While the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been struggling to get additional water supply of one TMC,it is estimated that as much as four TMC is wasted in the city annually by way of leakages due to old and faulty distribution system.
The loss takes place by way of leakages through the old and rusted pipelines both above and below the ground,loose valves and unauthorised water connections.
The issue was discussed at the meeting convened by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar with officials of the PMC,irrigation department and local representatives. While some corporators claimed that the loss through leakages was as high as 40 per cent,PMC officials maintained that it was not more than 25 per cent. This forced Pawar to direct the officials to make installation of water meters mandatory.
Although the PMC does not have official figures on leakage,it has been estimated that of the total water PMC receives from the dams,five per cent is lost during filtration process while 25 per cent is lost due to leakages in tanks and pipelines. Civic activists and opposition parties have been raising the issue for long the but the PMC has failed to plug these leakages.
According to officials,though the department repairs surface pipelines,it is difficult to for them to detect underground leakage. The PMC has no maps of the old pipeline network which makes it difficult to carry out repair works.
It has been estimated that loss of water due to wastage and leakages in Punes water supply system is over 40 per cent. The PMC has agreed that it does not have the figures on water wastage and leakage and no projects have been undertaken regarding this for past the four-and-a-half years. Pune did not have functioning bulk water meters then and it was nearly impossible to comprehend where the losses came from. Pune urgently needs to adopt metering system,making it easier to monitor water supply and leakage and ensure supply efficiency and auditing water use, said Parineeta Dandekar,South Asia Network on Dams,River and People (SANDRP),Pune.
According to V G Kulkarni,superintending engineer,water works,while the repair work is being undertaken at several places,unavailability of sufficient staff often makes it difficult to plug leakages. According to him,getting an additional staff of 11 junior engineers from Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran (MJP) for three months as promised by the Deputy CM would be of great help.
At present,we have 48 junior engineers to look after 72 wards,each with a population of 35-40 thousand. Getting additional technical staff from MJP will help us reducing leakages, said Kulkarni.
Kulkarni said the exact amount of and reasons for water losses would be known after the water audit. He said while primary and secondary water audit will be over in the next six months,for tertiary audit (from tanks to homes),water meters must be installed at every household.