Expecting a reduction of at least 33 per cent in Narmada water supply to Ahmedabad city, the local civic body has started working on a three-pronged approach to meet the city’s water supply demand this summer. Among them is tapping the groundwater resource.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) has carried out a massive survey and mapping of tubewells that have been lying defunct since water from Narmada started getting supplied to the city a decade ago. The survey identified over 250 defunct tubewells — 50 per cent of the existing tubewells. The highest number of such defunct tubewells is in the city’s South Zone (52), followed by East Zone (51).
“At present, testing of ground water quality and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) levels are being carried out to ascertain whether this water could be used for drinking purposes,” said a senior AMC official.
While the city’s estimated water supply is nearly 1,200 million litres per day (MLD), the AMC meets more than 75 per cent of its water requirement (900 MLD) from Narmada. Nearly 200 MLD is met through Raska weir that gets water from Mahi river in Vasad near Vadodara. The remaining 100 MLD, the city gets from borewells
and local trenchwells at Dudheshwar and Kotarpur.
A reduction of 33 per cent in Narmada water supply would mean a cut of 300 MLD water.
At present, 214 tubewells are in use to distribute 120 MLD water to 136 locations by pumping water into the overhead water tanks. Barring New West Zone, the tubewells in the remaining all the five city zones run on an average for eight to ten hours.
“The running time of these tubewells would be extended by 10 hours to 18-20 hours per day. By stretching the operations, the AMC aims at supplying a major additional chunk of 100 MLD water,” said Special City Engineer Jagdish Patel.
The New West zone has 56 tubewells, but they are all lying defunct. The AMC hopes to revive them too. From the 56 tubewells of New West Zone, the AMC expects to add another 50 MLD water which will be directly supplied to the nearby residential areas.
Another 20 spare borewells at the two water treatment plants — Kotarpur and Dudheshwar with a capacity of 22 and 8 MLD, respectively — would also be put to use.
“The civic body has also approved installation of 30 new borewells with priority in areas with low water pressure levels as these are expected to be hit the most in case of a water shortage,” Patel added. These 30 borewells will add another 50 MLD water to the system.
Besides, the AMC hopes to meet the shortage by rationing water to “non-essential services”. AMC Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said that they have identified over 250 motor service stations, public and private swimming pools — nearly 15 of which are under the AMC, clubs, five-star hotels and party plots under the non-essential consumption. The reduction in supply to these places are underway.
If the need arises, the AMC could start reducing the water supply time. For a population of nearly 60 lakh, the city gets two hours of water supply between 6 am and 8 am, and half an hour between 5 to 6 in the evening.
The civic body is also focussing on water conservation awareness. After taking into account 20 per cent water transmission losses, AMC officials claimed that the city gets around 160 litres per capital per day (LPCD), which the civic authorities claimed is more than the national average of 140 LPCD.
“The AMC is aggressively planning a campaign for saving water, which will be launched within a week. It is aimed at bringing a change in the habits of residents,” said Kumar.