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Issue 4
Better Water Supply And Safer Transport For Millions
SJ (South and Central Asia Division)

January 2022

Batumi By-Pass, Georgia
Transforming Generations, Sustainably
Bold Masterplanning for Better Water Supply and Safer Transport for Millions in South and Central Asia
SJ (South and Central Asia Division)
January, 2022
Batumi By-Pass, Georgia
Abstract: The Surbana Jurong Group and SMEC have delivered vital infrastructure to ensure access to safe water and clean energy for the people of South and Central Asia over the past 50 years. SMEC is also the only private entity to have designed and supervised a specialised 765 kVA transmission line stretching across North Eastern India. This endeavour to empower remote communities continues with the master planning of economic corridors such as the vital Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor in India, and our involvement in the CPEC (China–Pakistan Economic Corridor) Corridor in Pakistan, the CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Programme) corridor in Central Asia which will uplift the people in these regions.
The South and Central regions of Asia are home to a rich diversity of geographies, topographies and climates. The region is also home to a significant portion of the world’s population, many living in rural and peri-urban spaces. People here often have limited access to basic services like drinking water, sanitation, mobility etc. which limits their ability to develop and prosper. Sustainability is not only about clean energy, protecting ecosystems, reducing carbon footprint, but also about empowering people and alleviating poverty.
The Surbana Jurong (SJ) Group and SMEC have been actively delivering vital projects to communities in the South and Central Asia to improve their quality of life. This journey in this region began in 1968 with a hydropower project in Nepal that connected people in remote Himalayan areas with water and power. Since then, we have grown a strong local presence in the region. Responsible for helping to build large-scale international, national, and urban infrastructure in 16 countries, we have truly enhanced sustainable development in South and Central Asia.


SMEC is a member company of the Surbana Jurong Group, which is owned by Temasek Holdings in Singapore. Strongly connected to Temasek’s ABC framework for creating active and productive economies; beautiful and inclusive societies; and a clean, cool Earth, our impact in the region spans a number of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), defined under the 2015 charter.

As a group, our core focus is delivering impact in these areas through our consultancy work:
Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean energy
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
In many of our projects, we have taken sustainable development further by working with local communities, funding agencies, and other organisations to extend our impact into other SDGs.
These secondary impact areas include our work in healthcare, education and institutional development and sustainable urban development, along with treatment facilities for water and waste to improve land and water environments by reducing pollution, while promoting supplementary efforts such as afforestation.

Over the last 53 years in the region, SJ and SMEC, along with our local subsidiaries, have worked to help a significant section of South and Central Asia’s population access basic amenities, while ensuring job creation and improving economic performance in many of the region’s nations.


Clean and safe water is a necessity. Our teams have worked with various governments on numerous urban and rural water supply projects to process clean water for drinking and irrigation across the South and Central Asia region.
We have recently designed a 12,000-km water pipeline network that will help India’s Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh states to implement rural water supply systems for over 10 million people in 16 districts. We have also provided similar rural water solutions in Pakistan’s most populous state under the Punjab Saaf Paani (Punjab Clean water) initiative, and through the Khulna Water Supply Project in Bangladesh.
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New Khanki Barrage Project, Pakistan
We are also helping to conserve the use of water. For example, through the Colombo Non-Revenue Water Project, we are working to reduce water loss in transmission and tighten Sri Lanka’s water management systems, while also helping to reduce pollution, by designing and project managing a new, 150 MLD (megaliters per day)-capacity sewage treatment plant in the nation’s capital.
Our commitment to reducing pollution in South and Central Asia extends to our work on projects like Hyderabad Pharma City. This 19,000-acre development is designed with a ‘Zero Liquid Discharge’ system for water intensive industries in India’s semi-arid heartland. To ensure that treated wastewater from the centralised effluent treatment plant is fully utilised, it reuses and repurposes water for non-process use, cooling, irrigation and cogeneration purposes.
Over the next six years we will also design and project manage the largest desalination plant in South Asia. Located in Chennai in India, its 400 MLD capacity will serve about 50 per cent of its population – while delivering a new level of service in guaranteed water supply to a city that that has suffered a severe, 20 year-long water supply crisis.
We are involved in creating significant irrigation assets in Central Asia through our work in Kazakhstan’s Second Irrigation and Drainage Project, that aims to revive the nation’s agriculture sector (whose contribution has dropped from over 10 per cent of the GDP to just 4 per cent in the last 20-25 years). Spanning 1,500km, once complete, the new assets will have a positive and far-reaching impact on the country’s agricultural economy.
The New Khanki Barrage Project in Pakistan is designed to support water supply and irrigation to over 3 million acres of land. Protecting upstream fish migration patterns by designing ladders for species like salmon on either side of the barrage, this project aims to reduce the long-term environmental impact of the project for life below water.
In line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 7, our efforts to progress clean water and power are foundational to SMEC’s business, and have seen us bring in international specialists and develop local expertise to help design, and project manage over 12,000 MW of hydropower projects across South and Central Asia.
In Pakistan we have contributed to Karot and Tarbela dam extensions and are currently upgrading the Mohmand Dam. In India we have been involved with many water and power projects from Tehri Pumped Storage, to Shongtong Karcham and Rushwagadhi.
Meanwhile, in Nepal and Sri Lanka, our teams have worked on the Nalsing Gad Project and the Mahaweli Project respectively. Connecting to national grids, the power produced by these urban and rural projects combined, reaches over 25 million people within the regions that they are built in and beyond.


