In an attempt to curb water theft and tide over drinking water situation,Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) has requested Paschim Gujarat Vij Company Limited (PGVCL) to snap power supply in the city while it distributes water. The exercise is likely to begin in a weeks time.
The civic body supplies water for 20 minutes every alternate day.
Civic officials say they have been forced to take this somewhat coercive step after other measures to tackle the menace of water theft did not yield desired results even as water level in Aji dam,the main source of water for the city,has hit rock-bottom.
RMC distributes more than 150 million liters per day (MLD) water. However,the city is completely dependent on Narmada water as other local reservoirs have dried up.
The move is targeted at those who draw water from distribution lines of RMC by using electric pumps during distribution hours. This results in downstream households getting insufficient or no water at all,civic officials say.
We are conducting checking drives to detect water thefts. In most of the cases,people use electric pumps to draw additional water. We have seized hundreds of such pumps. But as these pumps are cheaper in the city,their seizure has not acted as a deterrent. Hence,we have been forced to request power outage, municipal commissioner Ajay Bhadu told The Indian Express on Tuesday.
The commissioner said they had done mapping of various areas in all three zones based on the complaints of people getting no water or at low pressure and that they had identified more than 200 localities where the problem was serious.
We have requested PGVCL to stop power supply while we distribute water in a particular area. Though the move will affect their revenue, PGVCL authorities have agreed to cooperate to help tide over the tight drinking water situation in the city, Bhadu further said.
RMC officers said discussions with PGVCL on the proposal were on since the beginning of this year and that four rounds of meetings had already been held between the two sides.
In entire Saurashtra region,there is a crisis of drinking water. We have agreed to cooperate in efforts to ease the situation. So far as possible loss of revenue is concerned,we shall find out ways to compensate for it, Girish Shah,managing director of PGVCL,said.
Incidentally,power consumption remains the highest during summer.
The MD further said that modalities of the exercise would be finalised at a meeting to be convened by Rajkot district collector Rajendra Kumar in coming few days.
Officials say the civic body had resorted to same tactics in late 1980s when the region was hit by a prolonged drought.