Water woes worsen

It’s of­fi­cial. From June 1, there will be no af­ter­noon water sup­ply in Chandi­garh

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Live Cor­re­spon­dent chdlivedesk@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

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