Bhopal heading for severe water crisis

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Bhopal, Oct 14 (UNI) Faced with severe water crisis due to scarce rains during the monsoon, Bhopal, known as city of lakes, is heading for piped drinking water supply on alternate day from October 16.

Panic button was pressed by the district and civic administration immediately after monsoon withdrew from the state capital last week as water level in most of the water bodies, including the city's main water source Upper Lake, remained at the lowest.

The present situation reminds nearly 2.5 million population of the state capital to a similar crisis in 2002 when the Upper Lake dried up forcing some enthusiasts to revel in driving motor cycles and jeeps on the lake bed.

The lake, which according to legend was built by 11th century Parmar ruler Raja Bhoj, was a main attraction even for invaders like Afghan Pathans, who later ruled the area for many centuries before the advent of democratic rule.

Sensing the alarming situation, the Tourism Development Corporation has stopped operation of the cruise boat ''Lake Princess'' in the Upper Lake about a month ago.

Against the dead storage level of 1652 feet, water level of the Upper Lake at present stood at 1654 feet against full tank level of 1666.8 feet.

The available water in the Upper Lake could meet the drinking water requirement of the city's 40 per cent area for nearly 60 days only, municipal corporation sources said, adding the water requirement in remaining 60 per cent area was met from Kolar dam, located about 40 km from the city.

At present, water from Upper Lake is supplied to major users like Railway, BHEL and Defence establishments also.

A major problem faced by the authorities is leakage of the pipelines leading to loss of a huge quantity of potable water. The problem was acute in the 1500 m m pipeline from Kolar dam.

In its efforts to locate alternate water sources, the civic authorities have already enlisted the help of Central Ground Water Board scientists to survey ground water sources and to dig new tubewells.

For regular review of the situation, a monitoring committee headed by Bhopal Divisional Commissioner Pukhraj Maroo had been set up and it would meet every Monday, official sources said.

The alarming situation in the coming months is likely to rake up law and order situation and the civic authorities have already sought police security at main pump stations. Private security personnel will be deployed in other water supply establishments, the sources said.

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