Already grappling with water shortage during summers, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is worried that the state Irrigation Department’s decision to approve the supply of 3 TMC (one thousand million cubic feet) water for the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) — from the very chain of reservoirs that supplies water to the city — will add to its struggles.
“The PMRDA is the planning authority for the metropolitan region and has the responsibility to provide drinking water to residents in its jurisdiction. The Irrigation Department had received a demand, to allot a water quota for the metropolitan region, and the department has approved 3 TMC to start with,” said Kiran Gitte, metropolitan commissioner, PMRDA.
The metropolitan region was urbanising at a fast rate and there was a need to cater to the increasing demand for water, said Gitte. He also outlined the Authority’s plans for the region. “The first town planning scheme in the metropolitan region would soon be declared for Mahalunge, which would have a population of 2.5 lakh…,” said Gitte.
The Irrigation Department has allotted 11.5 TMC water per year for the PMC, but the civic body has been drawing 15.5 TMC, said Municipal Commissioner Kunal Kumar. The PMC draws 1,250 million litre per day (MLD) of water from the reservoirs, which means per capita consumption is 300 litre, as against the norm of 150 litre/day, said Kumar. He admitted that a considerable amount of water was lost due to leakages in the water supply network.
An ambitious new project by the civic body seeks to assure every resident of 24×7 uninterrupted supply of good quality water in the city. “The PMC has undertaken an ambitious Rs 3,000 crore project to revamp the water supply system across the city, along with metering it. This would help reduce leakages…,” said Kumar.
In 2016, the city had faced a water crisis so severe that for months, water was supplied on alternate days. Though the supply of water at the time was less, the PMC could have managed, but failed to do so due to factors like leakages, said Kumar. District Collector Saurabh Rao also said the allocation of water to the PMRDA would definitely add to the pressure on the PMC, as well as the villages drawing water from the reservoirs.
“The district administration has been working towards making the villages self-sufficient in terms of meeting water requirements, through the Jalyukt Shivar scheme. The only way to save water is by decentralising it and avoiding the urban-rural conflict during the summer season,” he said. The district administration has declared 365 villages as Jalyukt Shivar villages and 190 more villages would be included in the scheme next year, said Rao.
However, Rao said the PMC should not be worried about the allotment of water to the PMRDA, as the district administration would ensure that there was no shortage of water supply for the city.