Monday Musings: Finally, PMC flags excess water usage issue

Published on Nov 14, 2022 05:19 PM IST

Residents from these areas were found using water far more than the prescribed limit of 150 litres per person every day for drinking and domestic use

PMC has undertaken the ambitious <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>2,100-crore 24x7 project which mandates installing water meters in each housing society. (HT FILE PHOTO)
PMC has undertaken the ambitious 2,100-crore 24x7 project which mandates installing water meters in each housing society. (HT FILE PHOTO)

When the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) launched action last week against residents using excess water, it evoked mixed reaction. While many from suburbs welcomed the drive, some politicians criticised the move as civic elections are round the corner.

The action, in itself, is new and much needed. Pune has always had uneven supply of water. Certain localities in the city are privileged to receive water throughout the day while many areas, mostly the suburbs, depend on private tankers.

Cheap land price at suburbs saw massive real estate growth. Builders promised homebuyers all amenities, but the residents were left struggling for basic service such as water.

It is mainly because PMC has not been able to lay pipelines, and unavailability of water.

Against this background, the PMC action of serving notices to over 2,500 houses assumes significance. Residents from these areas were found using water far more than the prescribed limit of 150 litres per person every day for drinking and domestic use. The quota has been decided by the water resources authority based on availability and demand. In reality, some houses were found using water four times more than the prescribed quota.

In Pune, the city needs around 1,600 MLD (million litres per day) of water. Estimating the city population to be more than 5.5 million, PMC had recently sought 20.34 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of water from the water resources department of Maharashtra government to meet the growing annual demand. However, the state water resources department has fixed the quota at 12.41 TMC.

To deal with the issue of providing equitable supply of water to all areas, PMC has undertaken the ambitious 2,100-crore 24x7 project which mandates installing water metres in each housing society. Now, these meters are showing excess use of water by some residents.

As the World Bank has noted, water is at the centre of economic and social development; it is vital to maintain health, grow food, manage the environment, and create jobs.

A data compiled and collated by the state’s water resources department in 2015 suggested that the annual reservation for drinking water in urban areas of Maharashtra is 4,843 million cubic metres against 1,033 million cubic metres in rural areas. So, urban areas can access 4.7 times more drinking water than the rural belt from these water sources when the urban-rural population is evenly divided by now. The inequity is policy driven and flows from norms set by the government. Urban areas are entitled to 135-150 litres of water per person per day, depending on the population. Rural areas are entitled to just 40-70 litres per person per day.

However, within cities (such as Pune) too, there is marked inequality with certain areas getting more water than the rest and citizens indulging in wasting it when others are deprived even drinking water. To bridge the gap, PMC needs to expedite the 24x7 water project and bring discipline to areas where water usage is high.

Yogesh Joshi can be contacted at yogesh.joshi@htlive.com

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Yogesh Joshi is Assistant Editor at Hindustan Times. He covers politics, security, development and human rights from Western Maharashtra.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, December 01, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals