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Checks on receding waterline

Alarmed at the receding ground-water level, town planners are drawing up schemes to stem the water crisis, which they fear may turn acute in a few years.

The schemes include building reservoirs and water recycling plants in south Calcutta and Salt Lake. “With the ground-water level dropping sharply, we plan to cover as much area as possible with surface water,” said G.P. Sen, chief engineer, water supply, of the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) on Friday.

Several reservoirs are coming up in south Calcutta, which will supply water from the Garden Reach treatment plant. A recycling plant is being constructed at the Hiland Park housing estate, in Bagha Jatin, while talks are on with a US consultant firm to build a recycling plant in Salt Lake. Adding to these, the authorities are also considering water-recycling plants in Salt Lake and other housing projects that will be coming up by 2004.

“Calcutta Metropolitan Group (CMG), the implementing agency of the Hiland Park housing complex, is constructing the water-recycling plant for the complex,” said Sudhangshu Sil, member of the CMDA board.

Officials of CMG, the joint-venture company of the CMDA and United Credit Belani Group, said the recycling plant will be operational by the year-end. “The project cost, including a lagoon, a polishing filter and the distribution system, will be Rs 1 crore,” said Sumit Dabriwala, CMG managing director.

A large volume of domestic waste water in Hiland Park and the CMDA’s Bagha Jatin housing complex will be discharged into a new aerated lagoon. Primary treatment of the waste water will be conducted in the lagoon and then the water will pass through the polishing filter. “The recycled water will be used for two purposes — water-based chillers for the air-conditioning of the retail mall and for watering landscapes and other waterbodies on our site,” Dabriwala said.

“This project, when implemented, will reduce ground-water withdrawal. This is also one of our steps to avoid environmental pollution,” he added.

Senior CMDA officials feel that if the experiment is successful, it can be implemented in CMDA’s housing projects, too. “By 2004, more than 1,000 apartments are coming up in East Calcutta Township, Baishnabghata, Bagha Jatin and other CMDA projects. To meet the increased demand, we will consider water-recycling projects if they are cost-effective,” a senior official said.

In Salt Lake, too, the authorities are planning to set up water-recycling plants. Dilip Gupta, chairman of the Salt Lake municipality, said the 17 water tanks in Salt Lake can meet the demand of the township for a short period of time. “Now, 90 million gallons are required a day. But as the population increases, we will need additional water,” Gupta said. “But too much use of ground water will pose a danger for the township. So, we need projects like water recycling for additional supply,” he added.

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