The domestic stainless steel industry is exploring the idea of using stainless steel pipes in drinking water supply networks, which it thinks can cut down leakages drastically.

Many Asian cities such as Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei have been using stainless steel service pipelines for more than 20 years and this has helped them reduce the loss of precious, treated water from 27 per cent to 2 per cent, according to the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA), the apex body of the stainless steel industry in the country.

ISSDA organised a seminar here last week in which international experts and representatives of user agencies participated. “This was one of the major initiatives to understand the requirements of the user agencies so that we can make a beginning towards developing standards suitable for our country,” said ISSDA President KK Pahuja.

Long-term advantages

The seminar highlighted the long-term life cycle advantages of stainless steel in the water industry. Apart from conserving water, such non-corroding pipes can prevent deterioration in quality of water supplied and even reduce maintenance cost, it was told.

An Assocham study in Delhi in 2016 pointed out that 40 per cent of the water supply in the capital gets wasted primarily due to leakages in its 9,000-km-long supply network.

According to Pahuja, using stainless steel for water supply is not expected to increase the cost not more than 20-25 per cent, but it has long-standing benefits. “While pipes made of plastic and other materials can last only 15-20 years, stainless steel pipes can last 50-60 years,” he said.

New cities

This could be tried out particularly in new cities, Pahuja said. State government officials from Andhra Pradesh, which is building a new capital city near Vijayawada, were present at the seminar.

Pahuja said as first step, ISSDA would work with all stakeholders to identify the kind of stainless steel suitable for different climatic and soil conditions in the country.

Once that is done, they can be part of the public works department manual so that city and state administrations can take decisions on implementation.