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Budhil Hydropower Project in Himachal Pradesh, India
Driving economic opportunity and industrialisation, SJ and SMEC’s energy projects in South and Central Asia have boosted job creation in manufacturing and service industries. Our contribution to the region’s energy sector began with the creation of important mega hydropower assets which are now ingrained in SMEC’s legacy.
Today, our energy expertise in the region encompasses extensive infrastructure to transport the power and water generated from these assets.

SJ and SMEC’s energy projects in South and Central Asia have boosted job creation in manufacturing and service industries.

Driving positive economic impact, we now specialise in high-voltage long distance transmission and distribution networks to take the power from remote Himalayan regions to urban and industrial towns far away from the highlands.
SMEC is also the only private entity to have designed and supervised a specialised 765 kVA transmission line that stretches across North Eastern India, and our teams have overseen the implementation power distribution networks in Assam, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh states.
In addition to building transmission and distribution capability in the region, we also have completed a full-fledged overhaul of street level power infrastructure in Pimpri Chinchwad, an industrial town near Pune in India, and upgraded the street infrastructure separating dry and wet utilities for easy operations and maintenance.
Furthermore, we have recently delivered a Smart Metering Upgrade Project in Guwahati city to reduce power loss and improve revenues for the city electricity board. The programme recently published a report noting this project and others across India have reduced electricity losses of between 11 and 36 per cent in key urban centres and improved billing efficiency by 21 per cent.


With power and water availability, comes the ability to generate economic impact and growth. Present in South and Central Asia for over 50 years, SJ and SMEC’s heritage of strong initiatives include designing 35 city masterplans, along with industrial parks, SEZs and commercial hubs. Indeed, we have helped house over 50,000 families in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Central Asia and Sri Lanka.
Our marquee partnership with the Mahindra Group, to set up premier industrial parks, began in late 1990s. The parks now host major industrial brands including BMW, BASF, Fujitec, Braun, Cap Gemini, Infosys, Deutsche Bank and JCB across a range of sectors from automotive, technology, textiles and heavy engineering and machinery.
Our impact is not limited to our region. In fact, our master planning expertise for complex multi-modal infrastructure which supports the manufacturing sector saw Alstom’s industrial facility in Sri City SEZ, India supply the first coaches for Sydney’s Metro North West which were transported via road and rail links to the nearest airfield and then airlifted to Australia.
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Artist’s impression of the proposed Meghbon residences, Bangladesh

With more than 700 industrial plants and over 100 million sq. ft of technology parks built in the areas planned by our teams, we are proud to have made a sustainable impact on the lives of millions of people across the region


