Pilot Project for Sanitation Improvement Plan for Aya Nagar

November 2015
Z Block, Aya Nagar, Delhi

The Aya Nagar pilot project is a prototypical model for evolving a sanitation management program  in the settlement . The methods and techniques evolved will serve as a guide for informal settlements in Delhi and across the country.Spearheaded by Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), a major player in the provision of civic amenities to informal settlements, the project is based on Biodigester technology developed by the Defence Research & Development Organisation(DRDO) of the Government of India.Through a community embedded approach, the aim is to devise techniques for making urban system responsive to the imperatives of social justice and ecological viability. The project is supported by the decade long research conducted by Greha on a sustainable urban sanitation model. 


Mapping and Survey

  • Physical Survey
  • Internal Layout of the houses
  • Demographic Survey

Consultation with community members
Consultation with experts

  • Public Health
  • Ecologist and Landscape Architects
  • Bio Digester Fabricator
  • Plumbing Consultant

Physical Model Study
Support of research conducted by Greha in the last decade
Documentary film of the project 
Development of community communication and management tools


There is no system for sewage treatment in Aya Nagar. 

The storm water which flows in open channels along roads is mixed with sewage.

The open channels are also an extended garbage dump; and are regularly choked with plastic bags and other forms of solid waste. 

Presently, The sewage of each house in Z Block is stored in a sump below the house. 

The sewage sumps when full, are emptied by portable vacuum pumps. 

The sump contents are highly toxic and are discharged in an unregulated manner leading to unsanitary and extremely unhygienic living conditions for all citizens. 


The spontaneous development of the new colony mimics contemporary urban patterns giving rise to a variety of problems. 

Problems are generated by a planning paradigm which imposes systems of vehicular roads and piped services on unfamiliar topography.


Water supply is mainly through bore wells by Delhi Jal Board. There are approximately 80 bore wells in the entire settlement.

There is no sewage system in the settlement. The sewage and wastewater from the households runs in open drains along the streets.


There is provision of electricity in the entire settlement by the public authorities(BSES)

Power distribution is not as per  the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act.

Location of electrical transformers is of temporary nature and yet placed as permanent fixtures

Electrical distribution cables are provided in a manner which is hazardous for the residents.


There is no planned provision for solid  waste disposal.

Public open spaces, open drains, empty residential  plots, and the village Johar are used to dump garbage from the households.


It is essential to distinguish the 3 different water sources in the sanitation system:

  1. Black water (Soil waste from toilets)
  2. Grey water (Waste water from kitchens and bathrooms)
  3. Rainwater / Surface run-off

In the case of black water and grey water, the treatment methods are designed to account for levels of toxicity.

For rainwater, the principle is of harvesting.

The schematic system design is calculated on the basis of:

  1. population breakup
  2. demographic profile
  3. space available on the road network
  4. slopes of the road
  5. biodigester provision is calculated on the basis of population clustering,  for sharing by households.

The treatment of sewage is considered to be a municipal function. 

The biodigester is located on public land and the location is dependent on:

  1. open space available
  2. size of digester (which is dependent on its capacity and the households that share it)

The schematic design has been arrived at after a process of optimisation of the parameters mentioned above. 

Community involvement is an essential feature of any kind of public work in informal settlements, and it can be a deciding factor in the success or failure of the project. 


Consultation with community members:A meeting has been scheduled with the community members in the month of November to discuss the conceptual scheme and the study model

Communication tools being developed for community participation and design of maintenance regime and system monitoring.

Documentation and video recording in progress towards making a documentary film of the pilot project.

Best judgement cost estimate indicates per capita expenditure of Rs. 18,500/- for the provision of decentralised sewage treatment system with waste water treatment and recycling and rainwater/storm water management on roads resurfaced with concrete pavers.

Best judgement estimate for the pilot project is Rs. 1.85 Crore.