Wednesday evening’s peak-hour traffic came to a standstill for over two hours on Ring Road in Delhi as one of the city’s largest distribution pipelines burst, flooded the area and snapping its water supply.
The huge 1,200mm-diameter pipeline, that brings 140 million gallons per day of treated water from the Sonia Vihar water plant to posh south Delhi colonies, is also among the city’s oldest water distribution channels due for replacement by the end of this year.
As Delhi Jal Board (DJB) launched into an all-night repair and restoration job, the Sonia Vihar plant had to be shut down and there was no water supply to Defence Colony, Lajpat Nagar, Grater Kailash, Safdarjung, CR Park, Gulmohar Park and all adjoining areas under the south distribution network. Chances of the usual early morning supply were also slim.
“It was an old pipeline, which used to carry water from the Bhagirathi plant before the slightly bigger Sonia Vihar (plant) was commissioned a couple of years ago. It finally gave in to the increased water pressure from the new plant,” said RK Garg, Member (Water), of DJB.
The DJB has repeatedly faced public ire for continuing to use old distribution channels that are infested with leaks and prone to bursts. Water supply has time and again been affected because of crumbling infrastructure. Under pressure, the DJB is replacing a number of its main pipelines, including the one that was damaged on Wednesday.
The pipeline is being replaced through a Rs 45-crore project by a Mumbai-based engineering firm. The DJB said 40 per cent work was complete. “We had continued using it (the pipe) for economical purposes,” Garg said.
At around 4.30 pm, the Ring Road adjoining Nizamuddin nstood inundated, almost submerged. “When a pipeline that huge, carrying bulk of the water meant for entire south Delhi, bursts, it is no less than a deluge,” said a DJB official. “Our engineers had a tough time reaching the spot of the burst.”