As summer arrives and it is April 15 on the calendar, the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) starts issuing notices to residents for wastage of water in the morning hours.
Despite following this annual ritual religiously, when it comes to its own distribution network, the MC has failed to check the leakage of water during the supply hours.
According to official records, the wastage of water due to leakage, which is maximum in colonies and villages, is 20 million gallons daily (MGD) — enough to fulfil needs of 48,000 households. Not just that: In terms of revenue, the leakage is equivalent to a loss of Rs 10 crore per annum.
With the MC taking no step to reduce the leakage in the past several years, residents living on the upper floors are at the receiving end on the onset of summers every year. This year, for the past 10 days, they have been forced to make do with low pressure. Even overhead tanks are lying empty. Those residing in Sectors 15, 22, 27, 28, 31 to 38 and 44 to 51 are the worst-affected.
During the MC House meeting on Monday, nominated councillor Surinder Bahga accused the civic body of wasting nearly 25% of water in leakages.
Admitting to a leakage of 20%, municipal commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh said in developed countries, too, 15% water is considered non-accounted and “we are trying our level best to bring (the leakage) down to 15%”.
The report of supervisory control and date acquisition (SCADA) of the MC states that out of total 250 tubewells, 20 to 25 remain non-functional every day.
In most colonies and villages, tap nozzles are missing and water keeps flowing continuously. The residents, too, are least bothered about the wastage, as the MC has not installed any water meter in these colonies.
Nominated councillor Major DS Sandhu (retd) said: “It seems public health officials do not go to these areas to sort out the problems. Why can’t they plan before the onset of summers, so that water crisis can be averted in the city? The situation is worsening day by day.”
The councillor said instead of checking leakages in the water distribution system, MC officials keep proposing construction of new tubewells and installation of boosters in low-pressure zones.
TWO YEARS ON, NO ACTION ON REPORT
Two years back, the MC prepared a report on water crisis. The officials admitted to skewed distribution of water between the northern and southern sectors. Residents of northern sectors, including Sectors 2,3, 4, 5 and 9, are drawing 1,000 litre per capita per day (LPCD) of water, while those residing in Sectors 33, 34, 35, 36, and 49 are getting only 400 LPCD.
Also, the average domestic consumption in the city is 250 LPCD against the national norm of 150 LPCD. The officials admitted that the average domestic per capita consumption during winters and summers remained more or less the same. It also came to light that the MC earns only Rs 59 crore per year from water tariff while spendingRs 85 crore, leading to a deficit of Rs 26 crore.
The report suggested replacement of faulty sluice valves to ensure smooth water supply in low-pressure areas. Pressure gauges should be installed on distribution pipelines wherever required to monitor water pressure, the report noted.
Other recommendations included a dedicated pipeline of suitable size from Sector 37, along with a pump, to ensure smooth supply to the Sector 25 colony and marginal opening of sluice valves installed on the pipeline in Sector 17 to ensure adequate water pressure in Sector 18.