LAST WEEK, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation issued its annual firman on water-saving: lawn-watering, car-washing, allowing taps to run or tanks to overflow fines all to be punished with fines and even disconnection. Chandigarh residents know that this discipline is necessary and nearly everyone obeys the regulations willingly . If there is any grumbling it is about chronic low pressure that deprives upper floor residents or running taps, or it is about the ever-flowing stand-pipes in labour colonies or markets or the leaking water-supply pipes.

One is not sure where the UT Administration or the MC is to blame for this water wastage, but scores of examples can be pointed out around the city. But, overall, Chandigarh is remarkably fortunate when it comes to water: the total water supply is 84 million gallons daily (MGD), which includes 64 MGD of surface water from canal at Kajauli and 20 MGD of underground water from 200 tubewells. In fact, earlier this year, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation received two first prizes from the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The first one was for water supply . At 332 litres per capita per day, this city of nine lakh has the highest per capita quantum of water produced in the country. The city has 100 per cent coverage with direct water supply connections of which 78 per cent are metered. The cost recovery in water supply is 73 per cent. When it comes to water, Chandigarh is doing so well that the MC has taken to building fountains on roundabouts and along Dakshin Marg as it passes through the Industrial Area.The second for sewerage treatment. Chandigarh the only city in India which has prepared a concrete action plan to treat its sewage effluent as per the Central Water Pollution Control Board standards.

The coverage of waste water network is 100 per cent. Around 59 per cent of the waste water is treated for secondary treatment and 14.25 per cent of waste water is recycled which is used for irrigation purposes in green belts, parks etc. The cost recovery in waste management is 80 per cent.