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Can Pune manage with reduced water quota every year?

With orders to reduce water supply, the question if the city’s demand will be met has caused worry.

pune Updated: Nov 14, 2017 14:37 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
water,dam,water supply
The city has received good rainfall this season, thus filling the dams to good capacity.(Pratham Gokhale/HT PHOTO)

The irrigation department’s order to cut Pune city’s water supply from 11.5 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) to 8.19 TMC per annum has triggered talks among civic body circles, with elected members and activists having divided opinions over the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) ability to meet the city’s water demand with the reduced quota.

The order has come at a time when all the four dams which provide water to the Pune city are full and the population of city is growing consistently, thus raising eyebrows among citizen activists and politicians. Opposition parties have raised questions as to why the irrigation department took such a decision when the dams can provide water to the city at 11.5 TMC per year. Civic activists, however, suspect politics behind the decision.

The water regulatory authority, while hearing a complaint filed by a farmer from Pune district, instructed the PMC to reduce its water quota and manage the drinking water supply with 8.19 TMC per annum. The irrigation department’s decision is reportedly based on the city’s population.

Civic activist Vivek Velenkar, while speaking to Hindustan Times said, “It is a conspiracy by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the administration. The order has come up at a time when negative discussions have begun over the 24x7 water supply scheme. This conspiracy of creating a havoc of water problem when the dams are full is aimed at making the atmosphere in favour of the 24x7 water scheme.”

Meanwhile, BJP leaders have expressed confidence over meeting the city’s water demand with the reduced quota through the upcoming 24x7 water supply scheme. Standing committee chairman Murlidhar Mohol said, “The PMC has planned to execute the 24x7 water scheme, under which the civic body is erecting a new water network. One of the objectives of this scheme is to identify the leakages and fix them. Once the scheme is implemented, every drop of water will be audited. Considering the 24x7 water scheme, it is possible for PMC to manage with less water quota. However, until the scheme is implemented, the PMC will need more water from dams.”

Recently, municipal commissioner Kunal Kumar also accepted that there is an almost 40 per cent leakage of water within the city. “The new scheme would help bring down this leakage. Since the water source is limited, there is a need to save water and use each drop efficiently,” Kumar said adding that after executing the 24x7 water scheme, the PMC can manage the water supply for the next 20 years with the same water quota.

PMC water department head VJ Kulkarni said, “Considering the existing water network, it is not possible to manage the water supply with 8.19 TMC water per annum. If the water supply is limited for 8.19 TMC, then PMC may have to provide water supply every alternate day instead of every day, which is not manageable.

First Published: Nov 13, 2017 23:01 IST