The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has been getting several inquiries about tanker supply, not only from old city areas but also from newly-merged regions.
According to data from the civic body, its tankers made 66,263 trips in April and May of 2022, and there were an additional 32,614 trips made in June 2022. This year, PMC-run tankers have already made 69,233 trips. Officials expect the number for June to be higher than last year.
“The rapid urbanization and increasing number of buildings is a major contributor to water scarcity in PMC areas. The civic administration is unable to provide adequate water infrastructure to meet the increasing demand. It is leading to water shortage,” said Yuvraj Pawar, a resident of Ambegaon.
Dushyant Bhatia of Bavdhan Citizens’ Forum said many housing societies, especially in Bavdhan Budruk areas, are facing a water crisis. “Their dependence on tankers has not reduced. An inauguration of a water supply pipeline project was made, which was expected to improve the situation. But these works have not gathered pace yet,” Bhatia said.
Activists also alleged that some civic officials are handin-glove with tanker owners and are exploiting the situation to make money.
“It is the responsibility of the civic administration to provide water. If civic administration fails to do so and citizens are forced to get tanker water, PMC should compensate these people,” said Vijay Kumbhar of Surajya Sangharsh Samiti.
Civic officials said that while announcing the once-aweek water cuts, they had estimated that there would be a 20% rise in demand for tankers, especially on Fridays.
“PMC had planned to provide special tankers in areasthat face water crisis due to the cascading effect of water cuts,” said Aniruddha Pawaskar, head of PMC’s water supply department.
But the demand has risen even further as several dams in the Pune revenue division have received either singledigit or no rainfall this month as against double-digit rainfall during the same period last year. The monsoon usually arrives by June 10 in Pune city but the IMD has forecast a revival of the monsoon only after June 23 this year.