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Monday, August 23, 2010

Edition 28: Drop that counts more

Year and year again, Pune is witnessing the same situation. First, the rains create havoc before onset of monsoon, then two main months of monsoon season go dry, the administration wakes up to water problem and announces a water supply cut, later the water came down to soak city and dams and all the dust is settled down to an unfathomable depth. The scene in the month of July this year was no different from the one last year. The rains in Pune repeated last year’s feat as it poured heavily for whole of Sunday. A good rainfall for continuous three days has ensured 0.58 TMC increase in water storage in major dams. However, still more rains are needed to completely avert the water supply cut by Pune Municipal Corporation. In 2009, the pre-monsoon rains promised a good monsoon season. However, whole of June passed without any rains. Even July registered no rains at all. Then, in view of the impending water scarcity, the administration embarked on the water cut from third week of July. Thereafter, at about same date, from July 23-34, the rains started to soak the city. This year also, two months of monsoon season were absolutely dry leading to the water scarcity. Last week, PMC decided to implement a water cut and arrived at water supply on alternate day. Thereafter, since the cut came into effect, city is blessed by the incessant rains.

According to Indian Meteorology Department, the city witnessed 48 mm of rains within 24 hours ending at 6:30 AM today. It means 12 mm rainfall was noted overnight. The rains have ensured that the water storage in dams providing water to Pune register an increase. According to Irrigation department, till July 23, the dams had 3 TMC of water while as on July 25 evening, it was 4.58 TMC. This water storage will be enough for 3 months of city's requirements and with cut in place, it can last for 6 months. The rains on Sunday increased the storage by 0.58 TMC. To cancel the water, the dams should have at least 10 TMC of water storage. On Sunday, 78 mm rainfall was recorded in Varasgaon dam catchment area. Khadakwasla recorded 33 mm and Temghar recorded 90 mm. The water storage in these dams amounts to 15% of their capacity. After good pre-monsoon and monsoon showers, the rain was absent in Pune region. Dams providing water to Pune have minimal stock of water which is not going to fill the needs of the city. Hence, a meeting of irrigation department officials and PMC officials took place a week ago. The decision of water cut was taken in the meeting. Khadakwasla dam provides water to Pune directly while it gets water from Panshet and Warasgaon. Both the latter have exhausted the live storage. Cumulative water storage in Panshet and Khadakwasla is 1.30 TMC (Thousand Million Cubic Feet) water which can last only 20 days. The city uses 1,093 million litre water per day. The irrigation department had sent a letter in this regard recently. According to irrigation department, the water in the dams can only last for about a month going by the current supply. Therefore, PMC was requested to redraw the plan of water supply in view of scarcity. However, the decision makes seem not to heed the writing on the wall. Ajit Pawar, Minister for Water Resources and guardian minister of Pune district has decided that the Puneites will get water one time each day. This goes against the decision by PMC to implement plan to supply water on alternate day.

It is true that there were complaints about the irregular and flawed supply since the water cut came into force. Still, PMC had appealed to people to help in this moment of crisis. According to officials, the irrigation department has been given instruction to go for the daily water supply regime.

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