Sustaining cities is a herculean undertaking which takes many years. In 1998, we delivered a masterplan of the IT Corridor in Bangalore in India. Showcasing the sustainable impact of our work, the city’s economic output has soared, doubling in value since completion. (For every IT job created in the country during the 2000s, at least 7 supporting jobs were created in the city.) Today, it is India’s third largest city, contributing to 33 per cent of the nation’s IT sector.
Over the last decade we have embarked on another large-scale initiative, working to develop key economic corridors in the Northwest and the Southeast of India and international corridors in South and Central Asia. These corridors not only become an infrastructure spine, but also create offshoot opportunities around them.
We are proud to have designed and seeded the Japanese-backed 200 sqkm Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor near Gurgaon, that anchored the development of India’s most ambitious growth plan. We have since developed the master plan for Vizag Chennai Corridor (backed by the Asian Development Bank) on the East Coast, which will extend through the state of Odisha.
Over the last 20 years, our teams have redefined planning for India’s Western Hubs of Mumbai and Pune, transforming the approach from a singular CBD to a distributed economic centre model for development, and tying it to the larger national context of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
The Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor is noteworthy for its scale. We are working with leading contractors in designing heavy rail projects to help move double-stacked containers along the 1,500 km rail route of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
With the launch of the Navi Mumbai International Airport, we are beginning to see one of the most expansive and highest value development areas of India materialise after master planning it 15 years ago. The 4,500 acre Navi Mumbai SEZ, located at the southern end of the Delhi Mumbai Corridor is shaping up as one of India’s largest business houses. At the other end of the corridor, near Delhi, we are designing and project managing the 1,600 acre first phase of a private industrial park, and are now looking to help expand it to a total of about 10,000 acres.
We are also part of larger international transport infrastructure initiatives for the region, including the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation Corridor which will connect South Asia to Myanmar and the rest of South East Asia, via India, Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh.
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The Sukkur Multan Motorway Project, Pakistan


In Central Asia, we are working to progress the CAREC Corridor which will reactivate the Silk Route across 11 countries in the region. As part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan – the CPEC Corridor, our teams are overseeing the plantation of 400,000 trees as part the 392 km Sukkur Multan Motorway Project to enhance the life on land ecosystem. The road is expected to significantly improve trade activity along the route while creating a critical ecological value.
Our ongoing mass transit projects in Chennai, Bangalore, Dhaka and Mumbai continue to make a difference in connecting communities, and our team is currently involved in designing over 100 km of metros that will significantly reduce pollution and improve equitable urban connectivity. Alignment design, structural and civil works design, MEP services, station design, and supervision of mass transit work has been another rewarding experience for our group in South Asia as a multi-disciplinary team.
Every passenger who chooses the metro instead of a car or bus contributes to reducing emissions by up to 100 grams of CO2 for every 10-km trip. One of our clients, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, which has over 1,200 km of metro projects already built or under construction, has been certified by a United Nation’s body for saving 630,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in just one city.
In addition to connecting areas with large populations, in some cases, we have needed to develop solutions to help traverse unique geographical hurdles. For example, the Atal Tunnel provides all weather connectivity to northern Himalayan plateaus in India, and the Salang Pass Tunnel Upgrade (which will connect Afghanistan’s capital to northern territories and Central Asia) is designed to both improve transport conditions for a large population formerly disconnected over the long winter months. In Bangladesh, the Padma Bridge project, a road and rail bridge will connect 21 districts in Bangladesh’s southern region, where 38 million people live, to the capital while reducing vehicle operation costs by 34 per cent and travel time by 35 per cent (or by up to 10 hours). This contributes to a total saving of 1.2 per cent of the country’s GDP in direct economic impact.
Apart from improving connectivity, SMEC is also contributing to greenfield projects. Our teams are also in the process of developing a new 1,200 acre, greenfield project further south of Mumbai called Orange Smart City, where our client is focusing on bringing in 21st century thinking and technology integration to the forefront of urban development in India, which seeks to be the first market-led PPP project with its own planning authority.
Infrastructure and urban development are hallmarks of a progressive society and we need to embrace technology as we progress, ensuring our mission of Building Cities, Shaping Lives is truly sustainable as communities benefit holistically.
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Artist’s impression of the proposed Orange Smart City, India
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Padma Bridge, Bangladesh
The SEEDS Journal, started by the architectural teams across the Surbana Jurong Group in Feb 2021, is a platform for sharing their perspectives on all things architectural. SEEDS epitomises the desire of the Surbana Jurong Group to Enrich, Engage, Discover and Share ideas among the Group’s architects in 40 countries, covering North Asia, ASEAN, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, the Pacific region, the United States and Canada.
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