Hyderabad: Despite showers in the last few weeks, the prospect of drinking water shortage still looms large over the twin cities. In fact, no less an official than the new managing director of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) J Syamala Rao indicated that citizens should brace for shortage of drinking water, off and on, till the next monsoon. “We will be able to manage with water available in the five reservoirs — Krishna, Singur, Manjira, Osmansagar and Himayatsagar — for the next few months, but there will be problems till the next monsoon arrives as the present water levels in the reservoirs are not very encouraging,’’ he admitted.
Speaking to the media here on Monday, Syamala Rao said of the 340 million gallons of water per day (MGD) supplied to consumers in Greater Hyderabad, about 287 MGD is from reliable sources like Krishna and Singur. The rest, from Osmansagar, Himayatsagar and Manjira, is not reliable as water level in these reservoirs has touched a new low, he pointed out.
The combined storage capacity of the five reservoirs, Krishna, Singur, Manjira, Osmansagar and Himayatsagar, is about 39.783 TMC. Presently (as of September 24), water in all these reservoirs is measured to be 14.638 TMC. Last year, on the same day, it was around 35.545 TMC. Consider these stats with the other important ones. The demand for water in Hyderabad is 475 MGD and the water board is able to supply only 340.
The proposed Phase-I of the Godavari Drinking Water Supply Scheme to bring 172 MGD from Yellampalli (Rs 3,725 crore) and Krishna Phase-III (Rs 1,670 crore) to tap 90 MGD from Akkampally, if completed as per the time frame, ie 2014, there is a possibility of overcoming the drinking water shortage and even the HMWS&SB can think of daily water supplies to water consumers in Greater Hyderabad limits in 2014, Syamala Rao said.
The managing director said the top priority of the board is collection of huge arrears from about two lakh defaulters who have to pay dues to the tune of Rs 725 crore. Of the Rs 725 crore, domestic consumers have to pay dues to the tune of Rs 357 crore, while Rs 367 crore has to be paid by bulk consumers, commercial and other non-domestic consumers.
The HMWS&SB has identified about two lakh consumers as defaulters who have not paid bills continuously for three months and more. In the first phase, the board has identified 4,000 top defaulters and slapped notices on them. The board will start disconnecting 680 connections from Monday and continue the process till all the defaulters clear their dues.
They also identified 2,600 persons having double connections which are illegal and a few thousand customers who changed the connection from half inch to 3\4 inch or one inch and drawing more water which is illegal and unauthorised. The board would book cases against such consumers under IPC Section 420, warned Syamala Rao.
According to him, if these unpaid water bills are measured in terms of water supplied, one could say of the 340 MGD water supplied, only 161 is being billed! “The remaining 170 MGD is unaccounted for water (almost 53 percent) which is a serious matter. This is due to illegal connections, water leakages, meter problems and others,” he said. There are about 7.90 lakh water customers in the city and the monthly revenue is Rs 59 crore but the collection is only about Rs 49 crore. Of this, the collection from domestic consumers is about Rs 19 crore as against the target of Rs 24 crore, while Rs 30 crore is collected from bulk and commercial consumers as against the target of Rs 35 crore.
The HMWS&SB has proposed to take up the Phase-II of Musi Cleaning and Conservation project under the National River Conservation Directorate (NRCD) for treating 600 MLD of sewage flowing into the Musi from various nalas at a cost of Rs 922 crore. The project report has been submitted to the Central Government for sanctioning of 70 percent and remaining 30 percent from the State Government.