Pune Water Supply: City Needs New Water Sources Or Better Conservation Methods

PUNE: A few days of steady rain and the civic administration’s clear and present worry about water seems to have almost ended. However, the lull in the rains mid-season in the past two years have caused worry lines.
This year, the monsoon arrived in Pune city in early June, but after a few days of rain, a dry period set in during which the levels in all the reservoirs of the dams that supply water to the city plummeted.
Such over dependence on the four dams has raised queries in many quarters and city planners must either look at new sources of water for the future or look into rigorous conservation methods for the future.
Already, activists say, with the monsoon’s revival, all the long-term plans for water-saving measures, appointment of a consultant by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to overhaul the supply and installation of meters will be rolled up and stashed away.
The city and its water needs have grown from a mere 5 sq km in 1817 to 700 sq km in 1997. According to the civic body’s statistics, between 1901 and 2001, the city’s estimated urban population has grown 25 times, from 1.64 lakh to about 42 lakh. Civic infrastructure, which should have grown proportionately, has failed to keep pace with the population.
The civic body has drawn up a Rs 260-crore plan and sought funds from the state and central governments for the project. The PCMC has sent already two letters to the irrigation department requesting 120 MLD water from the same reservoir.
Another plan is to lay a direct pipeline from Khadakwasla and Varasgaon reservoirs to meet the long-term drinking water requirements of the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). This will reduce percolation loss that is now experienced with the Mutha canal.
A new dam with a capacity of 30 MLD daily water supply on Pavana river near Ravet has been planned for the PCMC’s needs. However, the state irrigation department is not enthusiastic about these proposals. It wants PMC to improve the water supply network and implement water-saving measures instead.
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