The city receives 87 million gallons of water per day (MGD) as against the demand for 115 MGD in summers. Of this, 67 MGD is received from Kajauli, while the remaining is generated through tube wells. A majority of areas in the city, especially southern sectors and villages, face shortage of water during peak summers. Residents complain of low water pressure, with those residing on the upper floors being the worst affected.
Surjit Kaur, 70, a resident of 49 Sector, says that the low water pressure affects daily household chores during summers. The authorities should ensure that the residents get proper water supply as promised to them.
The city residents can hope for improved water supply by next year as the Punjab government has allotted land to the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation for setting up a pumping station enabling Chandigarh to get its share of water from phases V and VI of Kajauli water works. As per the water sharing agreement of phases V and VI, out of 40 MGD, 29 MGD will be the share of Chandigarh while the remaining 11 MGD will be shared between Punjab and Haryana.
Mayor Arun Sood says that the tenders are ready and work will start at the earliest. “The residents can hope for better water situation next year,” he adds.
In the smart city proposal, a lot of emphasis has been laid on 24X7 water supply.
MC experiences 28 per cent transmission losses due to faulty pipelines, leakages, etc. Apart from consumption in residential and commercial areas, a large amount of water is being used for watering lawns.
In an attempt to check water wastage during summer, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation imposes ban on watering of lawns and washing cars from middle of April till the end of June. Since April 15, the corporation has challaned 72 people and issued 704 notices for misuse or wastage of water.
For effective enforcement, a total of 18 teams under a sub-divisional officer have been constituted. For the past few years, the enforcement wing of the corporation has been facing flak from the public for only penalising residents in southern sectors for wasting water while ignoring those residing in northern sectors.
Councillors playing politics
The elected representatives of city seem to be little interested in resolving the water issues of the residents as they failed to discuss the issue of water shortage in the House meeting held on Friday. Councillors of both BJP and Congress wasted the meeting by making irrelevant remarks at each other.
Erratic power supply
Erratic power supply due to frequent breakdowns takes a toll on the normal life in the city during summer season. Although the Chandigarh electricity department has sufficient power to meet the peak demand, the timely fault repair and preventive maintenance has emerged as the key area of concern because of the manpower crisis.
As per office record, the department has a total of 1,049 employees against the sanctioned strength of 1,780. The department had sought approval for additional work force from the ministry in June 2015. The field staff is worst affected by staff shortage. Against the sanctioned strength of 625 of assistant linemen, the department is managing with 286 employees while only 158 linemen are working against the sanctioned strength of 253. As many as 38 posts of junior engineers are lying vacant. A total of nine posts of assistant executive engineer are also lying unfilled. UT superintending engineer M P Singh says that the vacant posts will be filled by the end of this year. Till then services of contractual workers are being taken.