French Firm To Assist PCMC In Reviving Its 24X7 Water Plan

(Indian Express, Oct 19, 2010)
A French firm has come forward to assist the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) in revising its botched 24X7 drinking water plan. If officials are to be believed, the PCMC is in the process of appointing Suez Environment Ltd of France to conduct water audit, water reform and also help the civic body in implementing its round the clock water plan.
Additional city engineer (water supply) Pravin Tupe last week told this paper that Suez company on its own had few days back approached the PCMC to conduct water audit.
“After going through the successful implementation of its projects relating to water distribution, we have decided to appoint it,” he said. The company, he said, would conduct the water audit free of cost as it gets funds from the French government. The proposal for appointing the firm would be placed before the standing committee meeting on Tuesday.
Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma, who has already given his approval, said the PCMC did not have to pay anything for the audit. “It will be the first serious audit of its kind ever conducted in Pimpri-Chinchwad aimed at ensuring equitable distribution of water,” he said. Significantly, the civic chief said, the French company is helping the civic body in bring in reforms in the water system. “As part of the reforms, water districts will be created to plug water loss. For each water district, one junior engineer will be appointed. There will be a water reform unit as well,” he said. Sharma said once the reforms completed, the French company has promised to help the civic body in starting a pilot 24X7 water plan.
About six years ago, Sharma’s predecessor Dilip Band had promised round the clock water to the entire town, but his plan remained a non-starter due to various reasons like non-completion of water projects on time.
Executive engineer Pravin Ladkat said the French company has successfully implemented 24X7 water plan in 18 countries.
“The company is being appointed for 12 months to provide us expert guidance, technical support, conduct water audit, train engineer, set up hydraulic model, create elevated service zones and do hydraulic analysis,” he said.

PCMC To Open Helpline For Complaint Redressal

PUNE: Next time you don’t get enough water in your tap, all you may have to do is dial a number, as the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) will soon open a helpline to address the complaints of citizens like you.
Pravin Tupe, joint city engineer, PCMC, said, “Initially, the system will only accept complaints related to water supply. Subsequently, the helpline will be extended to all 41 civic departments.”
The PCMC has around 1.15 lakh water consumers in its jurisdiction. Complaints regarding low pressure, dysfunctional water meters, leakage and bills can be registered. The helpline will have an advanced voice recorder (AVR) system and citizens will get the choice of three languages, Marathi, Hindi and English, for processing his/her call, said an official.
“The caller will have to feed his water connection number and contact number before registering his complaint. He will be given a unique complaint number and his complaint assigned to the junior engineer concerned. The caller will also be given the details of the junior engineer and a time period for redressal. Once the problem is rectified, the complainant will be informed and the system will update the status,” said the official.
The helpline, estimated to cost the civic body Rs 12.75 lakh, will be sourced out to a private party. A proposal, for giving direct contract to create the software, programming, development and upgradation of the citizens grievances redressal helpline, will be tabled before the standing committee next week.

PCMC Pipeline Contractors To Level Dug Up Roads At Own Cost

PUNE: The water supply department of the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) has put a clause in tender bid documents making it mandatory for contractors to level the road after the pipelines are laid.
Earlier, the contractors would lay the pipes on roads and refill the trenches with uneven murum, resulting in inconvenience for motorists. Later, the asphalting work of these rough patches was given to new contractors for an extra price. Now, the one who lays the pipes will have to level the road with tar.
Ambadas Chavan, additional city engineer and chief of water supply department, PCMC, confirmed that such a clause has been included in the tender document.
Joint city engineer Pravin Tupe said, “Earlier too the PCMC used to get the trenches filled from the contractor. But now it is being explicitly mentioned as a mandatory condition while inviting bids for future projects. “The tender process will be completed in two months while actual work is expected to begin before the end of this year.”
The condition has been put up in the bid document for 18 projects of the water supply department, estimated to cost Rs 6.71 crore. Of these, 12 projects are to be completed in six months and five in a year. One other project has a two-year deadline.
Sulabha Ubale, group leader of Shiv Sena corporators, said, “The contractors dig up roads and other open areas but fail to fill the trenches. Accidents occur due to uneven roads. There is no co-ordination between the water supply department and the engineering department, due to which there is delay in reasphalting work of roads. The PCMC should ensure that the contractor who has dug up the roads for pipelines fills the trenches and asphalt the roads. ”
Source

