Water meter work, choked ferrules cause shortage

With the mercury rising over the past couple of weeks, parts of Salt Lake have been facing a water shortage

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 21.04.19, 4:49 PM
  • Updated 21.04.19, 4:49 PM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Work underway at Nazrul Park in Central Park for the installation of a water meter on the New Town treatment plant pipeline. Sudeshna Banerjee

Tapati Majumdar, a housewife from Duttabad, landed at the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation on Wednesday afternoon with a petition to solve the water crisis at her home. “The supply has reduced to a trickle,” she pleaded with officials of the water supply department. And she is one of many residents with the problem.

With the mercury rising over the past couple of weeks, parts of Salt Lake have been facing a water shortage. Civic officials cite two reasons for the dip in supply.

“Repair work on leaking pipelines in Tallah had caused the supply to be switched off for a day a fortnight ago. Whenever supply resumes after a shutdown, iron deposits in the pipelines get mixed with the water and cause the lines to get clogged,” explained Swapan Maitra, executive engineer, PWD and PHE, of the corporation. Such problems are more prevalent in Salt Lake where unfiltered underground water, high in iron content, gets mixed with the filtered water supply.

The other reason is the stoppage of supply from the New Town water treatment plant. “They started sending us water about three to four months back. We used to draw it for an hour to an hour and half and stored it in a small underground reservoir we have near Tank 13.” The corporation cannot draw the full volume of what has been promised from the plant as storage space is not ready yet.

But even this volume is not being drawn now as the supply has been stopped to install a water meter. The work is underway at Nazrul Park in Central Park, opposite Indira Bhavan. A concrete chamber is being built there to allow access to the underground pipe of 1,200m diameter.

Once the meter is in place, the areas to benefit immediately will be Duttabad and Purbachal. “KMDA has laid a pipeline two months back connecting Tank 13 to these areas. Once the supply starts, Duttabad, which is now fully dependent on underground water, will start getting filtered supply,” he added. The submersible pumps being used to draw underground water for Purbachal will then be stopped.

Complaints about water shortage have come from BD, AJ and BJ Blocks. “We are cleaning ferrules and asking house owners to get their internal ferrules cleaned as well. Many have not done so in the last couple of years,” an official said.

AB and AC blocks too faced disruption of supply because of a breakdown of a booster pumping station there. That has been repaired.

Parts of Karunamoyee Housing Estate too are suffering. Indira Banerjee, a resident of F Block, dreads the onset of summer. “Not that we get adequate water in winter either but summers worse,” says the 75-year-old, who has been filling up four to five buckets and several more bottles with water as reserve every day.

“Our building has eight flats but many here have passed away so there are only seven residents. We are managing somehow but the day anyone has a guest it’s a major loss of face. Imagine how embarrassing it is to offer my son-in-law a bottle to wash his hand after he finishes his meal!”

Residents got the building’s ferrule cleaned last week but the flow has improved only marginally. “If the supply is inadequate cleaning the ferrule will not help much,” said a civic official.

Making hay

Affected residents are forced to depend on water tankers. This summer has been particularly busy, said Sanjay Poddar, an office-bearer of Salt Lake Sanskritik Sansad. “We have been flooded with calls to deliver water all over the township. Our trucks make at least 15 trips on average every day,” he said. Each of the organisation’s tankers can carry 6,000 litres. Residents have to shell out Rs 900 for a tanker.

The corporation has 15 water tankers and the charges vary between Rs 300 and Rs 1,000 depending on the capacity.