With Pavana dam level rising significantly in the last few days, officials Saturday said the drinking water worries of 18 lakh people of Pimpri-Chinchwad are over. “Yes, we can now say there will be no drinking water problem next year for residents of Pimpri-Chinchwad,” said Municipal Commissioner Dinesh Waghmare. PCMC has already decided to restore once a day water supply plan from Monday — a full three months after the alternate day water plan came into effect.
By Saturday evening, Pavana dam — the lifeline of Pimpri-Chinchwad — had crossed the 90 per cent storage mark — 10 per cent more than last year’s 80 per cent mark. “By August 15 last year, the dam was 80 per cent full following incessant rain. This year, by August 5, it is 90 per cent full,” said Manohar Khade, executive engineer, Pavana dam.
The dam has a capacity of 8.51 TMC. Till Saturday evening, it had 7.67 TMC water. From June 1 to August 5, the dam recorded over 1,500 mm rainfall. PCMC lifts at least 350 MLD water from the dam everyday.
Last year, by October 15, the dam had 80 per cent water. After that, as the dam level went down, the irrigation department asked PCMC to take a 10 per cent water cut. Therefore, PCMC effected a water cut in its supply to residents from March. But from May onwards, the PCMC initiated drastic water cut by bringing in alternate day water supply plan as the Pavana dam level came down considerably. In June, when it failed to rain throughout the month, there was a debate of a further water cut. However, the July rain drowned the debate and now in August, the situation is far better than it was in June.
After the alternate day supply came into force, it was the first time in the history of Pimpri-Chinchwad the residents had to face this kind of drinking water problem. Twenty years ago, the residents used to get 24 hours of water. After that it was reduced to 12 hours, then 8 hours and finally to four hours. Before the alternate day water supply came into force, residents used to get three-four hours of water, officials said.
On Friday, after the dam reached 87 per cent of its storage capacity, officials started releasing 3,100 cusecs water, which was stopped around 12 noon on Saturday. “This was because the rain had stopped in the catchment area of the dam,” said Khade.
Pavana dam is located in Pavanagar area of Maval — at least 35 km from Pimpri-Chinchwad. It is the only dam which provides water to the whole of Pimpri-Chinchwad. The water is lifted from the river at Ravet and pumped to Nigdi filtration plant from where it is supplied across Pimpri-Chinchwad. Some areas get water in the morning while other areas get it in the evening. Officials said the same arrangement will remain in place from Monday.
Meanwhile, PCMC officials said they were waiting to hear from the farmers in Maval who have been given two weeks’ time by the district collectorate on the decision by the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority. “We want to restart the work on the closed pipeline as early as possible,” officials said.
The Rs 400-crore closed pipeline work has been stuck since 2011 after three farmers protesting against the project were killed.
Meanwhile, water entered low lying areas of Sangvi in Pimpri-Chinchwad as 20,000 cusecs was released from Mulshi dam in Mula river. Besides, the Pavana and the Mula rivers also flow from Pimpri-Chinchwad. The affected residents were shifted to nearby civic school by the PCMC.