The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has finally started the trial run of the long-delayed Bhama Askhed dam water project, which entails drawing water from the dam and supplying it to the eastern parts of the city.
“The trial run of the newly-developed water supply system has begun. The PMC has laid a 42-km-long pipeline from the dam to meet the water needs of Nagar Road residents. A trial run is currently being conducted and the actual water supply will start from next month, in phases,” said City Engineer Prashant Waghmare.
The areas that will benefit from the project are Kalas, Sangamwadi, Yerawada, Lohegaon, Dhanori, Kalyaninagar, Vadgaonsheri and Kharadi. “The 200 MLD project is expected to meet the water supply needs of the region till 2041, when the local population is estimated to have increased to 14.5 lakh. The project was started in 2013 and has been completed now after facing a lot of hurdles, mainly due to protests by residents of villages where the pipeline was laid. The work had to be completed under police protection in some places,” he said.
The water, drawn from the dam, will be supplied to 27 overhead tanks in Nagar Road area, which will then supply it to various localities. “There will be a separate trial run for each tank… the old water connection will be discontinued only if the new connection is found to be satisfactory. The entire area will be covered by March,” said Waghmare.
While Pune city has been getting a major share of its water supply from Khadakwasla dam, 11 km from the city, now it will get a sizeable amount from a dam much farther away, as Bhama Askhed dam is located 42 km from the city.
“The project has only one pumping station in the backwaters of Bhama Askhed dam, which sends water to a tank located 8 km from the dam. Then the water goes to a treatment plant, and then across the stretch of Nagar Road. This will save at least 15 percent of recurring cost of the water supply system…,” said Yuvraj Deshmukh, superintendent engineer of PMC.
The commissioning of the Bhama Askhed project is set to increase the water availability for PMC by 2.64 TMC per year. Till now, the civic body used to get 11.5 TMC water from Khadakwasla dam and 0.46 TMC from Pavana dam.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJP in PMC and the opposition NCP has been engaged in a tussle to take credit for the Rs 448-crore project. The project was started when the NCP was in power in the PMC, and has been completed when the BJP holds power in the civic body.
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