For the Kumars, the quest begins as early as 6 0’ clock every morning. And it involves frequent trips to a pit situated just a few metres away from their house.
“My wife or I, whoever feels up to it, does this for about an hour everyday. We go there to check for a gurgling sound. That’s our cue to rush back home and start collecting as much water as we can,” said Dinesh Kumar (44), a school teacher, who was forced to embrace this circus-like routine about four years ago, when he moved to Rohini’s Sector 22.
An average morning for any resident family of Rohini’s newly-developed sectors 22, 23 and 24 is marked with similar experiences. Here, one’s daily routine is built around the quest for water.
Parched and no relief
The three upcoming sectors are among the five in Rohini (20 to 25) that Delhi Development Authority (DDA) is still in charge of.
As against their water requirement of 7 million gallons (MGD) a day, these sectors get only one MGD — that is a shortfall of almost 86 per cent.
And the problem is only getting worse as the water supply is not in tune with the increasing population in New Delhi.
“The occupancy in Sector 24, for instance, has almost doubled over the last two to three years, and is currently around 80 per cent. But strangely, the water supply to this area remains unchanged,” said BL Nagpal (70), president, Residents’ Welfare Association, Sector 24.
Given the shortage, it is not uncommon for certain pockets to go without water for days together.
Worse, whatever little water that the residents do manage to coax into their homes with booster pumps is not of potable quality.
Kumar learnt this the hard way during his first year in the new house.
His son Karan, who was six years old then, contracted jaundice almost immediately after they moved in.
“We had a water purifier installed after that. On days when there isn’t enough supply for the Aquaguard to purify, my wife gets drinking water back home from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi-run school she teaches in,” said Kumar.
Given the acute shortage of water, many families have invested in submersible pumps to tackle the problem. Nonetheless, high salinity of the water only limits the uses to which the water can be put.
“Drinking is out of question. So is washing clothes, unless you want to ruin them. All I can do with the bore-well water is wash utensils or use it in the cooler. But the corrosive nature of the water has already ruined two of our coolers,” said Shweta Sharma (40), a housewife from Sector 23.
DDA pleads helplessness
The supply of water to sectors 20 to 25 of Rohini is managed by two agencies — Delhi Jal Board supplies water to Delhi Development Authority, which distributes it to the residential blocks.
DDA pleads helplessness regarding water shortage to the tune of 85 per cent saying that DJB does not have enough water to supply.
And the water shortage is unlikely to end soon, as DJB has not set any date for taking over the water supply to these sectors.