Squarely blaming the Greater Visakha Municipal Corporation for its failure to have a water management plan, several experts felt that a lobby, comprising mineral water and soft drink bottling plant managements, is trying to promote commercialisation of water.
They were speaking at a seminar on ‘Water needs of Visakhapatnam: problems and solutions' conducted jointly by the Visakhapatnam Apartment Residents' Welfare Association (VARWA), the People for India and the Visakha Poura Samkshema Sangham (VPSS).
MLC M.V.S. Sarma, who gave the inaugural address, said due to misplaced priorities, the 2003 water crisis had resurfaced during 2010. After 2003, the GVMC had proclaimed that Visakhapatnam Industrial Water Supply Company (VIWSCO), by diverting Godavari waters to the city, would make a permanent solution to the water problem. “VIWSCO is in doldrums.
It has failed to meet people's need due to utter failure of the GVMC. By diverting funds for flyovers and other projects and succumbing to the diktats of the water lobby, attempts are being made to commercialise water supply,” he pointed out.
Seeking water emergency, Praja Spandana president C.S. Rao mooted cut in water supply to industries, curbs on swimming pools and other luxuries till the situation improved. He also called for water reforms and audit.
Former Chief Engineer (irrigation) S. Satyanarayana said drinking water supply was a legitimate demand of the people and strongly advocated expediting work on Polavaram and Jhanjhavati projects.
He said developing floodwater storage reservoirs, retaining the old pipeline from Thatipudi and promoting water harvesting structures should form part of water management plan for future. He also wanted steps to reduce transmission losses from Thatipudi and Raiwada.
Chairperson of People for India and former Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University K.V. Ramana said under no circumstances commercialisation of water should not be encouraged. Central Groundwater Board Scientist A.V.S.S. Anand said roof water harvesting should be made compulsory for all the buildings in the city. He said groundwater should not be explored without taking into consideration the suggestions of a geologist or hydro geologist.
Former SE (irrigation) S. Narayana Raju said sand bed at various areas should be used as storage reservoir to improve water level.
Former Head of Department of Civil Engineering, AU, P. Malleswara Rao, former professor of geology G. Krishna Rao, People for India vice-chairperson B.L. Narayana, VARWA general secretary A.V. Ramana Rao and VPSS president B. Ganga Rao spoke.