PCMC Readies To Install Rain Gauge

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is scouting for land for the installation of a rain gauge in the municipal limits. Once the installation is completed, citizens in Pimpri-Chinchwad would be able to know the rainfall in the twin township.
Speaking to TOI, Mustafa Phadnis, assistant commissioner, PCMC said, “The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Pune, has given permission to install the rain gauge in the municipal limits to measure the rainfall.”
Phadnis said, “PCMC wanted to install the rain gauge on top of its main office building in Pimpri. But, as per IMD norms the rain gauge cannot be installed on the terrace of any building. The norms stipulate that the rain gauge has to be installed in an open plot with an area of 1,000 to 1,500 sq ft. There should be no trees or building on the plot to ensure that the maximum amount of rain is collected to give accurate readings.”
“There will be no difficulty in getting such land. It can be installed at any one of our municipal properties scattered across the municipal limits. The IMD officials will be shown the plots and it will be finalised after their permission. We hope to finalise the plot in a week,” replied Phadnis when enquired about the location for the rain gauge.
Speaking to TOI, Kiran Gawde, chief fire officer, said, “The civic body will also have to consider the security of the plot. The IMD will later give training to the civic employees about taking the readings. The PCMC has already bought the rain gauge”.
Pimpri-Chinchwad township, with a population of more than 15 lakh, is known as an industrial township. There is no rain gauge installed in the township. It relies on the rainfall figures given from the rain gauge installed near the Pavana dam. But, the rainfall figures from the dam do not give a clear picture.
The flood control cell of the PCMC will be able to utilise the data during monsoons to predict floods.
Source

PCMC Uses Water From Purification Plant To Water Gardens

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) is making optimum use of its water resources as it ensures that waste water generated at the purification plant in Nigdi does not go down the drain, but is used for gardening purpose.
Around 3.5 MLD (million litres per day) or 35 lakh litres of water is used for gardening purposes at the Durga Devi hills and 12 other gardens in the nearby areas.  The PCMC draws 380 MLD water from Ravet and treats it at the water purification plant at Nigdi.
According to civic officials, the waste water from the purification plant at Nigdi is nothing but backwash water which is highly muddy and is not potable. At the water purification plant, there are 40 filter beds containing sand through which the water is passed for filtration.
Incidentally, the Pune Municipal Corporation is also working on a plan to recycle backwash water from the Parvati Water Works. Around 35 MLD water would be recycled and used, say civic officials.
Read the rest of the article here.

PCMC Pay Points Ensure No More Long Queues To Pay Bills In Pimpri

On March 31 this year, thousands of residents in Pimpri-Chinchwad had lined up at four divisional offices of the municipal corporation to pay their water bills and property tax bills. The PCMC was forced to extend the deadline in view of the serpentine queues that created chaos and unruly scenes.
Such endless queues at PCMC offices have now become a thing of the past. The PCMC has started Pay Points, a concept popular in the city of London. Pay Points are like ATM centres where residents can pay their property bills and water tax bills using their swipe cards.
The idea is the brainchild of Municipal Commissioner, Asheesh Sharma, who had had a first account experience of the Pay Point System earlier this year in London. On August 20, the PCMC inaugurated as many as five points — four at divisional offices and the fifth one at its headquarters in Pimpri.
Along with Pay Points, the PCMC has also started online issue of death and birth certificates. The earlier system of coming to PCMC headquarters, filing an application and waiting for a few days to get the certificates have been done away with. Now just go online, make payment and get your certificate in a jiffy.
Read the rest of the article here.

