All residents of Delhi will soon be able to get legal water connections, even if they live in slum clusters, if they produce a valid proof of residence.
The Delhi Jal Board, taking a leaf out of the model used by the power companies in the city, on Monday decided to grant connections to prospective consumers irrespective of their residential status.
Till now, only those who had ownership documents and in authorised colonies could get legal water connections.
Currently, slum clusters and unauthorised colonies only get a common connection, not individual ones. Illegal tapping in the pipeline is common in many areas.
According to water minister Kapil Mishra, revenue and loss of water will decrease after the change is made.
“It is not that people in these areas are living without water right now. They take water illegally because it was not possible for them to get connections legally before this. Now they can show a valid residence proof and get a connection. Denial of legal connection to an applicant not only increases non-revenue water but damages the pipelines because of unscientific tapping,” he said.
“The new policy will make it easier for residents to get legal connections. The new category of connection will be called DJB Jal Adhikar Connection. The Delhi Jal Board has drawn a leaf out of ‘Electrictiy Act, 2003’, and recognised the need to grant water connections to prospective consumers irrespective of their residential status.”
Mishra claimed that there are more than 19 lakh water connections in Delhi. The number of electricity connections is around 50 lakh.
“We think that the people who want a power connection will also want a legal water connection. They now have the option to get one,” he said.
The Delhi Jal Board supplies 900 million gallons of water per day as of now. If the number of connections will more than double, the pressure on resources and water delivery mechanism will also increase.
The Delhi Jal Board, however, thinks that once leakages (including illegal drawing of water) are plugged, Delhi can get more water.
The government also says it will distribute water equally irrespective of the area profile.
“We are already started doing this. If you live in a particular area, there is no reason for you to get more or less water than someone living in another area,” Mishra said.