Herald: Goa facing water shortage as summer peaks

Goa facing water shortage as summer peaks

05 May 2019 04:55am IST
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05 May 2019 04:55am IST
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With temperatures in Goa soaring to unbearable levels, Goa faces another chronic problem – severe water shortage. HERALD takes a look across talukas and speaks to the locals who have to deal with these water scarcity problems. The common feeling is that the authorities are not doing enough as they suffer this ordeal every summer

24/7 water supply in Bardez a distant dream

Several parts of Bardez taluka have been facing water shortage and irregular water supply for a while. Even the ruling MLAs let alone the opposition are fed up and have started openly criticizing the pathetic state of water distribution in Goa. The few places facing water crisis are Colvale, Pomburpa, Mapusa, Anjuna, Arpora, Siolim, Chapora, Saligao, Verem, Nerul, Pilerne and Porvorim. Time and again the people of Colvale have raised the issue of water shortage in the village. “Last year the village and panchayat of Colvale passed a resolution not to issue any license to commercial projects till the water crisis was solved. The locals demand adequate water supply from the PWD,” stated Manoj. Another resident of Chapora on condition of anonymity told Herald that they do not receive PWD water every day or rather 24/7. “We have to wait for water which comes only every alternate day,” she said. The residents of Porvorim constituency have been victims to irregular and scarce water supply for the last several years. A local from Porvorim, Soter D’souza highlighted that Porvorim is placed at a very complicated position and hence there is a problem of water supply. “Behind Damian De Goa in a ward called Arrarim the residents receive 24 hours water supply because a PWD official was living there. There is total injustice in the distribution of water supply in this area and we barely receive water for an hour or two,” said Soter. One can recall that last year in September, the former PWD Minister, Sudin Dhavlikar had announced that Bardez taluka will be supplied with 24 hours water supply by 2019 after inaugurating the underpass at Bastora-Tar junction in Mapusa.

  “Rs. 361 crores will be spent for the development of Bardez taluka by the PWD and the related files will be cleared by November 15. The government is trying to give 24 hours water supply to Bardez by 2019,” the minister had assured.

 

As mercury rises, water supply in Salcete drops

Various parts of Salcete are reeling under a water crisis. For instance, water shortage has hit the farming sector in Verna which has affected the Verna irrigation project, bandharas repairs, new bandharas, pump houses proposed projects as well as predicted produce.

The farmers are finally relying on desilting of the small rivulets and other local sources of water. However despite this being a recurring problem, there has been solution in sight to offer respite to their woes.

Other areas are also facing issues of water supply to their houses.  

As far as tap water is concerned the people from Maina Curtorim and surrounding areas have been battling with low pressure or no water due to geographical problems as well as failed water supply infrastructure. 

Xavier Fernandes from Raia told Damon, Bagbhat Talcona and Solva areas have a problem of water supply. 

Due to a steep gradient the water line passing from Bagbhat is irregular and inconsistent when it comes to the amount it supplies to the village waterline. In Damon, the water tank built for the people doesn't get water due to the gradient. As a result the tank has become a wasted expense. In Talcona similar problem of steep gradient has resulted in slow or no supply of Water. This problem is faced by the people of Solva too. 

Yet another consumer from Rawanfond, Navelim said that she has been complaining of a leaking water line for several days causing lakhs of liters of precious water wasted. "The department is totally irresponsible and not compassionate regarding the issue of water being wasted. The sewerage line work punctured the line and the water supply keeps pushing the complaint from one division to another," said Maria J Vaz from Rawanfond.

"How this is related to the water supply is when the pipeline ruptures it is the consumer who gets low amount of water and the tail ends dont get any" she complained.

Her situation is just another example of numerous other Goans living in various parts of Salcete who are facing similar problems.


Pernem reels under water supply crisis

Unlike other talukas, Pernam, once the taluka of the Chief Minister has been facing a perennial water supply issue.  While there have been multiple promises to address this issue, it’s already mid-summer and the villagers complain that they are dealing with a very acute water shortage crisis.

They have questioned why steps had not been initiated to rectify the irregular water supply and water shortage issue especially as it is affecting almost every r.

The15 MLD Chandel water treatment plant supplies water to the whole of Pernem however there is shortage of almost 9 MLD. With the increasing commercial complexes, hotels, restaurants, shacks guest houses on Mandrem Beach belt have added to this problem of water shortage.

According to PWD sources, there are total 17,967 tap connection in Pernem taluka from which 17,549 are domestic and 291 are commercial. Around 479 new connections are released in last one and half year and more than 6000 connections are in the coastal belt.

Throughout the year, people here manage to fulfill their water demands by using water from the wells however even the wells have dried up, leaving the public totally dependent on water supplied by PWD. Around 3 MLD water is supplied to each village in the taluka however the demand from the costal belt is higher than the other villages. The villages in Pernem constituency receive regular water but the villages on coastal belt, which are also located on tail point of the village, do not receive regular water. If they do, they get water supply only once or twice a week.

The villages that are most affected are Tuem, Morjim, Arambol, Palyem, Mandrem and Keri.

Presently other than tap, water is supplied through tankers in whole of Taluka.

People across the taluka shared their disappointment.

Gaurish Poke from Morjim said,” We have a well close to our house but from last 15 years people have stopped using water from this well. From then on we are completely dependent on the water supplied by PWD.  While this form of supply was regular for many years, lately, for almost a year now there has been no regular water supply. All the water is being diverted to the hotels and hardly some amount of water is released to domestic connections. We receive water on alternate days that too with very low pressure”.

