Many Jammu localities face water crisis; 50% reduction in supply from Sitlee

Tawi water intake point at Sitlee Filtration Plant at Nagrota Bypass near Jammu. —Excelsior/Rakesh
Tawi water intake point at Sitlee Filtration Plant at Nagrota Bypass near Jammu. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Jammu City facing shortfall of over 24 MGD drinking water

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Aug 27: Many Jammu localities are facing acute shortage of drinking water as Sitlee Water Filtration Plant near Nagrota Bypass, has been in crisis due to frequent floods in river Tawi and accummulation of silt in the plant for the last about one month, while Jammu city has been facing shortage of about 24 MGD of water.
Sitlee Water Filtration Plant, which has the capacity of providing 30 million gallons of water per day to Jammu West localities, is presently providing hardly 50 percent of the filtered water during these rainy days. The PHE authorities Jammu attribute this shortage to the frequent power cuts but the fact remains that the Department has been facing this problem for past many years, yet no contingency plan has been prepared to meet the crisis during rainy season every year.
Panjtirthi Filtration Plant of the PHE Department generates hardly 1.8 million gallons of water per day and its production has also been reduced by 40 percent. The upper city area being fed by this plant are also facing similar crisis. But the most affected areas due to failure of Sitlee Plant are -Janipur, Indira Colony, Lakad Mandi, Bhawani Nagar, Excelsior Lane, Naseeb Nagar, Shant Nagar, New Plot, Patoli, Janipur Colony, Subhash Nagar, Bakshi Nagar, Rehari, Paloura, Buta Nagar, Janipur Colony, Roop Nagar, Muthi, Rajinder Nagar, Chinore, Ban Talab etc.
The people are unable to get water supply even after two-three days. The PHE authorities have failed to provide supply even through tankers in these localities. The street taps have also gone dry these days while the time limit of the water supply has also been reduced from 45 minutes to hardly 15- 20 minutes these days.
Ramesh Pandita from Bhwani Nagar revealed that for the last two days there was no water supply to the locality. Moreover, supplies through tanker were not seen in the area. He said this crisis is being faced for the last over 15 days. All the pumping and other water stations have dedicated power feeders these days, there should not be any electricity related problem to such stations.
Ramesh Chander Gupta from Indira Colony said that they got water supply after three days and the water was provided hardly for 20 minutes. He said the turn cocks and other PHE staff claimed that there is no water in the tanks at Loharan / Manda water station due to problem in Sitlee. They also tell about the power failure as the reason behind the disruption of water supply.
Sources in the department said that Siltee Water Station has become the favourite place of posting of many trade union leaders from Engineering (Civil/ Mech) and other wings of PHE. They are placed there for the last many years and no officer dares to disturb them being influential. The work culture has been badly affected there and with this, general public has been left to suffer. They never worked on the contingency plan and moreover, hardly bothered about routine de-silting exercise. This important Water Station needs immediate overhauling and big surgery by the Commissioner/ Secretary PHE, I&FC and Advisor concerned.
Chief Engineer, PHE Jammu, Dr Sanjeev Chadha when contacted said that he has recently taken over the charge as Chief Engineer. He said with the damage to water channels and deposition of silt in the filtration plant at Sitlee due to flood in river Tawi, the water generation has been reduced to nearly 40%. Chadha said this is chronic problem and needs permanent solution. Many Jammu West localities have been facing water shortage and they are trying to coup up with the situation by providing supplies through tankers.
Referring to the present water shortfall position in Jammu, Chief Engineer said Jammu needs 76 MGD of water on daily basis and Department is able to provide hardly 65 MGD of water. There is general shortfall of 11 MGD of water in the city. Sitlee plant provides 30 million gallons of water every day but its generation has been reduced to mere 40 %.
Tawi surface water supply from Panjtirthi has also been affected. So, at present, there may be shortfall over nearly 23-24 MGD of water in Jammu city. There are 49 water tube wells constructed by ERA, now handed over to PHE for ensuring water supply. There is no problem in that supply position. But the over all problem of drinking water for Greater Jammu could be resolved with the commissioning of proposed Chenab Water Supply project, he added.
Responding to another question, the Chief Engineer said that there are 86 Government water tankers in Jammu province. 66 private water tankers had been hired by the department for three months from May to July. Now, they stand disengaged. In Jammu 34 PHE tankers are operating but they are not sufficient to meet the requirement.
Referring to the problem at Sitlee, Dr Chadha said this problem is expected to continue till Sept 15. Cleanliness of the filter is routine exercise. It is done on the daily basis. But the frequent floods aggravate the problem. The department is contemplating to prepare contingency plan to meet this challenge, Chadha claimed.