CONCERN | Half of Guwahati Does Not Receive Sufficient Water Supply
GUWAHATI: Four out of every ten houses in the city do not have a water connection, while half of those who have water connection do not receive sufficient water supply from different government agencies.
This was revealed in a survey conducted by G Plus – Let’s Talk Guwahati – in which, more than 10,000 people from over 100 locations in the city were asked about the various issues they face in the city.
While 40 per cent of the respondents said that they do not have a water connection, 48.3 per cent of the respondents said that they receive insufficient water supply from the various government agencies responsible for supplying water – Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Guwahati Metropolitan Drinking Water and Sewage Board (GMDW & SB) and Public health Engineering Department.
“People don’t trust on the government water supply anymore as they supply very scanty amount of water. At times, we don’t even receive regular water. That’s why, most of the people of the city opt for deep tube wells in their compounds,” said Kailash Phukan a resident of Rupnagar, who has got both government connection and a deep tubewell.
For the close to 12 lakh population of the city, these agencies can only supply 72.4 million litres daily (MLD) from its eight water treatment plants of which, GMC supplies the bulk of 41.25 MLD while GMD & SB provides 7.50 MLD and PHED provides the rest 23.65 MLD.
If the per capita water consumption specified by the Bureau of Indian Standards of 200 litres per person daily were considered, the current supply is only meeting 30 per cent of the total requirement.
Meanwhile, the announcement by the Jal Board of commissioning at least two more water supply projects by 2019 brings hope to the city residents.
“The city has endured a lot to see the water projects become a reality. They had dug up roads and put pipelines and the commissioning dates had been changed numerous times. But, finally, we think that the projects will be completed. Hopefully, the water crisis will be solved by next year,” said Prajukta Patowary, a resident of Uzan Bazar.
Currently, three water projects are under construction – 1) Japan International Cooperation Agency-assisted 191 MLD South Central Guwahati 2) Asian Development Bank-funded 98 MLD South East Guwahati water supply project and 3) The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) 107 MLD South West water supply project – that on completion will supply 396 MLD water to the city.
33 per cent decrease in water supply due to rickety water plants
The city’s water supply has decreased by 33 per cent from the original commissioned 107.85 MLD to 72.4 MLD which is being supplied now, due to the rickety condition of the water treatment plants (WTP).
At least five out of the eight water treatment plants are not supplying water regularly. The oldest among these, GMC’s Satpukhuri WTP that was commissioned in 1930 and later renovated again in 1982, had a capacity of filtering 22.5 MLD that has decreased to 15.75 MLD now.
While the largest, GMC’s Pan Bazar WTP, had a capacity of 45 MLD during its commissioning in 1963, supplies only 22.50 MLD now.
Also, the GMC Kamakhya WTP capacity decreased from 4.50 MLD to 3 MLD, GMDW & SB Satpukhuri WTP capacity decreased from 12.60 MLD to 7.50 MLD, PHED Pandu WTP decreased from 4.50 MLD to 4 MLD.
A source in the GMC said that the decrease in capacity in the WTP is because of the dilapidated condition of the filtering system and intake points.
“The standard filtration of water goes through four stages namely aerated filtration, coliform filtration, filter beds and chlorination. The capacity of filtering depends mostly in the third stage when the water is being passed through different filter beds to separate the impurities from water. With time, the pores of the filter beds shrink due to continued sedimentation resulting in increase of filtering time and decrease of filtered output,” an engineer who wished not to be named, said.
The pump capacity at the intake points also decreases which reduce the quantity of supply water.
The sedimentation at filters not only hampers the water supply, but also leads to supply of impure water when parts of the sediment get dissolved to the supplied water.
Recently, there were allegations that turbid water was supplied in some areas of Islampur, Lalmati and Gandhi Basti.
Local residents of the area took out a protest with bottles of contaminated water in hand and blamed the GMC for their plight.
While demanding to their daily essential, the locals blocked the Islampur-Gandhi Basti road demanding pure drinking water.
The residents have been receiving the unhealthy water for a while and are up in arms against the GMC and the local MLA.
The people of the area receive water from the GMC Pan Bazar WTP.
Assam among last four in water resource management index: NITI Ayog
Assam’s recent ranking of 21st position among the total 24 states in a study conducted by the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog has brought glares on the state government.
While Gujarat topped the list followed by Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, Assam is among the last four, followed by Nagaland, Uttarakhand and Meghalaya.
The Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) is based on various water resource management parameters involving ground, surface and rain water. The samples were divided based on non-Himalayan states and Himalayan states. Assam, along with Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Uttarakhand were the Himalayan states.
Assam received only 31 CWMI points. The NITI study report stated that the states which achieved below 50 points in the water management index can be termed as “alarming”.
As per the NITI Aayog study, the performance of Assam has alarmingly declined by 3.06 points from the financial year 2015-16 to 2016-17. On the other hand, Tripura and Sikkim have improved their performance considerably in the last two years, mentioned the report.
The water index in Assam is also very alarming in terms of urban water management as it is second last before Goa in the list.