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Biodiversity & Environment

Day Zero Situation

  • 29 Jun 2019
  • 4 min read

It has been reported that Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and Udupi and Mangaluru in coastal Karnataka are on the verge of becoming Tier 2 cities which would have a ‘Day Zero’ situation soon.

The Case of Shimla

  • Shimla, which has a population of 0.17 million, gets approximately 10,000 visitors daily during the peak tourist season in summer.
  • At the time of the peak tourist season, the demand for water rises to 45 million litres per day (MLD). However, due to scanty rain and snowfall and drying up of the perennial water sources, Shimla has reserves of only 18 to 27 MLD.

The Case of Udupi

  • The Swarna river and the Baje dam are the main source of water for the Udupi city.
  • The dam reached the ‘dead storage’ limit this year. Dead storage refers to water in a reservoir that cannot be drained by gravity and has to be pumped out.
  • The city has been divided into six zones and drinking water from the Swarna is at present being supplied once in six days to each one of these zones in turns.

The Case of Mangaluru

  • A vented dam was built across the city’s Netravati river at Thumbe in 1993 to ensure an adequate and continuous supply of water throughout the year. Another dam 50 metres downstream of the vented dam was constructed and commissioned in 2016 to meet the future water supply needs of Mangalore
  • But this year, with no inflow into the Netravati, the corporation has taken the hard decision of water rationing.

Day Zero Situation

  • It is a situation when there will be no water in the taps and the use of water will become restricted for vital services only.
  • Considering the present situation of water crisis in the cities of Shimla, Udupi and Mangaluru, they are being termed as soon to be India’s Cape Towns.

The Case of Cape Town

  • In January 2018, officials in Cape Town announced that the city of 4 million people was three months away from running out of municipal water.
  • Labelled “Day Zero”, 12th April, 2018, was to be the date of the largest drought-induced municipal water failure in modern history, the result of three consecutive years of anemic rainfall.
  • One year on, Cape Town has apparently made it through the worst of a historic drought without turning off the taps, although the water supply is still tenuous.
  • The steps taken include:
    • Cape Town’s government ramped up water tariffs and enforcement of prohibitions on heavy users, prohibiting the use of municipal water for swimming pools, lawns, and similar non-essential uses.
    • Farmers diverted additional water stored for agricultural purposes to the city.
    • The city’s government also implemented a new water-pressure system, saving roughly 10 % of overall municipal water consumption.
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