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 o'clock to 2pm. 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.
Will improve morning, evening supply, claims MC
Claiming that the morning -- 3am to 9am - and evening water supply -- 5.30pm to 9pm - will go on as usual, Mukesh Bassi, chairman of the water supply committee of MC, had an interesting theory behind plugging afternoon supply for the month of June.
"Now, we will focus on improving the pressure of supply so that water can reach overhead tanks. In fact, the two days that we did not supply water in the afternoon, pressure improved indeed in the mornings and evenings," he said.