At a time when parts of the country are facing acute drought, the Chandigarh’s water supply situation — with a shortage of 29 million gallons per day (MGD) equivalent to 45 lakh litre (2.25-lakh buckets) — is enough to set alarm bells ringing. However, the municipal corporation seems to have no long-term plans to plug the shortage. Even when plans are finalised, procedural delays or wastage have emerged as major hurdles towards quenching the city’s thirst. Residents’ reluctance to shift to tertiary treated water for uses like watering of lawns also adds to the problem of water scarcity.
Supply in numbers
The city receives 87 MGD of water against a demand of 116 MGD, a shortage of 29 MGD. Of the supply, 67 MGD are received from the first four phases of Kajauli waterworks with the rest coming from tubewells.
‘Wastage rampant in big establishments’
Even as cricket matches have shifted due to use of potable water for upkeep of stadiums, the same continues unchecked in all major establishments in the city. A survey by this HT reporter found that the Punjab and Haryana Raj Bhawans, the cricket stadium in Sector 16, the hockey stadiums in Sectors 18 and 42, football stadium in Sector 17, Lake Club, Athletics stadium in Sector 7, many government schools, colleges and big parks are using potable water instead of tertiary treated water over the past two decades. Estimates put the wastage from this at 1 MGD (45 lakh litre).
2012 Recommendations gather dust
The civic body has failed to implement the recommendations of an expert committee constituted in September 2012 — headed by the then superintending engineer, public health department RC Diwan. The report also spoke of better maintenance of machinery and distribution system. Yet, nothing has been done.
Underground water leakage: MC losing Rs 10 crore a year
Records show that around 15 MGD of water, enough to cater to around 48,000 houses, is wasted daily due to underground leakage.
This is also leading to a revenue loss of Rs 10 crore a year. In most colonies, nozzles are missing from taps and water leaks out. The MC has also failed to install meters in these localities. Officials remain unaware of the intricacies of water supply and distribution.
Only 700 of 5,000 houses using tertiary treated water
Even as Rs 15 crore have been spent on a project to supply tertiary treated water to houses of area 1 kanal and more, the MC has found that only 700 of 5,000 such houses have applied for a tertiary connection in four years.
In fact, the civic body is leaking money in maintenance of pumping stations to supply tertiary treated water with Rs 40 lakh annual revenue against Rs 3.5 crore expenditure.