Chandigarh faces major water crisis

Chandigarh and its neighbouring towns of Mohali and Panchkula faced a major water crisis on Sunday due to a snag in the water supply system. The snag occurred at the Kajauli Water Works, about 30 km from here, from where the water supply to Chandigarh and the two adjoining towns, in Punjab and Haryana respectively, is made.  The problem began in the water delivery header, which burst, leading to flooding of the pump house at the water works. The pump house motors were damaged. Residents claimed that they got no water supply on Saturday evening and Sunday morning. "There is no water to drink, leave alone for a bath or other activities. The overhead water tanks are all empty. The Municipal Corporation (MC) and the Chandigarh Administration have been caught napping. They did not have any alternate arrangement in place in a crisis like this," Arun Kumar, a resident of Chandigarh's Sector 46, told IANS. MC officials said that technical staff were trying to repair the snag and normal water supply was unlikely before Monday. Low pressure water supply was made to some parts of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula on Sunday morning. Chandigarh MC chief engineer N.P. Sharma said that officers and staff of the public health and water supply wings of the MC were supervising the repair work at Kajauli, which is located in neighbouring Punjab. Residents in Chandigarh's southern sectors, which are thickly populated and have thousands of flats, were the worst sufferers due to the failed water supply. "There is no water supply and the authorities have not even bothered to inform people properly. There is no back up for water supply in this city which is supposed to by the most modern and planned one in the country. Even the water purifiers, which work on fresh water, are not working and we have no drinking water available. We have to buy mineral water bottles from the market for drinking," Pooja Sharma, a resident of Sector 49, said. Even in Chandigarh's upscale northern and central sectors, residents had to face water crisis. "There is neither water supply nor any help. The government water tankers are only catering to houses of officers," Pankaj Dhawan, a resident of Sector 7, told IANS. MC officials said that 37 water tankers, half of them private ones, were pressed into service to supply water in the worst affected areas. Chandigarh Mayor Arun Sood, who held an emergency meeting with MC officers on Saturday night, said that water tankers were being arranged. He said that he will take up the issue of the maintenance of the Kajauli water works with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. Chandigarh and other areas had faced a water crisis in 2013 as well following leakage in the water supply pipes.