Water distribution in need of complete overhaul, says DJB | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Water distribution in need of complete overhaul, says DJB

South Delhi, which has been reeling under water shortage for the past week, finally got water on Wednesday, putting an end to the residents’ suffering.

delhi Updated: Jun 23, 2016 00:36 IST
Mallica Joshi
water shortage
Residents of south Delhi’s Dakshinipuri fill water from a Delhi Jal Board tanker on Wednesday. (Raj K Raj/HT)

South Delhi, which has been reeling under water shortage for the past week, finally got water on Wednesday, putting an end to the residents’ suffering.

This was the fourth time this year that south Delhi’s supply has been hit.

The latest problem, which kept areas such as Vasant Kunj, Malviya Nagar, Chhattarpur, Hauz Khas and Mehrauli dry for close to a week, was because of a malfunctioning valve that disrupted supply to key areas.

“Summers are a tough time. The demand shoots up and even if we have enough water, some problems occur,” said DJB CEO Keshav Chandra.

According to Chandra, what Delhi’s water distribution system needs is a complete overhaul.

“The entire system is bleeding for a revamp. The current system has not been designed keeping in mind hydraulics and basic engineering principles. Across the world, cities are implementing the district metering areas to change the way water is supplied,” he said.

A district metering area (DMA) is a system under which a city is divided into judicious cells. The demarcation of these areas is based on the population of an area. The total water supply is divided through these cells.

Read more: Water supply hit in south and west Delhi, crisis to continue for a few days

According to Chandra, a study carried out in Delhi shows that it can be divided into 1010 cells.

“We are trying to create this system so that water distribution can be rationalised and problem in one area does not affect a larger part. We have discussed this with the government and they are very keen on implementing the programme. It is a huge revamp that can take up to four years,” Chandra said.

A DMA has two basic advantages. Each area will be supplied a set quantum of water depending on the number of consumers therein. This will solve the problem of inequitable supply, which is a big issue in the national capital with the Lutyens’ Zone and the Delhi Cantonment Area receiving the most water. Parts of south and west Delhi receive the least.

The second advantage is that water leakages can be recognised and plugged quickly.

“Under this system, a track of water is kept through meters – both at the supply unit and at the end of the users. If there is a disparity in the two numbers, it is easy to determine where the leak is. Right now, we don’t know how much water we are losing through leakages,” Chandra said.

Delhi residents are among the ‘richest’ when it comes to per capita water consumption among all metropolitan cities but unequal distribution, leakages and several other problems mean that some pockets have seen persistent shortage.

This year has been very trying as crisis after crisis has hit the city.

The biggest was in February and March when a part of the Munak Canal was damaged during the Jat reservation agitation, stalling supply to west, north and parts of south Delhi.

In May, the damaged line at Sarita Vihar meant people in south Delhi went without water for close to a week again.