Several locations in Guwahati reeling under water scarcity
GUWAHATI: Different areas of Guwahati have been facing water crisis for the past several months. The situation has become worse over the past few years owing to groundwater depletion.
Some of the major areas affected by water scarcity include RG Baruah Road commonly known as the Zoo Road, Christian Basti area, Hatigaon, Kahilipara and Lakhtokia among others.
Many apartment complexes have become dependent on water tankers for their everyday consumption in the wake of perennial water problems for the past several years now.
Shambhavi Mukherjee, a resident of Hatigaon, said that her apartment complex was dependent on groundwater via a well bore for the past 12 years since the apartment was constructed.
“But the level of water started declining slowly over the years and now we have almost run out of water for the 20 flats in the apartment building,” she informed adding that the residents of the building complex are finding it very difficult to arrange for water and have to now buy water from private suppliers since the past few months.
Further, the residents of Christian Basti also complained of heavy water bills as a result of depleting ground water. A resident of Christian Basti said that locals living higher on the hills still use water from the natural waterfalls to meet their daily water needs.
According to locals, housing complexes situated on the Zoo Road charge around Rs 5,000 per month towards maintenance including the water bill. However, without the water bill the maintenance cost ranges anywhere between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000.
Further, more buildings and apartment complexes are being constructed in the area, raising concern about the sustainability of these apartments and the residents’ potable water needs.
As per a report of the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) published in 2013, the groundwater resources in greater Kamrup – Kamrup (Metro) and Kamrup (Rural) districts - are still under the “Safe” category.
The annual dynamic groundwater resources as in 2009 are estimated to be 1,847.29 million cubic metres while the net annual ground water consumption is 715.97 million cubic metres of which, 43 per cent is renewed every year. But when the rise in water consumption concentrated in the urban areas is considered, the scenario seems worrisome, said an expert.
According to another CGWB report, the total “annual replenishable ground water resource” in Assam, as on March 2013, was 32.11 billion cubic meters (bcm). Out of this, the natural discharge during non-monsoon season stood at 3.21 bcm making the net annual ground water availability at 28.90 bcm. Further, the projected demand for domestic and industrial uses up to 2015 was 0.84 bcm.
Delayed water supply projects add to woes
Several major water supply projects for Guwahati are yet to see the light of the day, adding to the water woes of the city residents.
Recently, chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed the progress works and projects under the Guwahati Development Department (GDD) and directed officials to commission the first phase of JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission) West Guwahati Water Supply Project by September this year.
Earlier the officials had announced that the JNNURM water supply project would be partially commissioned by March 2019. However, the authorities missed the deadline.
After complete commissioning of the JNNURM project under which the entire south west Guwahati was expected to get water, the area is expected to receive 107 million litres of water daily.
On the other hand, the Japan International Cooperation Agency-assisted (JICA) water supply project which was supposed to be partially commissioned by the end of January has also been delayed.
JICA is assisting a water supply project in the northern Guwahati region as well as in south central Guwahati. The project was initiated to ensure uninterrupted 24X7 water supply to the respective regions of the city. Officials said that the entire project is expected to be to be completed approximately by 2020.
G Plus had previously reported that around 2,000 houses would be benefitted by the first phase of the project and would receive 24X7 water supply. Officials had earlier informed that the project was slated to begin by the end of January, which again got deferred.
Houses around the Pan Bazar and Fancy Bazar areas of the city were to be benefitted by the first phase commissioning.
The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs 1,450 crores. Out of this, around Rs 1,300 crores is coming as a loan from JICA and the rest from the state government.
On the other hand, a city-based builder said that the government should think of building some infrastructure for water related projects.
“The city needs to be properly planned and developed by the authorities so that the increasing number of housing complexes can be sustained in a proper manner,” he said.