The city’s loss is water tanker suppliers’ gain.
For, residential societies, construction sites, hospitals and offices are now relying on these suppliers to make up for the 1,000 million litres daily, which the civic body is not supplying owing to water crisis.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has imposed a 20 per cent water cut on residential societies and 50 per cent on commercial establishments since August 2015. As the current water stock can only suffice till June 15, the BMC has requested the state to allow them to use the reserve stock from Bhatsa and Vaitarna to meet the city’s needs till the end of July, senior civic officials from the hydraulic department said.
According to estimates, 70 per cent of the city’s water requirement is for non-potable purposes. There are about 500 private water suppliers in the city.
“We supply around four-five tankers of 10,000 litres of potable water daily to Matunga, Mahim and Dadar. We charge between Rs800 and Rs1,500, depending on the location and the time taken to empty the tanker. If the tanker is emptied within 10 minutes, the charge is lower,” said Ramesh Jadhav, a member of the water tanker suppliers’ association and owner of Swastik Water Suppliers.
Ramesh Jadhav, who has been in the water supply business for more than 40 years, said the demand this year has increased by 25 per cent compared to last year. “With poor monsoon last year, the wells were not filled to their maximum capacity. There will be a steep rise in tanker charges in the coming months as our sources of water too are depleting,” he said.
A tanker makes four-five trips in a day. The charge for non-potable water is almost equivalent to that of drinking water, suppliers said. Commercial users are charged in the range of Rs1,500-Rs3,000, said Gurmeet Singh from Bhatti water suppliers.
But they too are finding the going tough. “We charge Rs800 for a tanker. We supply water to gardens, construction sites and roads. The wells in Chembur from where we take water have dried up. From where can we get water for citizens,” asks Ashok Jagtap, owner of Alkesh Water Suppliers.
Dinkar Rajbhar, who works at an office in Juhu, said they have been buying a 20,000 litres tanker for Rs7,000 every alternate day. His is one of the many offices that don’t get even 50 per cent of the earlier water supply. “We have not been getting water from BMC for the past eight months,” he said.
Residential societies outside Mumbai are hit the most. Residents of Mira Road, who used to get water for 15 minutes every day, don’t get water for three days in a row. Sanchayan Bhattacharjee, a resident of Mira Road, said, “We will have to spend money on tankers, as there is no other option.”