GUWAHATI, Sept 2 - Plagued by delays, the three water supply projects for Guwahati are likely to be fully implemented by the year 2020.
In the mean time, the project management and implementation units are also working for partial commissioning of a few district metered areas (DMAs) within the West and South Central Guwahati water supply zones, in a phased manner from December 2018 onwards, Public Health Engineering (PHE) department secretary Siddharth Singh told The Assam Tribune.
Some 50,000 consumers, including those on the right side of Ganeshguri to Christian Basti and areas of Noonmati, are likely to be benefited when the project is commissioned partially in a few months from now, Singh added.
The three separate water supply projects, which are under implementation, aims to provide a reliable, safe and 24x7 high-pressure piped supply of safe drinking water to every household within the Metropolitan area.
Water will be stored in 23 service reservoirs and distributed through a network about 2,000 km long, providing more than two lakh house connections.
The South Western Guwahati Metropolitan Area will be supplied water from a new 107 MLD water treatment plant located near Sadilapara under a project funded by JNNURM. The treatment plant for this project has been completed, but the distribution may take some time because there are some gaps in the transmission and distribution systems, which need to be addressed.
The South Central GMA will be supplied water from a 191 MLD WTP located Kharghuli, and the Northern GMA will be supplied from a 37 MLD WTP located at Amingaon, under a project funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
This project is likely to be partially commissioned within a few months.
The South Eastern GMA will be supplied water from a 98 MLD WTP to be located on the Sunsali Hill under a project funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). When it comes to time overrun, this project has suffered the most. The work for intake and distribution part for this project is yet to be awarded, and a re-tender is under process.
The three projects together aim to cover an estimated population of 21,80,000 with per capita supply of 135 LPCD by the year 2025, and the facilities are being designed with expected capacity upgrading in the later years to meet the water demand of an estimated population of 32,32,000 in the year 2040.
The Guwahati Metropolitan Drinking Water & Sewerage Board (GMDW & SB) will be responsible for operation and maintenance of these facilities upon their completion. It is also responsible for ensuring long-term sustainability of the entire water supply system by collecting fees from its customers, based on their actual metered water use and a volumetric tariff structure designed to guarantee water affordability for all, to cover its annual operating expenses and capital replacement costs.
Officials sources said that a three-member Water Regulatory Authority will be instituted that will approve the tariff proposals from the Jal Board, verify water quality periodically, scrutinize metering and adjudicate on consumer complaints. This authority will ensure a more transparent tariff management system.
To economize the water usage, there will be differential pricing in the meter system.
Guwahati has long suffered from inadequate water supply. Only about 30 per cent of the population has access to piped water and the supply is intermittent. Most of the existing water supply facilities have already exceeded their intended service life and need replacement.
The people who do not have access to piped water either purchase water delivered by tankers or rely on groundwater supplies. However, the safety of groundwater for drinking purposes is a concern due to contamination by high levels of dissolved solids, iron and fluorides in many areas. Poor drainage and inadequate sanitation facilities also contribute to groundwater contamination and expose the public to waterborne diseases.