Holi joy rings out with less water wastage

By and large, citizens who stayed away from wasting water while celebrating Holi with `gulal’ on Thursday said it still felt like a festival of colours and a sense of achievement ran through societies that had put up notices urging conservation.

Yet, the festive mood prevailed with families, friends and communities.

“I enjoyed myself as I got together with my office acquaintances and other friends. We realized that Holi celebrations need not be loud or with water,“ Megh Gholap from Sadashiv Peth said.

He attributed the success to the elders of their area who were largely instrumental in deterring people from using water and that Holi, a huge community festival, was just for an hour this year.

“In the Peth areas, which is known for Holi celebrations right from 8am to 6pm, there was little use of water.People were conscious about the scarcity and the message that people in the state are struggling for every drop was not off-mark,“ Gholap added.

This consciousness was sustained across the city .Cheerful youngsters covered with gulal moved on two wheelers across the city. Many housing societies celebrated Holi with `thandai’ and music, but refrained from getting wet or emptying their water tanks.

“It was a conscious deci sion and an understanding among all residents that water should not be used. Mostly, children played Holi this year, while the elders stayed away ,“ Kothrud resident Shashank Tamhane said. Some societies put out notices asking people not to use any water on Thursday .Members of Rohan Nilay in Aundh collectively adhered to the collector’s appeal.

Vaishali Patkar, president of the Aundh Vikas Mandal, said Rohan Nilay society and a few others in Aundh used gulal. The mandal conducted a `Jal Dindi’ on Wednesday for awareness.

“The mandal’s members, mayor Prashant Jagtap, corporator Ranjana Murkute, Aundh Lions Club, Aundh Rotary Club and four schools marched from Vidyanchal School to Parihar Chowk and from Sarjaa to Seasons to raise awareness about water conservation,“ said Patkar.

But there were excep tions. “In spite of warnings in the public domain about the poor water storage in dams, I saw large amounts of water being wasted since morning in my society . We have to rely on water tankers for our daily needs, but people still chose to waste water for Holi,“ a resident of a society in Wakad, who did not want to be named, said.

Source : TOI



EVERY DROP COUNTS – Tunnel vision shuts out hard calls on water cuts

The water situation is turning grimmer, but there is no talk of additional cuts to de al with a crisis if the monsoon is delayed yet again, this year.

Water stocks in the dams reservoirs will suffice till July 15, but another bad monsoon year will mean serious trouble for the city . Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) will have to increase cuts and save water in the dams for any contingen cy, but fearing a backlash, elec ted representatives are not in favour of additional cuts.

District collector Saurabh Rao last week categorically sa id four dams providing water to the city have a storage of 7.5 TMC and even if the city conti nues with the current alterna te day water supply , the quota will suffice till July 15. But neither the collector nor the municipal corporation can answer what will happen if the monsoon is delayed and if Pune city has to share its water with rural areas already ree ling under water scarcity .

Mayor Prashant Jagtap has stuck to his statement that the city’s water quota will take care of drinking needs till Au gust 15. “The collector must ha ve some other assumptions and calculations. The PMC is in regular touch with the irri gation department,“ he said.

When asked if the civic bo dy will impose more water cuts anticipating that the city’s wa ter quota will have to be shared with other parts, Jagtap said “We are not adamant that we will not share our water. Deci sions will be taken when the si tuation arises. But as of now we don’t plan any additional water cuts.“ He appeared con fident that the monsoon will arrive on time and make up for the lost years.

Experts have picked flaws in the PMC’s stand. Parineeta Dandekar of South Asia Net work on Dams, River and Peo ple said the city was taking the water crisis casually . “We can’t depend on a good monsoon to solve it -it is bad planning There will be a situation where the city will have to release wa ter for towns and villages downstream. The city is bound to share its water with them because all these years they ha ve received sewage released untreated into the river.“

Dandekar added that no po licy has evolved and water dis course continues to revolve around dam and water supply “Despite three droughts in the last four years, nobody is tal king about efficiency and plug ging of leakages. Why not launch a pilot project to reuse treated water for some purpo se?“ Col S G Dalvi (retd.), dis trict manager of Climate Rea lity Project, said, “This water crisis is alarming. Compared to the levels in February 2015, the reservoirs holding is down to just 30%. We have four months till the monsoon arrives. With a temperature increase, the evaporation rate too will rise. This situation is not sudden but is due to a deficit monsoon for the last four years.“ Dalvi insisted on early planning and decisions about water.

A senior irrigation official said, “The civic body must take a call on imposing additional water cuts. Afterwards, it will be too late as dams will have no water and all plans will go for a toss. The decision has to be made by the civic body and politicians.“

No political party in Pune is speaking of a water crisis or additional cuts. “Parties are gauging each other’s stand because it is an election year where water will play a major role. No party wants to be at the receiving end and they will all oppose any additional water cut,“ a senior party leader in the PMC said.

