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Kaushalya Dam goes dry, Panchkula too facing water shortage

The rain-fed dam is drying up due to deficient rainfall in winter

punjab Updated: Apr 21, 2016 16:56 IST
Bhartesh Singh Thakur
The drying Kaushalya Dam in Panchkula.
The drying Kaushalya Dam in Panchkula.(HT photo)

With the rain-fed Kaushalya Dam that supplies around 18 cusecs to the city drying up due to scanty rainfall in winter, the summer could bring testing times for residents. With no supply from the dam for over a week and the summer rising to its peak, the city could either live with water shortage or run its tubewells for 22-23 hours a day, leading to more electricity consumption. The dam has previously been supplying 5-6 cusecs.

The dam being non-functional means that around 36 million litres a day (MLD) are not available to the system (1 cusec translates into a flow of around 28 litres per second). Even by a conservative estimate, the shortage can be put at around 10% of the demand. The total demand of Panchkula has been put at 155 MLD with roughly the same supply coming in, but summers usually do see some shortage.

The water from the dam, built at a cost of  Es 200 crore, is being supplied to Sectors 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 in the city. With this supply not available, tubewells are being run around the clock. It is also unsure that how will the dam authorities meet their commitment of providing 40 cusecs in rainy season, after the town somehow manages to tide through the summer.

Irrigation department executive engineer Vinod Garg has a different version. “Kaushalya river is fed through rains. This time there was little rain in winters. This has forced us to halt supply. In the past, we have been able to provide as much water as Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA) has demanded. It is wrong to say that we have been providing less water.”

Shortage also from other sources

From Kajauli waterworks too, Panchkula is getting just 9 cusecs though there is a commitment of 12 cusecs. “They (the dam authorities) have not given any specific reason for not providing remaining 3 cusecs,” said Ajay Bansal, SDO, HUDA.

One of the solutions to avoid any shortage could be the use of tertiary treated water for uses like watering of golf courses. Now, potable water is being used for such purposes. HUDA executive engineer Karn Singh said, “We expect to start supply of tertiary treated water by May. When the supply starts, we will be able to save 25 MLD of potable water.”

Panchkula is also expecting additional 6 cusecs of water from Kajauli as pipes have been laid between Sector 39 and Sector 1 waterworks in Panchkula. HUDA SDO Bansal confirmed that demand-supply situation in Panchkula was broadly in sync, but summer has traditionally tended to present a challenge.

One of the solutions to avoid shortage could be the use of tertiary treated water by big establishments for uses like watering of golf courses, etc. Currently, potable water is being used for such purposes. HUDA executive engineer Karn Singh said, “We expect to start supply of tertiary treated water by May. Such a connection has been made for the golf course and the process of other parks in process. When the supply starts, we will be able to save 25 MLD of potable water.”

Read more: Chandigarh headed to water shortage, action confined to just a trickle