Most city residents would have to wake up well before 5am every morning during the coming summer months to ensure that they and their families are not left “high and dry” for the rest of the day, literally speaking.
For, Public health department of the Chandigarh municipal corporation is working towards making city residents make early-rising a habit. Not for their health's sake, but to ensure they have adequate water stored for their daily requirements throughout the day.
While giving a presentation regarding the water shortage in Chandigarh to UT finance secretary VK Singh recently, MC officials proposed that people staying in houses in multi-storeyed buildings but with single supply connection would have to make their own arrangements to lift potable water to overhead tanks after 5am since the civic body would not be able to ensure enough pressure after that time.
When contacted for comments, deputy mayor Satish Kainth maintained, “We do not know under what circumstances the MC officers proposed not to supply water with full pressure after 5am. In the past, there was no such problem and people were getting water supply on upper floors after 5am as well. Now, the residents will have to rise earlier than 5am and make arrangements to lift water to their floors.
During the presentation, the officials also admitted that there was skewed distribution of water between northern and southern sectors. Residents of northern sectors like 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 were drawing 1,000 litres per capita per day (LPCD), whereas those in sectors 33, 34, 35, 36, and 49 were drawing only 400 LPCD.
The average domestic consumption per day by city residents is 250 litres as compared with 150 litres at the national level. The officials also admitted that the average domestic per capita consumption during winter and summer seasons was more or less the same.
Interestingly, it was revealed that the MC earned only Rs 59 crore per year from water tariff but spent Rs 85 crore, which comes to a Rs 26-crore gap.
Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga questioned the MC authorities' stand that per capita consumption of water in UT during winter and summer seasons was more or less the same. “If this is the case, why is there shortage of water during summers? We will take up this issue in the coming House meeting since it is serious matter. Residents have been facing the problem for the past couple of years,” he said.
As per official records, Chandigarh residents were getting water supply for nearly 15 hours spread over morning, afternoon and evening hours two years ago. However, alleged improper management on part of officials concerned adversely affected water distribution evenly throughout the city.
Acute water shortage had forced the MC to discontinue afternoon supply to homes in June 2012, which till date has not been restored.
Steps proposed to rationalise water supply
1. Excess per capital supply is to be curtailed sector-wise
2. Installation of pressure gauges extensively at various locations on V-4 (roads dividing sectors) to monitor pressure at different points
3. Rationalisation of water tariff by drastically raising rates for consumption above 15 kilolitres per house per month. Of consumption up to 15 KL, the rate is proposed to be Rs 2 per KL and if above 15 KL, it would be Rs 10 per KL.