P’kula paradox — supply exceeds demand, residents still parched

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service
Panchkula, May 21

In the tricity, it is only Panchkula where supply of water outstrips its demand.

With 3 MGD of additional water coming from the Kajauli waterworks, the total supply in the city is 52 MGD even as it requires only 43.5 MGD.

But the situation on the ground doesn’t reflect this bounty. Many residents are already complaining of low water pressure.

Sunil Sharma, a resident of Sector 21, rued, “Every year, we hear tall claims that there will be no water shortage during summers. But the pressure of water supply dips at the onset of summers.”

This year, there could be shortage of water supply in some sectors as a pipeline coming from Kaushalya Dam got damaged last monsoon. The pipeline was damaged as the road on the Zirakpur-Pinjore national highway, near the Amravati Enclave, caved in due to a damage to the bandh of Kaushalya river. Another reason is that Kaushalya Dam, which contributes 11 MGD to this supply, dries up during summers, leaving the city with 38 MGD and a shortfall of 5.5 MGD.

The Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP), which is currently supplying 32 MGD water a day to Panchkula, insists that the township is getting enough water.

“The peak demand in the city is 67.45 cusecs while our water supply to Panchkula is about 76 cusecs from 193 tubewells, Bhakra Line and Kaushalya dam. We have dug up more tubewells to make up for any shortfall,” said a senior official.

The summer has already knocked in and water supplied in the city does not reach the second or third floors of houses in various sectors. Sectors 23 to 31 are the worst hit. As the city population is adding up, the demand for water is also growing rapidly. In the last six years alone, it has increased by over 60 per cent from 40 cusecs in 2012 to 70 to 55 cusecs this year.

Power cuts hit supply

Residents also blame power outages for water shortage. Senior Citizens Welfare Association president SK Nayyar, said, “The water problem gets more severe due to frequent cuts in power supply to tubewell lines.”

HSVP officials attributed these cuts to the Electricity Department carrying out repairs. “This results in long-duration power cuts. In the absence of electricity, water supply also gets hit,” admitted an official.

Water wastage

  • Officials claim that a minuscule 5 per cent of water (4 cusecs) supply gets leaked due to old and rusty pipes though it is said that the wastage is much more.
  • An official said residents also add to water wastage, especially during summers, by washing cars and watering of lawns. To check this irresponsible behaviour, the MC has decided to impose a ban on watering of lawns and washing of cars and courtyards during morning hours — 5.30 am to 8.30 am. Violators will be fined Rs 2,000.

Kaushalya Dam pipeline damaged

  • The root cause of Panchkula’s water shortage lies in its north. Kaushalya Dam was built at a cost of Rs 217 crore to alleviate the water woes of this planned city, but it goes dry every summer. This year, the city could not get any supply from Kaushalya river as the pipeline had been damaged bringing to a naught the 18 cusecs of water it supplied.
  • “It is an annual affair. The water level dips every summer and the situation improves after rains,” said NK Payal, Executive Engineer, HSVP.
  • Payal said, “Even if supply from Kaushalya Dam gets exhausted, we have enough tubewells in the city to meet the rising demand. We will run them for longer duration to ensure that residents don’t suffer. Ten more tubewells will be set up by the end of this year taking their number to 200, supplying water to sectors on both sides of Ghaggar. We are also building an additional pipeline from Kaushalya Dam.”
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