GUWAHATI, July 22 � Their old designs, together with the very old distribution network, erratic power supply and the pressures to give new water supply connections, have joined together to cause the predicaments to the Guwahati water supply schemes of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) and the resultant drinking water-related woes of the Guwahatians. This is how the sources in the GMC sum-up the water supply-related problems of the city.
The design-related problems of the GMC water supply schemes occurred due to the fact that these schemes were planned in the early 1960s, about 50 years back. These schemes were to meet the demand of a limited number of dwellers of the then Guwahati, which was a small and quiet town. The schemes were designed for 30 years.
The Satpukhuri water supply scheme of the GMC was initially installed in 1930. In 1980, it was redesigned and renovated to quench the thirst of around one lakh people at the most, while the Panbazar water supply scheme of the civic body, installed in the 1960s, was designed to quench the thirst of around two lakh people and its Kamakhya water supply scheme, installed in 1992, was designed to quench the thirst of around 30,000 people.
But at present, each of the Satpukhuri and Panbazar schemes is running at 60 per cent of their installed capacity, and the Kamakhya scheme is running at 55 per cent of its installed capacity.
The Panbazar scheme has an installed capacity of 45 million litres per day. The plant has now a connected load of 18,000, while the Satpukhuri scheme has an installed capacity of 22.5 million litres per day with the connected load of around 8,000 and the Kamakhya scheme has an installed capacity of 4.5 million litres per day with a connected load of 1,000.
Considering the problems occurring in its water supply schemes, the GMC has also installed nine deep tube wells of various capacities at various locations.
The GMC water supply schemes and the deep tube wells together have an installed capacity of 78 million litres per day and with this installed capacity they are designed to meet the drinking water need of around 5.5 lakh people. But the present total capacity of these schemes and deep tube wells is 44 million litres per day and together they can cater to the drinking water need of 3.3 lakh people.
The GMC is hopeful that if the Government provides a grant of around Rs 300 crore for augmentation of the existing schemes, this gap could be made up within the period of 30 months�that is, two and half� a �year�s time, considering the parallel running of the existing systems.
With the existing condition, the GMC is handicapped to improve the water supply scenario. For, most of the main distribution pipelines have now been either in the midst of the roads or inside the drains, besides being going around five to seven feet below the surface, on an average. There is no alternative to lay new water distribution main lines to provide relief to the people already connected with the existing water supply schemes of the civic body.
It needs mention here that, besides the GMC, the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and the Assam Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Board (AUWS&SB) also supply water in the city.
The PHED with its three water treatment plants�one at Panbazar and two at Jalukbari � together having an installed capacity of 18.30 million litres per day, supplies water to the State Government complexes at State Zoo, Dispur Capital Complex, Veterinary College and Agriculture Department complexes, Technical Education Directorate and the Special Branch office at Kahilipara, Sarusajai Stadium and National Games Village, Gauhati University, Engineering College, Ayurvedic College etc complexes.
The AUWS&SB has at present 7,800 connections with its scheme having a capacity of 7.5 million litres per day. With the completion of the implementation of the augmentation of its existing scheme, it is targeting to cover around one lakh people by its water supply network in the city by December next. Even though the PHED has its captive power generation facilities to overcome the inconveniences caused by the Assam Power Distribution Company�s load shedding, the AUWS&SB is facing the complicacies caused by one hour load shedding on an average every day at present.