With the cases of waterborne diseases rising in the city, the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), which has been at the receiving end of citizens’ ire for contaminated water supply in several parts of the city, has begun a drive to check close to 600 water samples in a day. On Wednesday, the VMC tested 589 samples of which 7 were found to be contaminated, the Water Supply department said.
The VMC, which has officially recorded 29 cases of viral hepatitis, 65 cases of typhoid and 49 cases of cholera until August 5 this year, has been facing criticism over contaminated water supply in several parts of the city. Municipal Commissioner Shalini Agarwal has directed the water supply department to collect and test bulk water samples and deal with specific instances of contamination to provide a quick resolution, officials said.
Additional City Engineer (Water Works) and Executive Engineer (Water Supply) Amrut Makwana told this newspaper, ” We have increased the sample testing to over 500, which are taken randomly from areas that complain about contaminated water. Most of these complaints come from the walled city areas or from East zone which has several clustered settlements with encroachments and illegal water supply lines.”
On Tuesday, the VMC found 16 of 659 water samples contaminated, according to Makwana and on Wednesday seven of 589 samples were found contaminated. “The test only tells if the sample is contaminated or clear. It doesn’t state the nature of contamination,” Makwana said.
The officer said that most of the contamination occurs when water pipelines that have aged leak and the drainage water seepage occurs. “Additionally, encroachments usually do not plan the structure and many are constructed over the network of pipelines. It hinders repair work even if there is a complaint,” Makwana said.
Makwana said that while the old city area has a majority of the pipelines from the era of Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III, the VMC has undertaken repair work of pipelines that were damaged over the years. The city also faces an issue of sewage dumping in storm water drains that run close to the water supply networks.
“Most of the pipelines have a life of about 20 years. Even in the old city area, we have undertaken replacement of the pipeline network in areas that have specifically complained but a major overhauling of water pipelines in all four zones of the city at an estimated cost of Rs 1 crore per zone is on cards,” Makwana said.