The Pune city water supply system dates back up to the Peshwa period, where daily household water supply was done through a system of cisterns, reservoirs, dipping wells, and aqueducts (Gokhale, 2016). The recent water supply is mainly through different reservoirs located in the upstream regions of Pune city. Currently, Pune’s daily water supply is done through Khadakwasla reservoir which gets fed by two more dams upstream viz. Varasgaon and Panshet. Khadakwasla lies on the Mutha river, which is one of two main rivers flowing through Pune, Mula being the second one. A jack well with a pump house having capacity to lift 125 million liters of water per day is present at Khadakwasla, that pumps water to three pump houses located near Parvati, Padmavati, and cantonment area; from where it gets distributed to the entire Pune city. As per estimates done by various agencies Pune’s net water requirement has crossed over 18 TMC.
A gap between Pune’s water requirement and the PMC’s water supply is widening with the rapid urbanization and inclusion of a number of surrounding villages into PMC’s jurisdiction. Punekars are using groundwater to fulfill this gap between the municipal water supply and growing water demand, across the city. Due to the advancement of submersible pumps, the number of borewells drilled has increased manifold. There is a rise of 1.9 million population in just 40 years in Pune (PMC, 2011). Increasing population with rapid urbanization leading to higher extraction of groundwater. The urbanization is thriving on the natural groundwater recharge zones threatening the natural groundwater recharge rates, affecting the recharge augmentation. In addition to this leaking sewers causing larger water contamination problems in shallow unconfined aquifers and possibly confined aquifers too.
It is very necessary to acknowledge the role of groundwater in meeting the ever-increasing thrust of the rapidly growing Pune city. A due consideration shall be given to groundwater in planning and managing Pune’s water supply. Groundwater resides in an aquifer- a layer of previous rock which can transmit and store water. Delineating and characterizing these aquifers are important to scientifically understand the groundwater behavior.
Contaminated groundwater due to leaking-sewage lines is one of the important factors pushing Punekars to close down the groundwater sources such as dug wells and borewells or refrain from using the water from these sources. Groundwater contamination has been detected in a number of groundwater sources such as springs and dug wells across the city. The surface water sources such as rivers and streams are not behind in terms of bacteriological contamination.
Integrated urban water management is the key to match with the thirst of increasingly urbanizing Pune wherein, surface water and groundwater should be placed into one paradigm.