“There have been several complaints filed but the authorities have turned a blind eye towards this issue.  For the last so many months, we have not received water because of which we are forced to store water and use water sparingly.  But this can’t be the situation all the time. This issue was raised in the gram sabha many times but the panchayat or PWD is not taking any action,” said Pravin Naik.

“There is extremely low pressure when it comes to the water supply. And there are no fixed timing, it comes and goes. Sometimes water is released late at night too,” said Sonali Pednekar who added that after complaining they received water through tankers.

Lata Mhamal concurred with Sonali and pointed out that they receive water sometimes at 2 am or 3 am which disturbs their routine and sleep and that there should be some fixed timings so that they can plan their day around it accordingly.

“The people operating the water supply are from the village and so they do it partially and release water only to those areas that they wish to supply to.  Due to this bias, only few people receive water throughout the day while others don’t. Also the fresh water from the plant is not clean and mixed water is released, added Gauresh Gaonkar.

Canacona locals complain of inadequate water supply

“Water is one of the basic needs of human beings and on an average one family of five needs at least 1 thousand litres of water, but during summer months we hardly get 2 hundred litres of water that too muddy. Water is being diverted for private projects in our village with no monitoring of the water supply despite our complaints. The authorities are not responsive and the villagers are being made to suffer each day,” said Ervilho Barreto, from Sadolxem.

 

Maur Kankonkar from Agonda blamed the rising migrant population for putting an extra burden on the limited power supply and felt that the taluka would face a major water crisis in the future as the current water shortage issues are yet to be addressed.

  “I would directly blame the authorities and the PWD officials, they had promised us that they will solve the problem before 9 months but still they can’t as the government is also paralysed for the last one year. We have given the water supply department a deadline to solve the water crisis issue of the entire taluka, “said Shubam Komarpant, from Patnem-Colomb.

  “Tanks have been built in our municipality and panchayats but the problem is on the ground level where the government officials are not making any effort to provide water tankers and they give us petty excuses when we ask them why, “said Sachin Naik, Loliem, Canacona.

Water problems galore across Ponda

The residents of Bethora, Priol are among the worst affected when it comes to water shortage problems in Ponda.

  The reason for the water shortage is because the capacity of the old pipeline is limited while the population of Bethora in Shiroda has increased. Further, the water requirements from the industrial estate and the migrant labour population have also increased. Locals Bethora, Bondbag have constantly rushed to the water supply division at Daag Ponda but the problems continue to persist.

Priol, which is in the hilly area, also faces a problem due to its unique geographic shape where it is difficult to supply water.

Locals from Savoiverem and Kerim are now totally dependent on water supply from tankers.

 

Priol MLA and Art and Culture Minister Govind Gaude said that he had solved 80 per cent of the water shortage issues in Kerim panchayat whereas 45 per cent of the water shortage issue in Savoiverem panchayat. He added that the problem was due to the existing water tank at Kerim which has now been repaired and cleanred and that the water supply would now be smooth. Regarding the places located in the hilly areas, water is being supplied by way of water tankers. He further blamed the former MLA and PWD minister for failing to solve the water supply issue. “But I have set a target to make Kerim and Savoiverem Tanker free. During the next three years, the requirements of the entire Priol Constituency will be fulfilled,” said Gaude.

Speaking about any foreseeable summer related problem, Assistant Engineer Kelekar at OPA water treatment Plant said that the current water levels are satisfactory. He however explained that for the smooth flow of water, supply from the Ganjem plant is necessary.

Meanwhile it is learnt that the water resource department has installed around 16 Bandharas on Doodhsagar River, which supplies water to OPA Plant. There is sufficient water stored in Bandaras that will take care of summer days. Water is released from it when whenever there is a shortage at the OPA plant to supply treated water. The OPA plant with 140 MLD supplies water to Tiswadi and Ponda Taluka.

Restricted water supply a daily headache in Vasco

Headland Sada locals have been hit in the summer with an acute water crisis. People are dependent on water being supply by tankers as the alternate option is to wait for days before they get water supply.

The recent restriction in water supply from the Selaulim water pipeline has created a lot of problems for the people of Vasco including Headland Sada.

People can be seen filling water using utensils, pots, tubs from a tap at the pump station near Sada Subjail.

The story in certain pockets of the MPT colony was no different. Some colonies from Bogda area gets water supply from tankers.

A senior citizen pointed out that water supply had become quite problematic for houses located in the interior parts of the taluka wherein tankers do not reach and so they have to struggle to get drinking water.

When inquired with the Assistant Engineer, Sandeep Naik who is the incharge of water supply to all the MPT residential area from Headland Sada, he said that the water requirement of the MPT residential quarters etc is 1400 cubic meter of water daily. “From this 95 percent of the water we get from PWD and 5 per cent from other natural sources. It becomes difficult to get the 1400 cubic meter water regularly, sometimes we get 900 cubic meters etc therefore I had to manage the water supply by releasing water wisely and on alternate days,” he said.

He further added that the recent water crisis was due to the restricted water supply, which had to happen as

  Selaulim water pipeline is currently undergoing its annual maintenance. Naik also opined that people should be careful with the amount of water they use where they reduce the amount of water that is wasted. However, for many residents, especially those who are not receiving water supply, they have to run from pillar to post complaining about the same and have to make cumbersome contingency plans to ensure that they have adequate water at home for their daily requirements.


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