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Thirsty Mohali on verge of water crisis

Though a few more days are left for the onset of peak summers,water problems have slowly begun to haunt Mohali...

Written by Nitin Jain | Mohali |
April 14, 2009 3:58:57 am

Supply-requirement gap shoots up to 10 MGD in peak summer

Though a few more days are left for the onset of peak summers,water problems have slowly begun to haunt Mohali,which will continue to reel under water woes until gap between the demand and supply is bridged. Mohali is reportedly short of 7 MGD (million gallons daily) water for drinking purposes and this figure shoots up to 10 MGD in peak summer (May to July).

With the additional availability of 2.5 MGD water from Kajauli IV phase water project,the district headquarters is presently getting 10 MGD canal water besides 3.5 MGD being released from 28 functional tubewells of the Water Supply and Sanitation Department to quench the thirst of residents.

In some areas,the situation is so bad that people are compelled to go without water whenever the waterworks develop a snag. Still others have resorted to fetching water from handpumps to meet their daily needs.

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Executive engineer Inderjeet Singh Kang,Water Supply and Sanitation department,however,claims to have received no major complaints as yet.

The department authorities claim to be doing their best to find a way out of the situation with the Municipal Council being asked to install 39 tubewells. Officials explain that the township’s daily requirement is around 20 MGD while only 13.5 MGD is actually available. A substantial amount of water is also lost due to leakage and theft,which,however,the authorities deny. This further widens the gap,which rises by another 3 MGD during peak summer. Typical of summer months,irrigation of lawns and plants coupled with the use of coolers is responsible for around 15 per cent rise in water consumption.

Meanwhile,the Water Supply and Sanitation department’s 250 staffers are maintaining and operating the water supply of the Municipal Council,which lacks requisite technical workforce.

Kajauli project cost shoots up by 50% in 3 yrs but work yet to begin
“The only long term and permanent solution to end the water crisis of Mohali is to install Phase V and VI of Kajauli waterworks,which will supply 20 MGD canal water,” said Executive Engineer Inderjeet Singh Kang,Water Supply and Sanitation department,Mohali.

Citing a shortage of funds for undertaking the project approved exclusively for Mohali,Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) had referred the project for funding under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

With the needs of not only Mohali but also its satellite towns Nayagaon,Kharar and Kurali increasing with each passing day and no allocation of funds under JNNURM yet,the project seems a distant dream. Due to the lackadaisical approach of authorities,the work on the project has not picked up for which even the land for laying the canal water supply lines from Kajauli to Mohali had been acquired.

Over the last three years,since its inception,the estimated project cost has gone up from Rs 65 crore to Rs 100 crore,a jump of 50 per cent.

At present,28 tubewells and water from the Kajauli waterworks quench the thirst of around 3 lakh residents settled in 23.86 square km area,divided in 31 wards with 10 overhead supply reservoirs (OHSRs),two with 2 lakh gallons and eight with one lakh gallon capacity,while one of them is not functioning since long. Expressing serious concern over the water crisis,Mohali Citizens Welfare Federation has demanded immediate installation of Phase V and VI of Kajauli waterworks to give relief to Greater Mohali.

“Work on the project should begin immediately and till it completes,new tubewells should be installed as a stopgap solution,” suggested federation president B S Tej and secretary Parminder Singh,who recently met the Water Supply and Sanitation department executive engineer to press for their long pending demand.

Functional phases
PHASE I in 1983 – Rs 1.3 crore
PHASE II in 1988 – Rs 1.16 crore
PHASE III in 1994 – Rs 3.08 crore
PHASE IV in 2005 – Rs 5.14 crore

Additional water
Residents are being provided additional water at full pressure from midnight to 5 am on every alternate day for filling overhead water tanks since the past fortnight. Normal routine water supply from 5 am-9am,12 noon-2 pm and 5 pm-9 pm continues as usual.

Divided township
Mohali’s water supply is maintained by three different departments. While the Water Supply and Sanitation Department takes care of residential areas within the municipal limits and Industrial Area (Phase I-V),GMADA supplies water to Sector 65-69,which are out of municipal limits,and MC quenches the thirst of Industrial Area (Phase VI-IX).

Do not waste water
The Water Supply and Sanitation Department staffers are on the lookout for those wasting the precious commodity April 1 onwards. Anybody found irrigating lawns,washing vehicles and wasting water in any other way will be fined and even their water supply stands a chance of being disconnected.

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