Currently, it is supplying 320 million gallons of drinking water. The KMC is conducting a study to find out whether drinking water can be supplied round the clock. Now, the water is supplied three times a day. That is from 5 am to 9.30 am and again from 2.30 pm to 3.30 pm and then between 6.30 pm and 9 pm. A ward is Behala has been selected where the pilot study is going on. The requirement of the residents along with the frequency of using drinking water is being studied. It may be mentioned that drinking water is used for washing, cleaning and flushing. A senior KMC official said if such uses are reduced then drinking water could be supplied to more people.
Though the cost of production of per litre of filtered water is going up, KMC authorities have decided not to impose water tax. It may be recalled that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) while giving loan had suggested imposition of water tax. The Left Front controlled civic board had purchased water meters and decided to install them. After coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told the civic bodies that supply of drinking water should be the topmost priority and no water tax would be imposed.
A senior official said when the KMC with member mayor in council was introduced in 1984 the daily supply was 210 mgd. In addition to this, there were hand tube-wells and deep tube-wells. Because of rampant installation of deep tube-wells, the ground-water level began to drop and in some areas it dropped by 7m.
The present civic board has stopped installation of deep tube-wells and piped water is being supplied. In Behala the scarcity of drinking water in some pockets has been resolved by setting up of booster pumping stations.
Mayor Sovan Chatterje said that the pockets where scarcity of drinking water still persisted had been identified and steps have been taken to prepare plans to supply filtered water there. He said the scarcity of drinking water in Behala would be ironed out soon. It may be mentioned that drinking water has become a major problem in cities like Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad where despite two monsoon seasons people are forced to buy drinking water. The country’s first water supply system was started in Kolkata by the British shortly after the Sepoy Munity in 1857. A station was set up in Palta to lift unfiltered water which was filtered and supplied to the city. A huge overhead tank was constructed in Tallah. Later, in the 1970s a booster pumping station came up on Auckland Square and Raja Subodh Mullick Square. Now booster stations have come up in Kalighat, Kasba, Behala. The intake capacity at Palta and Gardenreach has been increased. More booster stations will be constructed in future to reach the target of 400mgd shortly.