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Potable Water Crisis Hits Guwahati

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* Only 25% water demand met in city

Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 18: When and which agency will fulfill the demand of water in Guwahati that has a population of around 12 lakh needing 200 MLD (millions of litre per day) water? At present government agencies can cater to around 25 per cent of water demand in the city (50.25 MLD). This water caters to the need of only three lakh consumers in the city.

An investigation carried out by this reporter unfolds the miserable state of supply of potable water in the city, now being projected as the Gate Way to South East Asian nations. At present, Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) has three water supply treatment plants, one each at Panbazar, Satpukhuri and Kamakhya. Against its capacity of supplying 45 MLD of water the water treatment plant at Panbazar supplies only 22.50 MLD. The condition of the plant at Satpukhuri is no better. It supplies only 15.75 MLD against the capacity of 22.50 MLD. The plant at Kamakhya supplies only 3 MLD against the capacity of 4.50 MLD. Apart from these three water treatment plants, the GMC has eight functioning deep tube wells that together supply 1.50 MLD against their total capacity of 2 MLD. The total supply capacity of GMC plants, including deep tube wells, is 74 MLD. However, they can supply just 42.75 MLD.

Apart from the GMC, the GMDW & SB (Guwahati Metropolitan Drinking Water & Sewerage Board) is also supplying 7.50 MLD water against its capacity of 12 MLD.

The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) also runs four water supply projects that supply water to their full capacity of over 23 MLD. However, the water being supplied by the PHED is not going to the general public as the department is busy with catering to the water demands of government offices, Gauhati University, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Assam Agriculture University, Assam Engineering College, National Games Village, State Zoo-cum-Botanical Garden, Administrative Staff College, Janata Bhawan etc.

One of the reasons behind the below par supply of water by the three GMC plants is that their old machines have to be repaired frequently. While the Satpukhuri plant was set up in 1930, the one at Panbazar was set up in 1963. The plant at Kamakhya was set up in 1992. The eight old deep tube wells also go out of order frequently.

Of late, Dispur has released Rs 9 crore for the repair of the three GMC water supply plants. Renovation work has started at the plant at Kamakhya.
In order to provide affordable, reliable, safe and continuous (24×7) supply of potable water to the Guwahati Metropolitan Area, the Government of Assam had taken up four major water supply projects, with funding from Government of India (JNNURM) for the South West region, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for the North and South Central regions and ADB for the South East region. Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is implementing these projects, but nobody, including GMDA, knows when these four projects will be completed. The Guwahati Jal Board will be responsible for operation and maintenance of these facilities upon their completion.