The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pipe breach leaves taps dry
- Five-ft segment of worn-out Tallah waterline snaps under pressure

More than a lakh households and 20,000 commercial establishments in north, central and south Calcutta had to go without water after 10 am on Wednesday. The civic water supply department was forced to cut off supply soon after a portion of the underground water mains, close to Raja Dinendra Street, snapped.

Almost the entire stretch between Shyambazar and Tollygunge faced a water famine. “Supply will resume from Thursday morning,” said chief engineer (water supply) Dibyendu Roychaudhury.

Since the supply was cut off without prior notice by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), residents of Shyambazar, Sealdah, Ballygunge, Bhowanipore and Gariahat faced a critical shortage of potable water.

The 48-inch-diameter water line was the main artery of city supply from Tallah. Because of the breach, the city was denied a supply of 200 million gallons of filtered surface water on Wednesday.

According to mayor Subrata Mukherjee, the worn-out joint in the pipe could not withstand the heavy pressure and about a five-foot segment of the pipe blew out.

To carry out repairs, civic engineers had to block all the south-bound supply lines from the Tallah pumping station. As a result, the city area to the south of Tallah was deprived of potable water.

However, filtered water supply from Tallah to Cossipore and Salt Lake remained unaffected.

The CMC supplied more filtered water to Salt Lake and South Dum Dum municipality as Tallah suddenly had surplus water supply from Palta.

People living in the Behala and Garden Reach areas did not suffer because of filtered water supplied from the Garden Reach waterworks. The Tallah-Palta network produces 240 million gallons of filtered water daily. There are over 1.2 lakh household connections.

According to member mayor-in-council (water supply) Sovan Chatterjee, most of the underground water mains in the city are more than 40 years old and they ought to have been replaced at least 25 years ago. However, due to a paucity of funds and the stress on the production of filtered water, the pipes could not be changed, he said.

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