Sustainable Drinking Water Supply in Pune Metropolitan Region: Alternative Policies

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

The government of Maharashtra has promoted industrialization across Pune region. Due to such policy, automobile, engineering, electronic, information technology and biotechnology industries have grown very fast. Such industries have created huge employment opportunities in the region. Therefore immigration of indigent rural labor and qualified professionals from other states took place. Along with the production and manufacturing, the growth of services sector also concurred. The numbers of corporate offices, business processing units, call centers, banking and insurance services have grown significantly. The abandoned industrial sights are converted into residential locations in the region. Township planning and low cost affordable housing is developed for growing population.

All these factors resulted into increase in pressure on existing civic infrastructure. In the region, drinking water is not supplied on equitable basis and coverage is low. The reasons are topography, faulty and old pipeline, inadequate distribution system, transmission and distribution losses of water etc. The storage capacity of drinking water is also low.

Demand of water in various wards is different. It depends on density of population, industrial and commercial units and institutions. The supply of water is depending on transmission and distribution losses, stock of water, duration and pressure of water etc. If the demand of water is not matching with supply in wards then it results into unequal distribution of drinking water. Some wards get round the clock water whereas some wards hardly get water in the region. Water tariffs are low and it is not regularly paid by the consumers. Drinking water is used for commercial and construction purposes. Water use laws are weak and they are easily violated.

Water provided by the tankers in far flung areas have lower coverage. Such water cannot be stored by the households because it is provided in a lower quantity and poor households do not have storage facilities. Therefore women and children are carrying drinking water from far places. It affects on the children's schooling performance and often results into lower schooling. Women cannot participate in the productive activities because carrying water from far places reduces the time for household chores, leisure and learning etc. Households can not relay on the ground water because it is highly polluted by the industrial units. Drinking such water causes water borne diseases. Reliable drinking water is becoming a scarce commodity in far flung areas of the region.

Pune city is transmuting from big city to mega city. It has already vanquished its peers such as Ahmadabad, Chandigad and Lucknow in terms of civic infrastructure. Now urban infrastructure is required to sustain the growth of city and water supply cannot be ignored. Therefore drinking water must be provided for 24/7 with adequate and equitable basis.

2. Data and Methodology

The ward wise data for this study is mainly obtained from the census 2001. It gives the total population of each ward, industrial and commercial units etc. We have referred the Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad city development report. Environment status and storm water plan report of Pune city has given the major insight to study the drinking water supply problem. Water supply systems of the metro cities in India such as Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are also referred. We have used the ordinary least square method to examine the factors related to demand of drinking water in the Pune Metropolitan Region.

3. Drinking water supply system

Pune metropolitan region consist of the Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune and Khadki Cantonment, Pimpri Chinchawad Municipal Corporation. Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation have separate sources of drinking water supply.

In Pune city, drinking water supply system is very old and it exists since 1750. …