Case Study: Digital Elevation Model for Jhansi and Mirzapur

In November 2020, the Prime Minister of India launched the Har Ghar Jal scheme to provide clean and safe drinking water through functional taps in the remotest parts of India. This project intends to find out sustainable water sources and provide tapped drinking water to every household through precise planning and hydraulic design by 2021.

With the same purview, the state of Uttar Pradesh rolled out the Har Ghar Jal Mission in Bundelkhand and Vindhya regions so that people could have access to clean drinking tap water. A total of 9 districts were selected for the community-led and participatory projects. The districts of Jhansi and Mirzapur were facing one of the worst scenarios, with only 10% of the rural population having access to piped water supply, while the rest were forced to walk long distances to get water.

Project Focus


The districts of Jhansi and Mirzapur are significantly different from each other, especially from a geographical point of view. Jhansi has no active sources of water, whereas Mirzapur is situated on the banks of the River Ganges, but which is not fit to be used as a source of drinking water due to the extremely high level of pollutants in it. The structural instability and shifting trend of the river pose additional challenges. To top it all off, there was no readily available data on the areas of interest, thereby making project planning extremely difficult. The total area spans 2252 villages and a population of 5.76 million.

The Solution

A survey was carried out to identify every village and hamlet in Jhansi and Mirzapur districts to be covered under the proposed scheme. The survey included information on the total number of houses in Jhansi and Mirzapur, total populations, probable sources of water, number of villages to be covered under the scheme and number of villages already catered to that do not require further action.

After the completion of the GIS survey, demarcation of existing assets of water supply was carried out on GIS systems with all required attributes. Using or discarding the components was left to be decided by the design team. All probable land plots were also demarcated on GIS, helping design engineers select from the pool and put forward the best iterations.

A Digital Elevation Model was then developed using elevation survey data to encourage maximum gravity flow to reduce CAPEX and OPEX. The survey, model and other detailed information helped gauge that a total number of 160 water schemes need to be channelized for all 2252 villages of Jhansi and Mirzapur to have tapped drinking water. It also suggested that 19 Water Treatment Plans of 508 MLD capacity would be required for the transmission network of 1800 km length (150 mm to 800 diameters).

455 Service Reservoirs of 100 million litres capacity would be needed in the two districts. Other major contents of the Detailed Project Report prepared on the basis of the survey highlighted relevant topographical and geographical details such as village boundaries of the block on GIS-based maps, population projections for the next 15 and 30 years, and design stages of the project.

Key Benefits

  • Assured access to piped drinking water based on the detailed distribution network planning and infrastructural requirement delineation
  • Improved water quality leading better health conditions, sufficient water quantity and better standards of living for the people
  • Generation of local employment and increase in revenue of the block
  • Reduction of water-borne diseases arising due to contamination of water supply.
  • Improved block-level governance through the proposed water supply scheme.
  • Improved service delivery prospects.