In India, where more than 30 cities have prepared their area-based and pan-city based development plans, but an important element is clearly missing in their plans. And it shows that the planning is for the short term, rather than the long term.
The principle we are talking about is ‘integration of utilities’. And the fact is, leave alone the present league of emerging Smart Cities, not a single existing city has thought of integrating its utilities so that these facilities can be helpful to each other. However, a greenfield city in Gujarat (GIFT city in Gandhinagar) has managed to integrate its water, wastewater and India’s only district cooling system.
GIFT draws water from the main Narmada canal at the southern side of the city. Here, water will be pumped out from the existing intake point through a pipeline to meet GIFT city’s requirements. Importantly, if any impediment occurs during this process, it gets resolved
beforehand as the entire operations are managed through a SCADA system and monitored by a command and control centre.
The vision for water infrastructure is to provide potable quality water (24x7) in all taps in the city. The water supply system is planned to provide water on demand. And since GIFT aims to become “water neutral”, the water from the canal, stored along with the buffer stock in the reservoir (called Samruddhi Sarovar) will be conveyed to the water treatment plant for treatment and further distribution.
Now, since the entire operation is integrated, the city has got decentralised sewage treatment plants which are interconnected. Here, the wastewater system will consist of collection, treatment, and reuse of wastewater for GIFT’s requirements. The wastewater is collected and conveyed to the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The treated water will be used for flushing, landscaping and for a district cooling plant, enabling GIFT to become a “Zero Discharge Zone”.
GIFT city is the only city in India which has implemented a cooling system at a level where not a single building in the city needs to be equipped with individual air conditioning. The district cooling system is 20 per cent more cost efficient mainly due to less occupancy of space, and the absence of noise pollution and vibration. Besides, for district cooling system operations, it draws water from the STP, making it an environment-friendly process.
The city has decided to make the entire area free from human intervention, especially for the collection of waste and its management. GIFT has India’s first fully integrated automatic waste collection plant (AWS). Envac’s automated waste collection system and recyclable segregation plant has been in operation since April 1, 2015.
Each building is equipped with two Envac chutes, which are fed into one of seven on-site collection stations, covering organic waste and mixed recyclables. Here, the Envac chutes are equipped with sensors which suck the garbage at a speed of 90 km/h and then get segregated
into two parts: waste for recycling and the rest for bio-processing.
It is expected upon completion that the AWS will handle the waste of the entire district, which is expected to be over 400 tonnes per day generated from GIFT City’s 25,000 apartments, 100,000 residents and a working population of over 500,000. The site’s retail zone will also attract between 25,000-50,000 visitors each week.