Over a 32 year long career, O. Vishveswaraiah has gained diverse experience in water supply and infrastructure development. He has handled a number of large projects for water supply, urban water supply management, water treatment and sewage treatment, and lift irrigation. He has also been involved in industrial and commercial buildings, roads and bridges (ROBs and RUBs), hydropower and cross-country pipeline projects.
Vishveswaraiah joined SPML Infra Limited (formerly known as Subhash Projects & Marketing Limited) as an engineer and worked in various capacities across India, mainly in the water and road sectors. He is currently vice-president, projects, with the company. His role is to envision sustainable solutions for early project completion and ensure provision of potable water to consumers. His vision is to see India grow into a developed country, with citizen access to basic facilities such as potable water, sewerage infrastructure, power and transportation. He would also like to see assets being created and maintained for the next generation using the most advanced technologies at lower costs.
According to Vishveswaraiah, the inability to recognise the value of water is the main cause for its waste and misuse. Low operating efficiency, a high rate of non-revenue water (NRW) and low energy efficiency linked to ageing infrastructure together with inefficient practices, limited investments and low tariffs make it difficult for water utilities to recover costs and improve service sustainability. Water loss is among the top issues faced by utilities globally. It is estimated that 3.4 trillion litres of treated drinking water leak from aged and outdated supply networks in India each year. Average household leaks can account for nearly 45,500 litres of water being wasted every year and 10 per cent of homes have leaks that lead to 146,000 litres or more of wastage a year.
Vishveswaraiah’s most memorable assignment goes back to the time when he was project manager for a waste treatment plant (WTP) in Nuranang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Despite inhospitable conditions in the area, he and his team successfully constructed and commissioned the 7 million litre per day WTP to provide potable water to the tribal consumers. Another signature assignment for him was reducing NRW in central Bengaluru from 53 per cent to 20.4 per cent, under adverse working conditions along with his dedicated team.
Vishveswaraiah is a civil engineer from Bangalore University with a master’s in structural engineering, also from Bangalore University.