Faulty meters at Khadakwasla dam: Water usage based on faith rather than science

Even as large parts of the state grapple with a drought-like situation, the management, or the lack of it, of water resources by the administration continues to be a concern. For instance, while by an estimate based on ‘pumping hours’, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is lifting about 11.25 Million Liters a Day (MLD) of water from Khadakwasala Dam to cater to the needs of 35 lakh citizens, no one knows the exact figure. That’s because the meters established for calculating this have been producing erratic readings whenever water bubbles pass through them, rendering them ineffectual.

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Water wars between PMC and the irrigation department are customary. While the civic body wants 16 MLD of water, the latter has blatantly rejected this. In such a situation, when the meters are non-functional, the actual ‘water transaction’ between the two government bodies is based on mutual understanding.

“PMC had installed two water measuring meters on the lifting pumps at Khadakwasala dam about 10 years ago. There is a need to maintain and repair them,” said Nandkishor Jagtap, executive engineer, water supply, Swargate Division.

He added, “We are not depending on these meters as they give erratic readings when water bubbles pass through them. This is the busiest line and the supply does not halt for even an hour. So, we measure the water lifting pumping hours and then submit the report to the irrigation officials. This has been going for many days.”

On the other hand, BB Lohar, executive engineer, irrigation department, Khadakwasala dam, said, “There is a problem with the meters. Water is lifted from the dam at four different points by PMC. The corporation had installed its own metering system. If it fails, we get the information from the water distribution readings. This daily information is always kept as an official record with us.”

Tech talk
To check the ‘unaccounted’ water, PMC is tying up with Swiss company Endress +Hauser India Pvt Ltd to install hi-tech water meters at 30 different supply-distribution spots. PMC will be establishing over 900 such meters by spending Rs 90 crore in the future. Sajiv Nath, MD, Endress+Hauser India, said, “PMC is the first municipal body using this technology and it will be able to trace 25 per cent ‘unaccounted’ water in the supply system. These meters also measure turbidity, residual chlorine and pH level of water.” 

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