Property Tax: Pimpri Gets 5 Pay Points To Pay Bills

On Information Technology Day, the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) inaugurated five Pay Points to pay property tax and water bills.
“Later, people will also be able to pay electricity bills and telephone bills at the Pay Points. More such Points will soon come up across the town,” Municipal Commissioner Asheesh Sharma said.
The PCMC is also issuing birth and death certificates online. It also started the Centralised Grievance Redress Cell for receiving complaints about civic inadequacies from citizens.
An initiative of the civic chief, the Pay Points have been styled on the ones in London. C-DAC executive director Hemant Darbari inaugurated the facility. Mayor Yogesh Behl was also present on the occasion.
Read the rest of the article here.

PCMC Tells Irrigation Dept To Mark Floodlines On Development Plan

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation has asked the state irrigation department to mark floodlines of the Pavana, Indrayani and Mula rivers on the city development plan. The corporation would send the revised plan to the state government for approval.
The development plan of Pimpri-Chinchwad was approved by the state government in 1995. However, 18 villages were merged with the PCMC in 1997. The process for approval of the development plan of the merged villages is still going on.
Read the rest of the article here.

PCMC Water Supply To Get Hi-Tech Monitoring System

PUNE: The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation(PCMC) will implement an advanced system to monitor its entire water supply network right from lifting of raw water from the Pavana river to water treatment and its distribution to households through a network of pipelines.
The computerised system using supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system will help the civic body prevent distribution losses and ensure equitable supply in all areas.
Speaking to mediapersons at the Ravet raw water pumping station and the water treatment plant at Nigdi, municipal commissioner Ashish Sharma said the system will go operational in six months. The project will cost Rs 12.23 crore.
Joint city engineer Pravin Tupe said the new system will help the corporation know the exact quantum of raw water drawn from the river as well as water supplied to various areas from reservoirs. “We will be able to prevent any water distribution losses because of leakages and thefts,” he said.
Deputy engineer Pravin Ladkat said the present water supply distribution network has been developed in four phases over the last three decades. The civic body supplies nearly 264 MLD (million litres per day) water to areas under the corporation.
Read the rest of this article here.

Pune Can Make Rain Water Harvesting Work

PUNE: The writing is on the wall. The city’s population is rising and its water needs are growing by the day. So the city must save water through as many ways as possible or faces cuts year after year.
Among the options, rain water harvesting (RWH) stands out as the most workable solution. It has been tried and tested in several metros like Chennai and Bangalore where it has improved groundwater levels significantly and made new buildings in Mumbai explore the option.
While individual efforts in the city to store rain water to recharge ground water levels stand out as classic examples and many citizens back the idea and want the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to make it mandatory for all buildings, the civic body says it is not such a feasible way to save water. Experts find it a question of willingness.
At the top, the state government is keen on rain water harvesting. The water supply and sanitation department had issued a government resolution in 2002 approving RWH as a means of improving water supplies. The GR details various RWH techniques, their costing and availability of funds.
However, civic officials want the push to come from the state government. “The PMC is waiting for the state government’s directives to make a RWH compulsory for new constructions in the city. As of now, it is voluntary for new constructions. Once the state issues directives, the civic body will follow it,” said PMC’s deputy city engineer Rajendra Raut.
Unlike Chennai where the government made it mandatory for all buildings including government offices to have RWH in 2003, the PMC has said the costs and infrastructure made it an unfeasible option here.
Of the 6.5 lakh properties in Pune, only some 600 have implemented RWH. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) grants concessions in property tax to societies that implement one or two of the eco friendly techniques like rainwater harvesting, solar heating techniques or vermi-composting.
A five per cent rebate is granted if any one of the techniques is followed and ten per cent if two techniques are implemented. City engineer Prashant Waghmare said, “We have not made it compulsory. It is not possible to ask old property owners in the city to opt for this technique as they do not have the space or the side margins required to set up the system.
“It is not feasible to make rainwater harvesting compulsory. It involves cost and infrastructure. At many places the geological conditions do not permit such a system, especially where the hard rock forms the base of the land. Setting up such an infrastructure is expensive in such cases,” said Raut.
RWH consultant Jyoti Panse said the techniques was not prohibitive. “Compared to the price we pay for water during crises, the RWH investment is less and a one-time investment.
Until the PMC opts for a metered water system, people will not understand the value of water. Once water is tagged with value, people will understand its worth and the importance of rain water harvesting,” she said.
That there is little initiative from the citizens too is apparent. A total of 8,063 properties were given tax concession in 2009-10. According to the property tax department, 1,185 had implemented solar heating and 2,171 had taken up vermicomposting.
In sharp contrast, just one property had rain water harvesting. In a combination of two techniques, 4,227 properties had both solar and vermicomposting while 579 had rainwater harvesting and vermicomposting. Willingness will be the bottomline for RWH to gain ground, said Panse.

