With decline of water level in reservoirs supplying water to the city, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration has been forced to review the situation and is contemplating water supply on alternate days — one part of the city getting supply one day and the other areas the next day — to ensure water lasts until the reservoirs have enough water. “There is only 1.31 TMC of water available in the dam. The water level is declining with no addition to it due to delay in monsoon,” said a civic officer.
As per the state government directions, the irrigation department reserves water for the city till July 15 keeping in mind that monsoon arrives in the the city in the first half of June every year and fills the dams.
There has been poor rainfall this year and the civic administration was forced to make changes in supply. PMC decided to provide water once a day to the city with 12 per cent water cut so that water lasts till August 8.
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“The earlier prediction was that rainfall will begin on July 7 but that didn’t take place. Now, there is prediction of it starting on July 11 but no one can assure it. Thus, the PMC has to take further steps to ensure that water lasts for as many days as possible,” said the civic officer. The PMC has to increase water cut, he said adding, “Unless there is alternate day water supply, increase in water cut every day would lead to collapse of the system. The final decision would be taken by elected representatives.” The PMC administration will divide the city into two parts to supply water alternate day to each part.
Administration banked on IMD predictions
The district administration has planned water cuts in accordance with the Met department forecasts. The district administration says that with prediction of a revival in monsoon activity continuing to overshoot dates set by IMD, and dams that supply water to the city getting emptier, streamlining supply has become tough. The administration felt timely and accurate predictions could have helped them plan better.
“There were no rains in June. Even in July, the Met department stated that monsoon would revive on July 7 and that too has been missed. Now, the met department is positive that monsoon would revive on July 10-11. We are meeting after July 10 after seeing whether monsoon will revive to decide any water cut to be introduced in the city. Water level is depleting in all dams,’’ said District Collector Saurabh Rao on Tuesday.
While PMC introduced a 12 per cent water cut last week, the district collector said a meeting on Friday will decide whether there should be more water cuts. “We will let the irrigation officials, civic and the collectorate officials decide on the further course of action,’’ the collector said.
He said that had the administration been alerted about the possibility of poor monsoon in June, they would have introduced water cuts earlier in the month.
“While there were good rains last year, the stock levels are better this year. With poor rains this year, the repercussions will be seen next year,’’ he added.
Presently, water storage in Khadakwasla is at 36.65 per cent (0.7 TMC) against last year’s 21 per cent (0.4 TMC) and the irrigation department has assured that they have water storage till August 15. The irrigation department did not press for a water cut.
The four dams of Mutha basin supplying water to the city have a total storage of 1.31 TMC with Panshet having 5.48 per cent (0.6 TMC). Water storage levels in Varasgaon and Temghar is almost zero.
While the state government has issued orders that divisional commissioners and district collectors will be responsible for the release of water, the collector has maintained that the first preferance will be for drinking.
“With sparse rainfall in catchment areas of Ujjani and Khadakwasla we have instructed the MSEB to introduce load shedding at night and restrict pumping of water for irrigation,” said the collector.
Even as the Met department said monsoon would revive, the collector said that in their interactions with the chief secretary, they have been asked to make other arrangements if the situation continues to be the same after July 10.
“The Met department said there would be a revival of monsoon but if monsoon is further delayed then we would have to work on three fronts, water cut, crop insurance and measures for irrigation,” he said.
Rao said the district administration has been asked to ready a long term plan of Rs 55 crore on repairs to check seepage of water.