Eleven resident welfare associations approached the Bombay High Court on August 5 seeking solution to the ever-increasing problem of water scarcity in urban areas of Pune.
They filed a PIL against the Union of India(department of water resources), Central Ground Water Board, State of Maharashtra(department of water resources), Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran, Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority, Pune Municipal Corporation, Pimpri Chinchawad Municipal Corporation, Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority and Pune Zilla Parishad.
Pune district, that boasts of at least 18,000 cooperative housing societies, 15,000 housing apartment complexes, and other kinds of residential premises, are facing extreme shortage of domestic use water supply from the local authorities.
Suhas Patwaradhan, chairman, Pune District Cooperative Housing Societies and Apartments Federation said, “We are forced to spend a large sum of money to purchase domestic water from private vendors and some societies spend ₹15,000,000 yearly. The urban areas are consumed by the water mafia and residents are forced to use possibly polluted and expensive water for domestic use.”
According to Patwardhan, “There in an increase in construction in the urban areas and authorities notify builders stating that resided have to make provision for water supply. The builders rampantly dig borewells and exploit the ground water without any accountability.”
Despite ample rainfall, residents are facing water shortage. While the concrete jungle increases, the question of sustainable development of Pune district arises.
As per the PIL, several societies were built along with the provision of one or more borewells. These were a supplementary water source, but rampant construction, uncontrolled drawing of groundwater, lack of, or failure of policy related to groundwater conservation, most of the borewells are now dry or operational only during monsoon. Thus, borewells do not cater to the problem and civic authorities turn a deaf ear.
As per the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Union of India, every Indian citizen requires 135 liters of domestic use water per day. Currently, the majority of housing complexes in the urban areas of Pune District are receiving even less than 25 litres per person through the respective local bodies, or no water at all.
Satya Muley, advocate, Bombay High Court said, “Pune district has four dams and are filled due to the good rainfall and the water scarcity in the urban areas of Pune district is an artificial scarcity. It is a pity that residents of urban areas of Pune district are forced to approach the judiciary for such a basic need.”