All That You Want To Know About Rain Water Harvesting

Can I harvest rain in my own house?
Yes. Structures to harvest rain require little space. A dried borewell, a row of soak pits or a tank concealed below the ground are all that you need. The open spaces like rooftops and the ground can be used as your catchment (surface to catch rain).
How much will it cost?
Costs vary depending on the area of your roof and other structures that you will use to harvest rain. But it does not require major construction work, so the expenses suit most pockets. Find out for yourself on websites including http://www.rainwaterharvesting.org
Who will build it and how long will it take?
You need someone who understands RWH. It is simple, but it still needs someone who has experience in the principles of rainwater harvesting. Then a skilled mason or a plumber can do the job for you within 10 days.
Who will it benefit?
Your groundwater will get recharged. But as groundwater finds its own way, your neighbourhood will gain too. So for best results, get all your neighbourhood societies to become rainwater harvesters as well.
What will be the quality of water?
You are putting rain water into the ground, which once contaminated, cannot be cleaned easily. Do not let water with sewage or other dirt flow into your recharge pits. This is why the cleanest rainwater is from our rooftops. There are also filters to keep some dirt out.
Does it require maintenance?
Once or twice a year, at very little cost. Remember rainwater harvesting means that you have to get involved. This is about making water all our business and about building our relationship with water, with the environment. Harvest rain and learn the value of each raindrop.
What are types in rainwater harvesting?
Rooftop RWH is the one in which roof-water is collected and directed into a bore well pipe after filtration or can be stored in a storage tank and used for non-potable requirements
Collection of rainwater that falls on the ground is called surface rain water harvesting. This water is polluted as it comes in contact with the ground, so it should be recharged into the ground by means of filtering recharge pits
(Source: Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi)

Why Rainwater Harvesting

  • It is a simple, economical and ecofriendly technique of preserving every drop of water falling on the earth.
  • It is the process of gathering and storing rain drops and preventing runoff, evaporation and seepage for its efficient utilisation and conservation.
  • It is an effective option to gather rain water and store it.
  • Harvesting helps utilise a large quantity of good quality water which otherwise goes waste.

Just A Little Space

Harvesting rain needs little space. A dried bore well, a row of soak pits or a tank concealed below the ground are all that is needed. The open spaces, rooftops and ground can be used as catchment area. Groundwater will be recharged, and as groundwater finds its way around, the neighbourhood will gain too.

Cost Factor

The cost is calculated based on the size of the building and various other considerations. Pune receives a total rainfall of around 700 mm through the year. An apartment block or a bungalow with 1,000 sq ft terrace can save around 60-70,000 litres of water every year.
Hardware costs for installing a rainwater harvesting system is between Rs 10 and Rs 12 per sq ft of terrace area. Harvested rain water can be diverted to existing bore well water or flushing water storage tank.
Approximate cost of this storage tank is Rs five to six per litre of the tank capacity. A building of Rs 24 flats will incur an expense of about Rs 1 lakh for installation of the system.
This article was reprinted from the Times of India.