DC Sgr directs for steps to curb misuse, ensure efficient supply of drinking water
District Administration, Srinagar conducted a comprehensive review of water supply scenario in the city and directed for a host of measures to ensure regular supply and stringent measures against misuse of drinking water for commercial purposes and illegal drilling of supply lines. Concerns related to shortage of water in tail-end areas of some supply lines were reviewed for permanent solutions.
District Development Commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary reviewed the status of supply and approved several measures through inter-departmental coordination for better public grievance redressal, optimum water use, incentivizing authorized connections and strict measures against misuse and malpractices reported therein.
Addl Deputy Commissioners Syed Hanief Balkhi, Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Jt Director Planning Mohammad Yaseen Lone, Superintending Engineer, Sub-Divisional Magistrates, Executive Engineers, Tehisildars and AEEs of Jal Shakti Department attended the meeting.
The status of water supply in Srinagar city was discussed threadbare. Presently the department has installed capacity to supply 90 Million Gallons of Water every day against maximum requirement of 68 MGDs, with per capita availability of 45-50 Gallons against optimum 30 Gallons. The department expressed concern over rampant misuse of drinking water for commercial and non-revenue purposes prohibited under law, lack of storage capacity in residential buildings, illegal installation of power motors, car washing, irrigation, damage to supply lines by drilling in many areas. Factors responsible for shortage in some tail-end areas were discussed and measures finalised for permanent resolution.
The DDC constituted joint teams of Revenue and Jal Shakti Department for zonal inspections to identify the local problems leading to shortage of water and initiating corrective measures. He also directed for stringent action against reported misuse of drinking water for commercial purposes. Underlining the importance of immediate and efficient public grievance redressal he sanctioned Rs 10.00 Lakh for establishment of a Modern Grievance Redressal Cell, integrated with the IVRS-based Call centre already established in DC office ,to attend public complaints raised through helpline numbers which shall operate round the clock , involving record note of calls and real-time tracking of disposal of complaints or issues.
The DC called for strict implementation of water-related laws like the Water Resources Act 2010 and actions as warranted thereunder to prevent misuse of drinking water and ensuring efficient local management for ensuring regular supply. He directed the officials for seizure of all illegal machinery and equipment, like booster pumps installed on supply lines, leading to misuse of drinking water which operates to the detriment of genuine and authorised consumers. He also asked for widespread public outreach through print & electronic media and local committees to promote conservation and judicious use of drinking water .
In view of average 200 Ltr of water supply every day against recommended per capita 135 Ltr the measures for promoting judicious use, water conservation, incentivising the registered consumers and action plan against misuse were discussed. The engineers also raised serious concern over illegal constructions on supply lines leading to damages about which the Revenue department was asked to coordinate with SMC and Police for initiating action.
The district administration and Jal Shakti Department have also initiated the process of finalisation of plan for installation of Smart Water Meters, for which the funding under Smart City Mission has been made available and steps have been taken for engagement of consultant. The installation of smart water meters is aimed at eliminating the misuse of drinking water supply, centrally controlled response system, timely resolution of supply issues and real-time monitoring.
Dr Shahid said that based on these proposals a pilot project for strengthening of water distribution network and that of response mechanism to redress complaints will be taken up at an identified area and based on its success and results then replicated across the district.
Joint Director Planning M Yaseen Lone who was present in the meeting will provide all requisite support that the department might require during and after preparation of these proposals.
The department was also instructed to prepare and submit plans of action to deal with and prevent misuse of tap water in their respective jurisdictions. The assistant executive engineers who have been made responsible for preparation thereof will submit these plans within a week.
Meanwhile the district administration has urged all residents who have unregistered tap water connections to approach the offices of the concerned assistant executive engineers and have them registered. It is notable that just around 1.5 lac out of around 2.5 lac households in the district have registered connections. While all households are supplied tap water this fact complicates and hampers the grievances and complaints redressal efforts of the department.
However as noted above efforts are afoot to strengthen the redressal mechanism of the Jal Shakti department in the district. In each of the 73 administrative wards of the district a district metered area or DMA with designated response team of officials is being created in efforts to redress concerns in a prompt manner as part of these efforts.
Other relevant details were also discussed in the meeting. It was informed that the Jal Shakti department has started online payment of water dues for the convenience of consumers adding that the latter can make the payment from www.jkphedwaterbilling.com website or from J&K Bank's mPay mobile application.