Had the Bishts settled down in Central Delhi or even Mayur Vihar, they would have had a spare car in the garage by now. But their decision to make Dwarka their home eight years ago has cost them roughly Rs 2 lakh towards packaged drinking water.
“We buy our drinking water, which is very costly. DDA had promised us four hours of water supply a day, but we don’t get even an hour’s supply regularly,” said Virender Singh Bisht, resident of DDA flats in Sector 14.
At Rs 70 for 20 litres, packaged water works out as expensive as the monthly electricity bill — Rs 1500-2000 — for a typical family of four adults. However, in Dwarka, unless a housing society has its own reverse osmosis (RO) filtration plant, residents are constrained to buy potable water at steep rates.
Can brush or flush
Not just drinking water, Dwarka is short of water for all purposes. Against its requirement of 10 million gallons (MGD) a day (3.8 crore litres or 19 lakh bathroom buckets), it gets only about 3.5 MGD from Delhi Jal Board.
The average daily water availability in the sub-city is around 50 litres per person — just enough to flush the toilet five times. You can either bathe, wash clothes or flush the loo, but not all in the same day.
Given the acute shortage of water, residents have to depend on private water tankers that charge Rs 600-1200 for a tanker-load.
Adapting to survive
Guests upset homemaker Rajinder Kaur’s water budget.
“You start keeping count of every glass of water anyone in the house consumes, and plan your life accordingly,” said Kaur.
Her 16-year-old daughter is betrothed to the booster pump. She cannot step out in the evenings as “someone has to be at home to switch on the pump for storing whatever little water’s supplied.”
Sector 14 resident SS Chauhan works nights. But he knows no rest during the day either. The airline official often comes home to find the taps dry. He then spends half the day arranging for water through private tankers. “Since my house is on the top floor, even the booster pump is useless when the water pressure is weak. So, my wife and two children often go without water through the night.”
Buck doesn’t stop
Water supply to Dwarka is managed by two agencies — Delhi Jal Board (DJB) supplies water to Delhi Development Authority (DDA), which distributes it to the residential blocks.
Regarding the 65 per cent shortfall in availability of water, DJB says Dwarka came into existence without planning (DDA’s responsibility) for the supply of water. However, DDA washes its hands of the crisis by claiming that supplying water is not its responsibility.