Water crisis- Where is the problem?

Water crisis- Where is the problem?

To find the answer to this question, Mysore Grahakara Parishath (MGP) tried to meet JUSCO officials, Vani Vilasa Water Works Executive Engineer and Mysore City Corporation Commissioner (MCC). It was not difficult to meet JUSCO officials, but meeting the VVWW Executive Engineer and MCC Commissioner was next to impossible.

Official apathy

The VVWW Executive Engineer missed appointments after giving them and now both he and the MCC Commissioner have stopped taking calls from us. So what follows is the JUSCO version of why 24x7 supply is being delayed.

According to JUSCO, even though overhead tanks which will supply water to customers in various localities of the city were ready some time ago, Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board and JUSCO could not agree on what type of pumps to use to supply water from the main reservoirs to these overhead tanks and so the water supply to customers is in the same poor state it was last year.

It is surprising that the issue of what pumps to employ was not addressed in the JUSCO
contract itself.

Now finally the choice has been made and it will take at least three months for the pumps to be installed. So water supply will continue to be a problem this summer. JUSCO also claims that it is not being given sufficient water by VVWW. VVWW claims that is is pumping 190 million liters per day (mld) of which 150 mld is reaching JUSCO.

But JUSCO claims that 190 mld is the maximum pumping capacity if every thing works perfectly, but since VVWW pumps are not working at their rated capacity, the actual amount being pumped and the amount that is being received are much less than claimed by VVWW.

Since VVWW has not installed meters at the dispatch points at Hongally and Belagola and at the receiving points in the case of Melapura, it is not possible to know for sure how much water is really pumped into the city.

Unless meters are installed, this disagreement can not be resolved. There are other areas in which there is lack of proper cooperation between JUSCO and VVWW.  While JUSCO has to work with VVWW employees transferred temporarily to them, it does not have the proper management control to get the work done by these employees. This is a basic failure of the terms of the JUSCO contract.

When customers do not get water, JUSCO provides water to them through tanker lorries. 300 such tanker lorries are being used currently on a daily basis. This is a big cost which will be borne by all of us. But the staff of VVWW control the tanker movement. Each tanker generates a revenues of ` 650 or more.

Even if 25 per cent of tankers are diverted, it mean an income of ` 1.8 crore per year. With so much money at stake, there is great scope for corruption and JUSCO is not able to control it.    

Even if all the problems are resolved and JUSCO is really able to deliver 24x7 water
supply, the question still remains of what will happen once the contract period is over and JUSCO hands the water supply system back to VVWW.

Make VVWW independent

It is essential that MCC should separate VVWW to form an independent company (like the one in Bangalore) to manage Mysore's water supply.

Such a company should be managed on professional lines, recruiting highly qualified staff.
A regulatory authority (such as Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Authority in the electrical sector) should be established to monitor the company and fix the tariff after public hearings.

Unless we have these institutions to manage water supply on a professional basis, our water crisis will only get worse every year.

- Dr Bhamy V Shenoy, Prof R Chandra Prakash, Maj Gen (Rtd) S G Vombatkere, Mysore Grahakara Parishat

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