The erratic supply of drinking water that has continued for the past few days has left residents of several areas in Siliguri at the receiving end.
Authorities said that huge siltation at the water treatment plant at Fulbari, and the intake point on the outskirts of the town, have prompted the PHE to carry out desiltation, thus affected the water supply. The water supply in the Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has been irregular since 30 August after the PHE undertook the desiltation work, it is learnt.
The SMC supplies drinking water to more than 40,000 households in all the 47 wards and there are around 1370 water taps under it. According to PHE engineers, due to heavy rainfall, around 1200 cubic meter of silt has been deposited at the plant and the point, which, they said, needed immediate desiltation.
The taps abruptly went dry this morning long before its stipulated time, many residents alleged. However, the supply was restored in the evening in many wards. Though the supply resumed in the evening yesterday, the flow was not steady and it allegedly failed to reach all the wards.
Officials at the drinking water supply department of the SMC had said that the work should be completed within 2 September. The water is supplied two times a day–morning and evening–in all the 47 wards. For the town, water is drawn from the TeestaMahananda Canal and taken to the treatment plant, where it is purified.
Water flows from Fulbari to 16 overhead tanks and four underground reservoirs at different places of the town through a network of pipelines, which are maintained by the PHE. From the reservoirs, another network of pipes carries water to all 47 wards.
PHE engineers said that the daily estimated requirement of water for the SMC area is around 138 million litres, while the supply is 52 million litres, and the requirement per head is 70 litres, but they get only 40 litres. With rising population in Siliguri, the existing drinking water infrastructure has been inadequate to meet the demand, residents have felt.
Members of the board of administrators at the civic body led by chairperson Gautam Deb visited the plant and the intake point along with PHE engineers today. “The PHE has conducted desiltaion on a war-footing for the last seven days. We are sorry that people had to face such inconvenience. It is expected that the drinking water supply will be restored within Monday,” Mr Deb said.
He also held the previous Left Front-run civic board responsible for lack of maintenance and alternative planning for a permanent source for the problems. “For another intake point, we need around Rs 6.90 crore. The project details have been sent to the Urban Development & Municipal Affairs.(UD&MA) Department for approval,” Mr Deb added.
A revised detailed project report for the proposed mega drinking water project (worth Rs 470 crore) has also been sent to the UD&MA department.