38% water samples tested in Patiala unfit for drinking

  • Jatinder Mahal, Hindustan Times, Patiala
  • Updated: Oct 18, 2015 21:40 IST
Residents of Ram Nagar display a contaminated water bottle in Patiala on Sunday. (Bharat Bhushan/HT Photo)

Just ahead of the festive season, the city’s water supply system is overburdened, misused and the lack of infrastructure preparedness on the part of the civic authorities is also clearly visible.

On a broad plane, the city’s water supply seems to be afflicted by four major issues — contaminated drinking water supply, decreasing ground water level, not enough resources to maintain water lines and finally, a tendency among residents to take connection directly from the main water lines.

38% samples unfit for drinking

With around 38% of water samples tested from across the city failing the purity test so far, this festive season could be the one where residents end up battling water-borne diseases. Of 170 samples tested from across the city, 64 were contaminated.

Water samples from Anand Nagar, Dheru-Basti, Sanjay Colony, Guru Ravidas Nagar, Samania gate, Gandhi Nagar, Lahori gate, SST Nagar are some prominent localities that have failed the test. Besides a layer of dust, some samples have also been found to contain dangerous bacteria and excess of salt. So, residents of these areas could be at the major risk of contracting communicable diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid and hepatitis from e-Coli and Colioform bacteria.

Interestingly, no policy measures to deal with the problem have even thought of.

The only step that has been taken to tackle the problem is distribution of chlorine tablets.

Areas like Sanjay Colony, Ram Nagar, Anand Nagar and SST Nagar seem especially at the risk of breakout of disease, sources claimed.

“For the past one week, we have been getting contaminated water supply with dust visible. Many of us have ill, but authorities have been in deep slumber,” said Daleep Singh, a resident of SST Nagar.

Municipal councillor of the area Amarjeet Singh said, “There have been three such complaints (of contaminated water supply). On each occasion, the problem has been rectified.”

Pipeline leaks a huge issue

Officials of the operation and maintenance branch of the municipal corporation claim that are overburdened with complaints of leakages and end up fixing around 10 such cases a day across the city.

They claim that this happens as residents try and tap the main line in an unauthorised manner, ending up damaging it. However, residents counter this by claiming that the work done in laying the pipes and then in the consequent repairs are invariably of a low standard.

Unauthorised use of pumps goes unchecked

With ground water the only major source of the city’s water supply, residents’ tendency to install tubewells and submersible pumps has led to a dip in the height from where supply could be taken.

“From 110 foot in 2000, the average water level has now dipped to 200 foot. The average level is also falling by 2-3 foot a year,” said MC’s operation and maintenance (O&M) cell executive engineer Gurpreet Singh Walia Even as he warns of the consequences, more than 20,000 households in the city are totally and solely dependent on these pumps.

What’s more, around 14,000 households enjoying MC’s water supply system are illegal and do not pay any bill. There are a total of 64,000 households with water connections, thus 25% remain unaccounted for.

MC’s water and supply cell superintendent Sunil Mehta said, “We have arrears of `6.5 crore from 14,000 water connection defaulters. Most of them are from slums and residential areas like Dheru Basti, Gandhi Nagar, SST Nagar and Sanjay colony areas.”

Operation and maintenance executive engineer Gurpreet Singh Walia said, “A proposal has been placed before the Finance and Contract Committee (F&CC) committee of the MC to install chlorination dozers at all tubewells. As soon it is approved, the needful would be done.”

Joint commissioner Nazar Singh said, “Residents tap into the main water line without the MC’s permission. To tackle this, special inspection teams have been formed. All tubewells will be made functional soon.”

Major problems

1.Contaminated drinking water supply

2.Decreasing ground water level

3.Not enough resources to maintain water lines

4.A tendency among residents to take connection directly from the main water lines

Number crunching

•64,000 - Total water connections

•14,000 - Illegal connections and do not pay any bill

•20,000 - Households in the city that are totally and solely dependent on pumps.

•125 - Tubewells

•15 - Non-functional tubewells

Most tubewells do not have an effective cleaning mechanism

(chlorination dozer)

How residents can help

•Do not make use of illegal water connections as according to MC officials this is the main casue of contamination and also ends yp damaging government property and infrastructure.

•People should change household connection after every five years.

•Water connection pipelines should be above at least 6 inches (half a foot) away from the drains of the house.

•MC should ensure that overhead water tank is cleaned by their team after every six months

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