement in the Water and Sanitation sector including impacts on national and sector policies; the effectiveness of WSS funding in ensuring sustainable services to the poor; the extent and nature of involvement of key stakeholders; M&E procedures used to assess project implementation; and impact of WSS funding on national, State and municipal finances. Evidence gathered in answering these questions was used to assess the level of implementation of ADB’s water policy. ADB’s Involvement in the WSS sector in India ADB’s water and sanitation projects in India are classified under a broad urban portfolio and generally combined with targeted poverty reduction components, municipal governance and policy reforms. A stated key objective of ADB funding is also to increase access and involvement of slum dwellers through NGOs in planning and management of WSS to improve the overall quality of their lives and reduce their poverty. ADB entered the WSS sector in India in 1998 and to date has invested $960m in five Integrated Urban Development Projects. In 2004 around 14 per cent of its total investment in India was for urban WSS related projects. ADB started with the developed state of Karnataka and is now leveraging its experience in the less developed states like Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, North-East, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttaranchal. ADB’s Country Strategy and Programme envisages one new urban development project annually and an estimated 56 per cent of the total project cost of the IUD projects is allocated to WSS related activities and municipal capacity building. It is calculated that by 2015, ADB will fund 6 per cent of the total outlay of resources needed for 100 per cent water and sanitation coverage in urban areas, using estimates prepared by the Expert Group on Commercialisation of Infrastructure Projects (EGCIP)1.
However, direct pro-poor components under slum packages make up a mere 2.84 per cent of total project funding. Less priority is given to sanitation sector, despite the high cost of sanitation infrastructure and the sanitation coverage gap. By ADB’s own admission, water sector assessments have not yet been carried out for influencing national water policy changes even though it was recommended in the internal ADB assessment of its own water policy in 2003. Focused dialogue on water policy at the State or National Level is yet to take place. WA believes national sovereignty has to be
upheld and national policies need to be consultative and legislative. However, if there are pro-poor elements missing, ADB should focus on facilitating amendments to incorporate the same in their loan agreements. However this needs to be worked out in a consultative and legislative manner.