While the city grapples with options on how to tackle the impending shortage of water,there is no check on the wastage and theft of water. As much as 22 to 25 per cent water is wasted during transmission and distribution or due to theft because of which the supply does not generate revenue. There are large amounts of pending water bills that individuals and organisations have not paid over the years.
Chandigarh receives a total of 87 million gallons daily (mgd) of water. Of this,67 mgd is canal water from Kajauli Water Works while the remaining 20 mgd is from tubewells installed in different sectors. However,22 per cent of this water supply is unaccounted for. Despite the shortage,proposals are being mooted time and again for bringing additional areas in the city under the ambit of canal water.
A survey was conducted by the Municipal Corporation last year. It was found out that water was being used illegally at several locations with no checks in place. Amongst the biggest defaulters are service stations and owners of small eating joints. Most of the service stations are unauthorised and consume a large amount of water.
The eating joints were found to be using the public taps installed at the markets for their work. At places hose pipes were installed to the public taps by the owners of the dhabas in order to fulfil their needs. While public taps are installed to provide a facility for drinking water,these are also used by people for bathing. Due to the large amount of water being wasted at the public taps,a decision is now being taken to allot these only to market welfare association against a token payment. The associations would be responsible for the upkeep of the tap and a meter would be installed to keep a check on consumption.
From next summers,9 mgd water from what is being used by Chandigarh would be given to Panchkula and Chandimandir. There are demands for bringing more areas under the ambit of canal water supply. With new houses being constructed under the Rehabilitation Scheme under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission,a proposal was mooted for providing canal water here. In the Rajiv Gandhi Information Technology Park as well,it was proposed that canal water be supplied. In a meeting held recently,there was a demand that canal water should be provided in all the villages.
The Municipal Corporation has not been able to keep a check on the illegal water connections of the residents. At places,water connections have been taken directly from the supply line. There are areas where motors and hand pumps are installed on the main supply line. Leakages in the pipelines are also one of the causes of water wastage.
Water bills worth Rs 13 crore are pending against organisations and individuals. An amount of Rs 3.5 crore has been recovered since the drive to disconnect water meters was started. Bills amounting to Rs 7 crore are pending against several government departments. The lack of initiative to take action against the government departments has resulted in the pendency.