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Despite Narmada, Indore thirsty

Indore, the erstwhile seat of the Holkars and now the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, faces a major water crisis in summer. The city gets the bulk of its water from the Narmada but with its other sources, the Yeshwant Sagar and Bilawali Tank drying up in summer, water availability is definitely an issue.

india Updated: Jun 17, 2003 17:49 IST

As most of northern India still reels under severe heat wave and the eastern part of the country grapples with flash floods, Madhya Pradeshfinds the going tough. Indore, just receiving its first monsoon showers nevertheless remains a water stressed city.

Indore, the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh with the state's largest population, is situated in the water-scarce Malwa region of the state. Most of the cities and towns of Malwa, including Mandsaur, Ujjain, Neemuch, Dhar and Dewas are struggling to provide drinking water to its citizens. But Indore, thanks to its sheer size and demands, is in a particularly bad shape.

The city, with a population of around 18 lakhs, has three main traditional water sources - the Yeshwant Sagar lake, constructed across the Gambhir river, the Bilawali Tank and the water supplied through the Narmada Project. In certain areas it is also supplied through power pumps, hand pumps and wells.

However, the city and its neighboring areas are heavily dependent on water supplied from Narmada river through a 70 km long pipeline, stored in 31 overhead and underground tanks dotted all over the city, and then distributed. The Narmada project, as the water supply scheme is known here, supplies roughly 140 million litres of water per day, provided there are no power cuts or other mechanical breakdowns.


Indore Municipal Corporation

Control Room: (0731) 2535555

The main water source is at Jalud, Mandleshwar on the banks of river Narmada. In the first stage, with the help of five pumping stations at various points along the pipeline, the water is pumped a distance of 22.2 km and up to a height of 680 meters at Vanchoo Point. From there the water travels at distance of 47.8 km to Indore on gravitational force. This is one of the most expensive water projects in the country and in takes around Rs 90 crore a year for maintenance, which includes the power bills that stands at Rs 50 crore a year.

Seasonal variation: Under normal circumstances, the Yeshwant Sagar supplies 18 million litres of water a day (mld), the Bilawali Tank supplies 9 mld, and the power pumps, hand pumps and wells supply a total of 27 mld - making it a total of 194 mld per day. With a total population of around 18 lakhs, the per capital consumption comes to a little above 105 litres per day per person.

However, during summer months while the Narmada continues to supply 140 mld, the supply from Yeshwant Sagar drops to 7 mld, there is no supply from Bilawali Tank as it dries up by March and water from power wells, tube wells and wells comes down to 10 mld, making the total supply at 157 mld. This gives an average availability of 95 litres of water per person per day. Whereas, the Public Health Engineering Manual on water supply of the Government of India, says that in a city the size of Indore, every person should be supplied average of 135 litres of water per day.

First Published: Jun 17, 2003 17:11 IST