GUWAHATI, March 13 - The present water supply projects in Guwahati cater to the need of only 29 per cent of the city�s population and the supplied water too is inadequate, a report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India for the year ended March 31, 2016 has observed.
Presently, there are three agencies which provide water in the city � Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and Jal Board. There are seven mega water supply schemes and 81 piped water supply schemes (two ongoing schemes) based on deep tubewells maintained by these agencies.
The CAG report noted that of the eighty-six water supply schemes, 63 piped water supply schemes (PWSS) are being implemented by two PHE divisions and one by Jal Board. Against the target of 33,642 households, only 15,337 (46 per cent) could be covered by water connections. �Reasons for shortfall in achievements were neither on record nor could be stated by the agencies concerned,� the CAG report stated.
Though on paper all the 86 completed water schemes are functioning, during joint verification by the audit team and representatives from the agencies, it was found that the Borgosthal-Giripath PWSS (Rs 42.89 lakh), Bhagaduttapur PWSS (Rs 22 lakh) and Lalganesh Banikpara PWSS (Rs 15.43 lakh) are defunct since September, 2015 due to technical defects and low levels of ground water.
The audit team also observed that in ten PWSSs (GMC 9 and PHED 1) raw water from deep tubewell is being supplied directly to the consumers through pipelines without any treatment or purification by the agencies. Consumers stated that the water contains heavy iron and therefore is not fit for drinking. The water quality tests conducted by laboratories also reflected presence of iron, fluoride and turbidity in the supplied water.
�Scrutiny of water quality test reports of the functional schemes revealed that water having iron (32 schemes), fluoride (seven schemes) and turbidity (14 schemes) contents beyond permissible limits was being supplied by PHED as well as GMC to the consumers,� the CAG report pointed out, adding that no remedial action was taken by the agencies.
The Superintendent Engineer (water works) of GMC told the audit team that the treatment facilities along with reservoirs were not constructed due to fund constraints and non-availability of space.
Moreover, of the 69 functional PWSS, only 34 are supplying sufficient water. In the remaining 35, quantity of water supplied is irregular and not sufficient to meet the requirements of the consumers.
�In reply, the Executive Engineer (PHE), Guwahati Division II, stated that the irregular and insufficient supply of water was due to poor maintenance by the users� committees. It was also stated that all the schemes were handed over to the users� committees after completion and that the PHE department was not liable for running and maintenance of the schemes. It was, however, observed that in other cases of completed and handed over schemes in the State, the department was incurring the maintenance expenditure,� it said.