Citizens like Rahul Jugale are aware of the gravity of situation. “Pune is privileged when it comes to water and unlike Latur and other parts of Marathwada. We must be sensitive about the use of water.No harm if Puneites get water every 2-3 days for some months. We have to learn to manage with less water. People in Marathwada manage with water that they get once in a month,“ he said.

Source : TOI


Ground water depletion!

Several villages in central Maharashtra are fighting one of the worst droughts since 1972. Water security is widely recognised as one of the major challenges to India’s economic and social development. The nation’s average annual rainfall is extremely abundant by global standards, yet much of this rain falls in relatively brief deluges during the monsoon and there is great disparity across different regions. The combination of these climatic conditions with a range of man-made pressures has driven India’s farmers, households, and industry to increasingly depend on groundwater rather than surface water in rivers and lakes. But this dependence is leading to a rapid and very worrying deterioration in the nation’s groundwater resources, a deterioration that is underlined by current events.
Groundwater is the second largest reserve of freshwater on earth. Groundwater is a critical resource in India, accounting for over 65% of irrigation water and 85% of drinking water supplies.
Groundwater crisis is not the result of natural factors; it has been caused by human actions. During the past two decades, the water level in several parts of the country has been falling rapidly due to an increase in extraction. The number of wells drilled for irrigation of both food and cash crops have rapidly and indiscriminately increased. India’s rapidly rising population and changing lifestyles has also increased the domestic need for water. The water requirement for the industry also shows an overall increase.
Intense competition among users – agriculture, industry, and domestic sectors – is driving the groundwater table lower. The quality of groundwater is getting severely affected because of the widespread pollution of surface water. Besides, discharge of untreated waste water through bores and leachate from unscientific disposal of solid wastes also contaminates groundwater, thereby reducing the quality of fresh water resources.
An uncontrolled use of the bore well technology has led to the extraction of groundwater at such a high rate that often recharge is not sufficient. The causes of low water availability in many regions are also directly linked to the reducing forest cover and soil degradation.



Water storage in Pavana dam – reduced to mere 40%

Pavana dam is the only source of water for the twin town population. Though the dam was filled to its capacity last year, delay in rainfall had steered a cause of worry. However, good rainfall in August, 2012, made up for the loss, but only for the time being. Water levels in Pavana dam is decreasing with every passing day and the storage reduced to mere 40% of the total capacity.
Though the dam is filled to 40% of its capacity, the water stock will suffice only for three months. Moreover, there is apprehension that migration of people from the drought-affected areas will add to twin town’s population towards the end of April. This will affect the water distribution system.



A glass of water means miles to walk

About 17.46 lakh rural population of Pune division is facing severe water scarcity. The residents of villages near Panshet and Varasgaon dams have to walk for several kms to fetch water. Pune Zilla Parishad has not started any water supply schemes there as the population is too low.
These villagers have given lands for the two dams, which are feeders of Khadakwasla dam that provides water to Pune city, downstream Indapur and Baramati talukas and Solapur district.
The power generated at the Panshet project goes to the state grid while 25 hamlets in the backwaters do not get any power supply. They also demanded a government-run hospital in the area as the nearest hospital is at Khadakwasla, some 20 km from their place.
The plight of over 2,600 people living in these villages and hamlets are pathetic. These are the people whose land has been acquired for the dams. They have to walk a distance of at least two to four km to fetch water from the dams while citizens living in Pune are getting ample water from the dams built on their land.full_2m.jpg


Initiative to save water by PMC

Witnessing the water scarcity in parts of the state and hearing dismal stories about its shortage through the world, PMC had earlier planned to cut the water supply to public water taps, as they were being misused and several litres of water were being wasted. Civic authorities are in process to put in place new installations instead.
There are 2,500 public taps in the city, which citizens use to wash clothes, utensils and fill drinking water. Most taps at these places do not have caps, causing water to flow continuously. People are commonly seen using this continuous flow of water to wash clothes, etc.
Last week, PMC started work to install the push-button system at all public taps and till date, they have replaced78suchtaps.PMCclaimsthatif they carry out the drive effectively, theycansave4.8crorelitresofwaterin a day, as one tap releases 600 litres of water per hour. As per PMC records, there are at least four taps in one public area.
It’s now our duty to co-operate with civic body.



Water scarcity

The number of villages and hamlets in the state facing water and fodder scarcity has increased by 850 after the first week of February. In the first week of February, 5,294 villages and hamlets were facing severe water scarcity. The number has now increased to 6,153.
The state government has also opened 518 fodder camps in the state to provide fodder and water to 4.33 lakh cattle. The highest number of fodder camps are in Ahmednagar (212) followed by Solapur (118) and Satara (100). The other districts having fodder camps are Pune, Sangli, Aurangabad, Jalna, Beed and Osmanabad.

The scarcity-hit districts in the state include Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Jalna, Beed, Osmanabad, Solapur, Satara, Sangli and parts of Pune district. The government has spent Rs 749.29 crore on supplying drinking water and fodder.

The current water storage in the state is 488 TMC, which is 37% of the total storage capacity.Marathwada has only 12% water available, while Pune division has 39% water storage,