Swimming pools afloat in parched times, raise eyebrows

How societies are ‘pooling’ ideas to fight water shortage?

Pune | Published: March 13, 2016 4:06 am
PMC's NG Nande swimming tank,Balgandharva premises,JM Road. Express Photo By Pavan Khengre,12.03.16,Pune. PMC’s NG Nande swimming tank,Balgandharva premises,JM Road. (Express Photo By Pavan Khengre)

Rose Parade Society, Kondhwa

Akhilesh Singh, president of Rose Parade Society, Kondhwa, said they kept their society swimming pool closed for the last six months. “It is natural that in such times of crisis we will not use the swimming pool,” said Singh. Although the society gets water from the natural well and PMC water, it is taking extra care to avoid wastage of water. “We use the well water and have a softner plant for filtering the water. We have 173 flats and seven row houses and even decided that we would not be using water for the upcoming holi festival,” adds Singh.

Brahma Majestic, Kondhwa

Brahma Majestic, Kondhwa chairperson Manisha Oulkar, said that they are operating their swimming pool with water which was filled years ago by using a filtration plant. “The water can be recycled as many number of times and so we have not taken any refill of the water and are well aware of the water crisis and so we will not use PMC water for the swimming pool,” said Oulkar. The society has 15 buildings with 550 flats and those who want to avail of the pool facilities have to get identity cards. A trained lifeguard is there all the time during morning and evening hours when the club members take to the pool, she adds.

Karishma Society, Kothrud

The Karishma Society in Kothrud has taken serious steps towards conserving water given the drought-like situation. The manager, Dilip Gajrate said that the swimming pool has been closed for more than eight months. The water used in the swimming pool has always been borewell water so that there is no misuse of drinking water. When asked if any members of the society objected, Gajrate said, “There was absolute cooperation from all the members because even they understand the need of the hour, water is not enough for drinking so no one would think about luxuries.” To avoid water wastage, this society in Kothrud has not changed swimming pool water in two-three years, instead treating it with chemicals or filtration methods. The society not only abides by water saving laws but also follows all safety regulations and has two lifeguards whenever someone enters the pool. A resident of Karishma society said, “The action PMC has taken is very right indeed but the law should not be limited only to societies but should be extended to other swimming pools in the area because they cause a lot more wastage and are continuously in use.”

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Swapnashilp, Kothrud

Another society in Kothrud, named Swapnashilp, has the same stand on the issue and follows the rule dutifully. The chairman of the society, who did not wish to share his name, said, “We are responsible citizens and we understand our duties and the seriousness of the issue. In a situation where there is no water to drink, how can we even think about our enjoyment. Even when the swimming pool is functional we only top-up the water, which has been reduced due to evaporation, but we try our best to save it.”

Bapu Kedari swimming pool, Wanowrie

If there was a lesson in safety and hygiene to be learnt, then it would be at the RLSS-managed swimming pool in Wanowrie. A pool of 25 metres owned by the PMC which is being managed by Rashtriya Life Saving Society for over a decade and half, at least 4-5 lifeguards stand guard at different points keeping an eye on the swimmers here. For those who inept at swimming, the sight of the safety equipment at hand is reassuring. From rings to life buoys and floats and even a stretcher and oxygen supply if needed, the pool authorities have managed to keep it all at hand.

Kavita Sharma from the RLSS team rued about the water problem which had forced the pool to shut down six months ago. “Earlier we depended on PMC water and when ban on using municipal water for swimming pools came, we had to shut down. Now we have a borewell from where we are using the water. But on one hand, while it’s expensive to use borewell water since treating it takes more cost of chemical and electricity, we also aren’t sure of how long we will be allowed to use it since summer is approaching. We fear if water level goes down further, even this will be banned.”

Blue Ridge Housing Society, Hinjewadi

The society had three swimming pools of which two became dysfunctional a few years ago. The third was functional until the beginning of winter and although the summer has set in, the swimming pool has not been made functional. “The pool is quite popular with the residents and they use it all the time. I am not sure but the society has a private water supply for the pool. I don’t know what’s the reason but it should have been functional by now. I think it’s something to do with the water scarcity situation in the city. This time around last year it was very much functional,” said N Roy, a resident of the society.

The society employs lifeguards who are present during the working hours of the pool, residents said.

Dwarkadhish Residency, Pimple Saudagar.

The society has a small pool for residents which ‘was rarely used’. The pool remained dry during summers and last year it was closed down permanently to give way for a ‘chit-chat’ park. “The society certainly has a water scarcity issue. We don’t get water between 1 pm to 5 pm. The pool – which was often called baby pool – was closed probably due to this scarcity scenario,” said A Chatterjee, a resident.

DeepMala Society, Pimple Saudagar

This summer, a majority of the pools in various housing societies of Pimpri-Chinchwad are yet to be functional given the looming situation of water storage that is haunting the area at large. However, a majority of the housing societies did confess to the lack of trained lifeguards at their pools citing economic constraints. One of the older housing societies of the area , the swimming pool here is non-functional this year due to water scarcity.

Vijay Kumbhar, a resident of the society, said they use borewell water for their pool mostly. However, the society does not employ any lifeguards. “When the pool is operational, one of the security guards is always posted there. It is not financially possible for every housing society to post lifeguards,” he said.

(Contributed by Nisha Nambiar, Garima Mishra, Alifiya Khan, Atikh Rashid and Partha Sarathi Biswas)

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