French agency to give Rs 15 cr to UT over 5 yrs to bring behavioural changes in people to save water

In Chandigarh, 254 litres of water is available per person per day– 119 litres more than the conventional norm. The city wastes 35 per cent of its drinking water every year due to leakage

Under the round-the-clock water supply project, the French Development Agency will provide a whopping Rs 15 crore to the UT civic body, over a period of five years, to bring about behavioural change among people to save water.

Of this, Rs 1.62 crore have already been sought by the UT Municipal Corporation, which will also seek expert consultancy to create awareness. In the general house meeting held last week, Municipal Commissioner Anindita Mitra said that these funds will be spent to create awareness regarding the need to save water.

In Chandigarh, per person usage of water exceeds the national norm– as per which only 135 litres of water is required per person per day. In the UT, 254 litres of water is available per person per day– 119 litres more than the norm.

Reports state that Chandigarh wastes 35 per cent of its drinking water every year due to leakage.
The Central Ground Water Authority and BIS Code say that water requirement for domestic use is 150 to 200 litres per head per day (lphd) for communities above 10 lakh of population (translates to 22.5 to 30 KL per household per month). Meanwhile, in Chandigarh, the average water consumption is around 40 KL per household per month– higher than the actual need. One of the prime reasons for higher water consumption in the city is higher water leakage losses, unmetered connections and use of potable water for irrigation of green covers.

The city has more than 2.5 lakh households, but the number of water consumers are just two-third, at 1.8 lakh connections. The non-revenue water losses for the city are more than 25 per cent.

Thus, most city residents point out that 24×7 water supply is not the need of the hour in Chandigarh, as the city already consumes double the national norm per person. Earlier, activist RK Garg even filed a representation with the Prime Minister’s Office, stating that city doesn’t require 24*7 water.

He had said that the repayment of loan and interest thereon will increase the burden on Municipal Corporation Chandigarh, which is already facing financial crunch and will ultimately burden the residents to recover from the financial crisis.

“It is beyond comprehension as to why the Chandigarh Administration is resorting to taking a loan from a foreign agency for its basic civic amenities and why has the central government agreed to enter into such avoidable loan. The loan amount is not going to increase the availability of water at the source any way, neither it is meant for creating any extra source of water anywhere for Chandigarh residents. Had this loan or any other expertise been taken to augment the supply of water from Bhakra Beas Water Reservoir, stop the leakage of water or for better quality of drinking water, then it could be a welcome step being a long-term proposition,” Garg had said.

However, the officials of Chandigarh Smart City Limited have been advocating the project, and had earlier stated that “round-the-clock water supply will revolutionise services to the poor”.
The water source is common for Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.

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