Amid the meteorological department’s warnings of a hotter summer this year comes the bad news — the tricity comprising Chandigarh, Panchkula and SAS Nagar is staring at a major water crisis this time.
While the authorities in Chandigarh have been making tall claims of making 24X7 water supply from this year, the ground reality is that the city residents will have to grapple with a huge shortfall of water supply.
Even as the administrations of the three cities have taken steps such as banning watering of lawns and washing of vehicles using running water, this is unlikely to be of much help. Official sources say that the failure to plan for the future is the reason why the tricity has reached this situation.
In Chandigarh, the southern sectors, which are densely populated, are likely to be the worsthit, especially those living on the upper floors.
IN UT, 24X7 WATER SUPPLY STILL A FAR CRY
Officials in the municipal corporation reveal that at present, Chandigarh is short of 29 million gallons daily (MGD). This is equivalent to 45 lakh litres or 2.25-lakh buckets.
The city receives 87 MGD 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 the Kajauli waterworks with the rest coming from tubewells.
“The work on the phases 5 and 6 of the Kajauli waterworks is in progress and we are hopeful that the city will get extra 35 MGD water by the next summer and residents will be getting 24X7 water supply,” said Chandigarh MC commissioner B Purushartha. “As far as the underground leakage is concerned, under the smart city project, we will have smart distribution system and will upgrade all water pipes and plug the leakages,” he said.
MOHALI BANKING ON GOVT NOD FOR AUGMENTATION PROJECT
SAS Nagar needs 25 MGD water to meet its requirement. However, the city is getting only 15 MGD water, say officials.MC commissioner Rajesh Dhiman said, “We are focusing on the optimum utilisation of the amount of water available with us. We have already started a drive to check water wastage and teams have been constituted to make surprise visits.”
The district is banking on Punjab government’s approval of the ₹60 crore water supply augmentation project. The funds sanctioned for this will be used to upgrade two existing water treatment plants, which need replacement, said the official.
PANCHKULA NO EXCEPTION EITHER
The Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), that looks after water supply in Panchkula, is currently supplying 22-24 MGD water to city. But as the summer approaches, the consumption will increase to 28-30 MGD in peak summer.
The shortfall is to the tune of 6 MGD. The problem is severe, especially after supply from the rain-fed Kaushalya dam, which is built on the Ghaggar river near Pinjore, has nearly gone dry as the dam touches its threshold limit and can’t supply water to city any longer.
HUDA chief engineer Preet Mohan said, “We have sufficient sources to supply adequate water. Even if water supply from the Kaushalya dam gets exhausted, we have enough tubewells installed in the city to take care of the rising water demand during summer. We will run them for longer hours to ensure minimum hassle for city residents.”
REASONS BEHIND THE SCARCITY
The increase in demand and failure to increase the supply proportionately are the main reasons behind water scarcity. In Chandigarh, the work for laying pipelines for the phases V and VI from the Kajauli waterworks (the main source of water) remained held up for nearly a decade until it began in October last year.
In SAS Nagar, many sectors are yet to get canal water and most of the water supply is met by tubewells. Last year, the civic body had decided to install more tubewells and boosters. That is yet to happen.