P K Tripathi, CEO, Delhi Jal Board, has been in news for a nearly a month even as Delhi grapples with yet another painful and dry summer. Defending his organisation, he insists, things are not as bad as they are portrayed. In an interview with HindustanTimes.com, he spells out the reasons for the present crisis.
Why was the water crisis so bad?
First, it wasn't as bad as you make it sound. Delhi has been having water problems for a while now. The closure of the Upper Ganga canal by Uttaranchal has created the present crisis. This meant 100 million gallons per day (mgd) of water did not reach Delhi. April is not a problem month otherwise.
When did the water supply from the said canal end?
The canal was closed on April 16, 2003 and the water at Bhagirathi plant (which receives its supply from this canal) lasted till April 24. As a backup arrangement, we had asked Haryana for help which they did. Baring a few cases in south and east Delhi, no major problem arose.
Areas like Kalkaji and Chittaranjan Park have had problems before as well. There were reports of these areas not getting enough water prior to the crisis.
That was largely because these places are lower down in the distribution line. Plus, all south Delhi houses have large sumps, so water is stocked in large volumes. Which means that areas higher up have the advantage of the natural gradient. People have installed boosters at individual household level which sucks up more water than allotted. Naturally there's a shortfall.
What is the solution then?
We have started a new scheme wherein water is supplied for two to three hours in a day instead of providing water in the morning and evening for an hour each. Now what happens is the moment water comes, taps are turned on in the mornings and evenings. This means those living lower down the distribution line do not get any water. With water flowing for longer duration and with one-time supply, the taps will be turned off for the water to then flow downwards.