GUWAHATI: People in Assam are gravely concerned about the scarcity of potable water with the bed of the Brahmaputra making an appearance quite ahead of time.
Some of the beaches that are glaringly visible are near Kharguli in Guwahati. Even as the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) says it can hammer out a solution, nothing tangible has come out of it thus far.
Stripes of beaches separated with shallow streams have already made their appearance on the bed of the Brahmaputra. Is it ominous? Potable water is unavailable in many localities in Guwahati.
The water supply plants of the GMC are ageing, reducing their capacity drastically. While the plant at Panbazar commissioned in 1963 supplies only 25 MLD of water against its capacity of 45 MLD, the plant at Satpukhuri supplies 15 MLD against the capacity of 22.50 MLD, the one at Kamahya supplies 3 MLD against the capacity of 4.50 MLD, and the eight functioning deep tube wells supply 1.50 MLD against the capacity of 4.50 MLD. In all, the plants under the civic body supply 44.50 MLD against their cumulative capacity of 74 MLD.
A top GMC official said: “The water level of the Brahmaputra goes up and down. We’ve answers for both the problems. We tackle such problems just by removing our pump barrages upstream or downstream. When there’s fall in the water level, we need to move the pump barrage upstream, and when the water level goes up, we need to remove it downstream.”
Most of the pipes have been perforated, leading to leakage. The plants supply water much less than their usual capacities.
On this count, the top GMC official said: “The four ageing GMC water supply plants need immediate renovation. The government has allocated Rs 9 crore for the purpose. We’ve started tendering for pumps and other materials. We need 25-30 more pumps. Within two months, we can bring the ailing water supply system back on track with full capacity. We’ve already plugged most of the holes in the ageing pipes.”
On renovation and installation of deep tube wells in the city, the official said: “The process of tendering is at the final stage. We’re going to install deep tube well schemes (DTWS) one each at TR Phukan Road at Bharalumukh, Santipur, Harijan Colony at Fatasil, Kalapahar and Lalganesh.”
The crux of the problem lies here: that the four big water supply projects – ADB-funded South East Guwahati Water Supply Project, JNNURM-funded South West Guwahati Water Supply Project, JICA-funded North Guwahati Water Supply Project, and the JICA-funded South Central Guwahati Water Supply Project – have been running behind schedule.