The state water resource department has warned that it would double the water charges if the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) failed to ink a new agreement for drawing water from the Khadakwasla dam with the state government.
In a communication to the PMC, the state water resource department said the time limit of the previous agreement on use of water by the civic body from the dam had lapsed on August 31. “If the PMC continues to draw water from Khadakwasla dam without signing a new agreement then the water resource department would charge the civic body with double rate,” it stated.
The PMC and state water resource department have been at loggerheads over last few years over the use of water from Khadakwasla dam. They have been arguing over fixing the amount of water needed for the city and water charges. It is only after the approval of MWRRA that the quota for the city would be decided and a new agreement drawn up.
Over the past few years, the PMC and state water resource department have been at loggerheads over use of water from the dam by the civic body. The state water resource department has been claiming that the PMC was drawing more water than the amount allowed to them and had sought an additional charge of Rs 354 crore from 2013 till date, for the same. The PMC, however, had rejected the claims, citing leakage and theft of water by villages around the city.
The civic body is allowed to draw 11.5 TMC of water per year and an additional 10 per cent – a total of 12.65 TMC – to meet increased demand. The water resource department, however, has claimed that the civic body was drawing more than 13.5 TMC.
For drawing the allocated amount of 11.5 TMC water, the PMC has to pay Rs 45 crore to the water resources department each year.
Inked in 2013, the agreement on water sharing between the PMC and state water resource department was applicable till February this year. The civic body, however, had managed to get an extension of six months, which lapsed on August 31, officials said.
On August 16, the state water resource department had sent a reminder to the PMC asking it to sign a new agreement to draw water from the dam and pay Rs 88 crore for using more water than they were allowed to last year.
Recently, the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority had directed the PMC to carry out a water audit and submit a water budget along with a demand for increased water quota every year from the reservoir after a petition was filed against the civic body for allegedly drawing more water than its allocated quota.