Water woes worsen
It’s official. From June 1, there will be no afternoon water supply in Chandigarh
CHANDIGARH: Already bearing the brunt of erratic water supply for the past many weeks, residents of the city will now have to bear with dry afternoons in June. For a month starting Friday, there will be no scheduled afternoon water supply — 12 pm to 2 pm. The public health department of the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) has taken the decision in the wake of increasing demand in summers.
For the past at least one month, residents of most sectors in the city, particularly those residing above the ground floor, have been struggling to get water. The pressure is low during supply hours, which means that water does not go beyond the ground floor. And, thus, empty overhead tanks lead to even the ground-floor residents suffering eventually. The areas worst affected include Sector 1 to 12, 15, 22, 27, 28, 31, 32, 34, 35, 40, and 44 to 51.
Though the MC says that the move will help increase the pressure during mornings and evenings (see box), the claim must be seen in the context of earlier such claims. Three years ago, the MC had promised 24x7 water supply in the entire city, but the situation has actually worsened.
Every year, the MC spends nearly Rs 15 crore on maintenance of pumping machinery and an additional Rs 5 crore for upgrade of the existing pumping system. “Instead of improving and plugging loopholes in the distribution system, the officers always propose new tubewells and boosters in low-pressure zones,” said Major DS Sandhu (retd), member of the MC’s water supply and sewerage disposal committee.
“The MC is waiting for the rains, it seems,” an official remarked. TROUBLES DEEPEN, NEED TO PLUG THE LEAKS
With the onset of summers and phases 7 and 8 of the Kajauli water supply augmentation scheme dumped, the problems would only compound. At present there is a gap of 29 million gallons daily (MGD) between the demand and the supply. The city is receiving 87 MGD water — 67 from canals and 20 from tubewells — against the demand of 116 MGD, and the figure shoots up in peak summer (May to July).
If the MC manages to plug the leaks in its distribution network, the shortage of 29 million gallons daily can be cut down to a bearable 9 MGD. The wastage, most of it in colonies and villages, means a revenue loss of Rs 10 crore each year. If the around 20 MGD water is saved, it can cater to around 48,000 houses in the city.
The Kajauli waterworks located on the Bhakra mainline canal near Morinda in Ropar district is from where most of the requirement of Chandigarh, SAS Nagar and Chandimandir is met. But in future, the city will be in deeper trouble as it will have give 9 MGD to Chandimandir and Panckula as per an agreement.
Under phases 5 and 6 of Kajauli, Punjab has refused water to Chandigarh. And under phases 7 and 8, Haryana has refused to give nod for the project of augmentation of water supply to Chandigarh.