Kotkapura town, population nearly 80,000, gets drinking water that's inadequate, irregular, and impure.
A few reverse osmosis (RO) water purification systems that are on aren't enough to serve the entire town. "The water supply in Chopra Bagh is sometimes more than required and sometimes insufficient," Balwinder Singh of Street 4 in the locality. "The area is close to the supply tank, and the workers who maintain it often do not take the pains to divert the supply to Surgapuri when it goes into excess. The people also care little to close taps, which causes an overflow when the gutters swell.
The water supply should be regular and only as much as required, Balwinder Singh added. The people of Bengali Basti, on the other hand, complain of frequent days when the taps are dry.
Pipes laid but empty
"The pipes are laid but the supply reaches only up to a factory tap 500 metres away from where people have to fetch water," said Swarn Sing Kala of Bengali Basti. "The RO system is about 1,500 metres from the locality. Our people either drink hand-pump water or carry it from far," said a woman standing by.
In Indira Colony, the pipes are yet to be laid. "A municipal water tank serves the area but the supply is irregular, sometimes once, sometimes twice a week," said Chaman Singh, a man from the neighbourhood.
Long walk for water
The RO system is about 2 km from Indira Colony. "Most of its families carry drinking water from the two hand pumps near a kassi (small irrigation channel connected to a canal) on the Jalaleana road," said Gurmeet Kaur, a woman from the locality. "The other option is to drink unclean water from domestic hand pumps."
"For the past one month, the supply has been irregular," said Virbahna, who lives near the town's senior secondary school for girls. "Sometimes, we get water at midnight and have to stay awake waiting."
"In most areas of the city, you cannot just turn on a tap and fill the bucket," he added. "People have to install motor-driven pump to lift water to their tanks. Nothing drips out of taps."
Even no sewerage
We have neither any sewerage nor water-supply system," said Rajpal Singh Brar of Dhillon Colony.
"We have been seeking both for years but got nothing, so far. Now people have dug bore-wells more than 400-foot deep at home, which has cost them up to Rs. 70,000. They still have to travel to the mandi board supply taps to bring drinking water home."
The municipal committee has a proposal of investing Rs. 26 crore in improving the city's drinking-water supply. "The tenders for repair will be invited first, and then will begin the work to connect the remaining areas," said Parmjeet Kaur Dhillon, president of municipal committee of Kotkapura. "A huge part of the money will go into adding capacity."
Blame on people
"The people are also not cooperative," said an employee maintaining the supply tanks. "Some are not ready to pay the bills and others steal water by tapping into pipes, which leads to contamination."
80,000 population of Kotkapura
3 supply tanks to serve the town
8 lakh gallons total capacity of tanks