SRINAGAR: About 10 million gallons of drinking water is lost daily in Srinagar because some of the century-old, rusting pipes are leaking above and beneath the ground.
This is about 11 percent of the total 90 MGD (million gallons daily) water supplied to the city.
The Public Health Engineering Department repairs 25-40km of worn-out or damaged pipelines every year. However, PHE employees often stumble upon crumbling pipes choked by dirt and rust, which impede water supply to entire areas or reduce supply to tail end users.
“Such pipes are often difficult to locate because they are buried deep in earth. We have hundreds of kilometres of such pipes laid about a century ago,” said PHE executive engineer Ajaz Ahmad Qureshi.
During Maharaja Hari Singh’s rule, drinking water was supplied to each old city Mohalla through a Public Stand Post, which was like a community tap. Over the years, every home had its own supply line.
“Most of these pipes are aged and prone to wear and tear causing what we call system loss, the loss of precious drinking water. Worse, a sizable length of the pipeline does not figure anywhere in our records so it is a hassle for our employees to locate these pipes,” Qureshi said.
Residents move court if their houses are damaged in the process of locating the leaking pipe, he said.
“Leaking pipes are a health hazard, especially if people use motors to suck water from such pipes because impurities are sucked in with more force,” Qureshi added.
About Rs 90 crore are needed for revamping the supply pipes, he said. The department has sought financial assistance from the government and even approached the JK Economic Reconstruction Agency for upgrade of pipe system but till date nothing has happened.
The money will be spent on paying the allied civic departments for damage to their assets, mostly roads, apart from purchasing pipes.