The water supply of the city of Chandigarh is based on two sources i.e. Surface Water from Bhakra Main Canal which is tapped at Kajauli located at a distance of 27 km. from Chandigarh. It had been planned to bring water from Kajauli in four phases, each bringing 20 mgd water. Three phases already stand commissioned and the construction of fourth phase is in progress and is likely to be completed by 2005. The second source of water supply is under ground water being pumped through deep bore tubewells. At present there are about 160 tubewells generating 10 mg of water every day.
With the increase in the population and the development of phase III sectors in progress, the demand for water supply has been increasing tremendously. The peak demand of Chandigarh is about 95 mgd whereas the present availability is about 64 mgd. After the completion of 4th phase, the availability of water will increase to 78.5 mgd. The Municipal Corporation has been making constant efforts to improve the water supply distribution in the city. Till the time of completion of 4th phase, it had been planned to meet the water shortage through the installation of deep bore tubewells. The Corporation has installed 81 tubewells since its formation in 1996. Some of these tubewells have been installed in lieu of the tubewells abandoned due to their discharge going very low and their operation becoming un-economical. There were complaints of low water pressure in certain pockets which were either located at higher elevations or were at the dead end of the distribution system. Boosting arrangements have been provided in Sector 42-C, 44-A, 45-A & D, Sector 30-B, 18-C, rehabilitation colony Maloya. Due to the vertical expansion of the city the demand for water supply at higher pressure has increased very much. In order to meet with the demand of water supply at higher pressure the existing machinery at water works at Sector 12 & sector 26 has been replaced and augmented with the machinery of higher head. There is every possibility of break downs at Kajauli Water Works which can disturb the water supply of the city. Therefore, in order to have storage capacity for atleast one day’s supply, the Corporation after its formation has constructed four underground reservoirs at water works Sector 26, 32, 37 & 39 thereby increasing the storage capacity from 38 MG to 50 MG. Further the raw water storage capacity has also been increased from 30 MG to 36 MG by constructing storage and segmentation tank of 6 mg capacity. Another S & S Tank of similar capacity is under construction and is likely to be completed in this financial year. This will raise the raw water storage capacity to 42 mg. The raw water brought from Kajauli is filtered and treated at sector 39 water works. The Corporation increased the capacity of the filtration plant by constructing a new 15 mgd plant thus raising the filtration capacity to 60 mgd. Another 10 mgd filtration plant has been constructed and its testing is under progress. It is likely to be commissioned by the end of this year.
Due to the continuous drawing of underground water through tubewells, the water table of the city has been depleting with the passage of time. To recharge the under ground acquifiers 10 sites had been identified for tapping the rain water. The work of recharging the underground acquifiers by providing stainers in the bore holes has been completed at 8 sites. The work for the balance 2 sites is in progress.
The Corporation has not only been making efforts in providing sufficient water supply but has also been conscious in reducing the cost of water supply. Bank capacitators have been provided at Kajauli water works to reduce the electricity charges. HT electricity meter connections are being obtained for the water works. The Corporation had made persistent efforts in increasing the revenue receipts from the water charges. After coming into being the Corporation revised the water tarrif in June’2000 and has again revised in August’ 2002. Even before the first revision, the water receipts had been raised from Rs.8 crore to Rs.14 crore by plugging leakages and checking the theft of water. Another step in the direction of increasing water receipts has been the replacement of defective water meters. The Corporation has replaced about 62,000 defective water meters since its inception. The Corporation has also levied sewage cess for the first time in the city.