While the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has started one-day water cuts in the city every Thursday since May 18 to save water given the low levels in dams, some areas especially at the tail end, are witnessing the staggering effects of these cuts over the next two to three days, forcing the residents of these areas to buy more water by way of tankers and jars on weekends. The areas affected include Katraj, Kharadi, Hadapsar, Vishrantwadi, Dhanori, Lohegaon and the tail end of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) limits.
According to PMC water supply department officials, the overall water supply in the city is affected by geography, pumping and distribution mechanisms and it takes nearly two days to restore water supply after every water cut. As per water tanker data, the number of tanker trips has increased from 27,782 (2021-22) to 35,590 (2023-24).
Sandeep Kamble, a resident of Katraj, said, “After the Thursday water cut, our water supply is affected every Friday and Saturday. We receive water at low pressure. We have bought drums to store the water.”
Mayur Patil, a resident of Glory Residential Society, Kharadi, said, “Our society has increased water tanker trips on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays as we don’t get enough water after the PMC imposed water cuts every Thursday.”
Joyti Shinde, a resident of Aarambh Society, Yevalewadi, said, “We are already not getting enough drinking water. After Thursday water cuts, the situation has become more difficult. Now, we are purchasing drinking water jars especially over weekends as all family members are at home. The budget has increased to Rs500 per week.”
Smita Hadavade, a resident of Kesevnagar, said, “It becomes very difficult on the weekend to manage water. After the Thursday water cuts, we face acute drinking water shortage on the weekend. Now, we are managing to drink water by buying jars. That is the only solution we have.”
Sanjay Borhade, a tanker owner, said, “After one-day water cuts, the demand for private water tankers has increased. We supply borewell water to the fringe areas of the PMC limits especially Hadapsar, Yevalewadi, Katraj, Mohamad Wadi, Kesevnagar and Kharadi. Societies are demanding water tankers on weekends. Earlier, we used to make around 20 water tanker trips on weekends. Now, it has gone up to more than 30 trips on weekends.”
Prasana Joshi, executive engineer of the PMC water supply department, said, “There is an increased number of water tankers in the tail part of the city. This is because of summer and the effect of Thursday water cuts in some parts of the city. When we first started the Thursday water cuts on May 18, we faced problems in providing sufficient water with adequate pressure in certain parts of the city such as Vadgaon Budruk, Dhankawadi, Ambegaon Pathar, Agam Mandir, Balaji Nagar, Katraj, Sukhsagar Nagar, Kondhwa Budruk, Yevlewadi and upper Indiranagar. Hence, we have now made a different time table for water cuts in those areas since last week.”
Joshi said, “It is obvious that a water cut for an entire day in the city affects the overall water supply the next day. It takes at least one to two days to regularise the water supply system. In the first week, we faced that problem. Now, the system is settling down. However, the water tankers have increased in some parts of the city and it is unavoidable in the background of the summer season.”
Joshi added, “There were nine water tanker points of the PMC. Daily, around 1,200 tankers would fill water at these points. On Thursday, all tanker points are closed. So, we have to operate the tanker points on Sunday despite it being a holiday. Due to the Thursday water cuts, there is a rise in the number of water tankers either on Tuesday or the weekend.”
As per PMC officials, during the summer season, the demand for water increases and reaches 1,670 MLD (million litres per day). In the winter season, water demand is around 1,600 MLD but as summer begins, the demand gradually increases from 1,600 to 1,670 MLD. With the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) having predicted low rainfall this year, the PMC is taking all measures to save water. As part of this, the civic body began one-day water cuts every Thursday since May 18.