The gap between demand and supply of electricity and water in the city is making residents sweat it out. Coupled with high transmission and distribution (T&D) losses,it spells trouble for city residents in the coming summer months. While additional power has been purchased for the UT,the proposals for enhancing water supply have not yet received clearance.
Both the departments are hoping for relatively cooler summers in order to tide over the hiccups. As soon as temperatures soar,the demand for both water and power shoots up,causing breakdowns and complaints about shortage of supply.
The city receives a total of 87 million gallons daily (mgd) of water against the peak summer demand of 116 mgd. Of the 87 mgd,67 is canal water and the remaining is from around the 200 tubewells that are installed in the city. Chandigarh has the second highest per capita availability of water. Against the national average of 150 litres per person daily (lpd),the availability in Chandigarh is 332 lpd. The highest is 340 lpd in Goa.
However,the residents of the upper storeys face problems due to low water pressure. At times,the water does not reach the upper storeys. Officials claim that there is wastage of water in the city. Despite a large number of notices and challans being issued against water wastage,the watering of lawns and washing of cars continues. Transmission and distribution losses stand at 24 per cent.
The proposals for increasing the water supply are hanging fire. The Municipal Corporation (MC) had proposed a project for Augmentation of Water Supply Scheme (Phase V and VI) of Kajauli. However,after facing several hindrances the scheme is in deep freeze. With the ground water level in the city reducing rapidly,additional tubewells can also not be installed.
An official of the MC public health wing said that in the coming days,the time for release of water would be advanced by half an hour in the morning to ensure that overhead tanks get filled up. He added that water supply to the colonies has been reduced to the same time as the rest of the city,instead of 24 hours earlier. The use of tertiary treated water for irrigation would be encouraged.
The peak summer demand of electricity last year was 324 mega watt. It is expected to increase further this year. The city is receiving 280 MW of power from various sources. This year for peak hours,ie from 9 am to 6 pm,additional power has been purchased for the month of May to meet the demand.
The majority of the power requirement for Chandigarh is met through its share of central generating power stations of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC),National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL). In addition,the Department also purchases power from BBMB and the open market. The city is receiving 47 per cent of its power from Punjab State Power Corporation (PSPC),5 per cent through BBMB and the remaining 48 per cent through Nalalgarh,HP.
While the Electricity Department has this year decided not to impose scheduled power cuts,residents are complaining of unscheduled breakdowns. The electricity transmission and distribution losses are 18 per cent,which the Department is aiming to reduce to 15 per cent in the coming days. One of the problems is the presence of kundi connections in slums and colonies. Power tariffs have increased for two straight years.