Thane civic body to ration water, curb housing societies from using excess supply
In an attempt to curb housing societies from using excess water supplied by the civic body this summer, the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has decided to ration its distribution to each of them.
If the societies claim they are using non-potable or borewell water for excess usage, the corporation wants a certificate backing the same.
The decision, taken by the TMC’s water department to mitigate a possible water crisis in April and May, is likely to invite the ire of several housing societies which do not have borewells and are dependent only on the civic body’s water supply.
An officer from the water department said there was parity in residential areas because not all households have been uniformly receiving 130-140 litres of water per day, which is the TMC’s standard ratio.
“People in most societies use excess corporation water to wash their vehicles or water their gardens. We will conduct thorough checks by reading their meters. Those who are found using excess water supply will be served a notice,” the officer said.
The officer said societies submitting self-attested certificates claiming excess water being used for washing vehicles or for gardening comes from borewells would be subject to surprise checks.
Citing the example of a housing society in Hajuri, the officer said his department found 75% of its apartments had their own loft tanks to store excess water received, affecting supply to the remaining flats. “The water requirement of this society was 67,000 litres per day; they are supplied 1.3 lakh litres a day. We have sent them a show cause notice asking why we should not cut five out of ten water connections to the society,” he said.
Most housing societies have not taken well to this decision from the TMC.
Raj Rajapurkar, president of the Ghodbunder Housing Welfare Association, said, “Most societies do not even receive sufficient drinking water due to unequal distribution of water. Almost all societies use borewell water for washing vehicles and gardening; all of us are literate people who know these things.”
“If the corporation has any doubt they should conduct a survey themselves instead of asking us to waste time drafting documents and certificates,” Rajapurkar said.
On the TMC’s plan to ration water supply in summer, Rajapurkar said the members of his association would stage a protest if supply was reduced to any of the housing societies.
Other measures in pipeline
The corporation also said it would cut supply to commercial establishments found using its water for activities such as washing vehicle besides finding new resources to fill in the gap.
“We are repairing valves and leakages in our distribution system. We will also clean the wells in the city to avoid contamination of well water, which can be used for non-potable purposes,” the officer said.
Although the TMC planned to set up reverse-osmosis (RO) filters in wells and bore wells across the city, the project never saw the light of day.
The water department now plans to revive this initiative and fit RO filters inside bore wells that yield 1,000 litres of water per hour or more.
No response for amnesty scheme
In 2011, the TMC had initiated an amnesty scheme for people with illegal water connections, saying they could make it legal by paying fines. The fine for a residential connection is R3,000 and for a commercial one, R10,000. But over the past eight years, only 16,433 people chose to opt for this.
Thane-based environmentalist Vidyadhar Walavalkar, said, “People are so used to utilising excess water, they do not realise they are wasting it. There is sufficient water available throughout the year and they do not realise the importance of conserving it unless there is a crisis.”
Walavalkar said recycling water was a good practice but people hardly invested in recycling plants. “There should be a code of conduct for people in cities on the usage of water,” he said.
He also dismissed bore wells as a temporary solution and one which is not environment-friendly.