Delhi to emulate Aabid Surti’s model to save water
Delhi could soon follow Mumbai-based water conservationist Aabid Surti’s model to save water. Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, while accepting a proposal floated by Somnath Bharti, AAP MLA from Malviya Nagar, to emulate Surti’s model in his constituency, said it would be treated as a pilot project.
The model involves teams of volunteers on door-to-door visits, asking residents to check for leakages in pipelines. If any fault is found, a plumber, who accompanies the team, would immediately repair it.
“Somnath Bharti’s proposal to form teams and go door to door in Malviya Nagar to follow Surtiji’s model of water conservation will be treated as a pilot project. The result and lessons learnt will help us decide better how the project can be implemented across Delhi,” Kejriwal said on Monday, while addressing a programme on water leakage, according to a release issued by the government.
Octogenarian Surti, a painter, author and cartoonist who runs an NGO in Mumbai, has been visiting every household in his locality since 2007 with a volunteer and a plumber, fixing taps and saving a few million litres of water to date, reports said. He is sometimes referred to as the ‘Water Warrior’ of Mumbai.
“This is an important step. However, in Delhi, as large areas still receive water for only a few hours in a day, people usually tend to repair their pipelines so that they don’t face scarcity. Hence, cases of water leakage at the household level would be less. This model could be effective in those areas where there is 24-hour water supply and chances of misuse are more. Overflowing overhead tanks are a major problem,” said Arun Kansal, head of the regional water studies department at the TERI School of Advanced Studies.
Though studies and reports have warned that some cities, including Delhi, could face a water crisis due to the depleting groundwater table, Kejriwal said all residents would get round-the-clock water in the next five years.
“I believe water is going to be a major challenge in the coming days. This city will not face any alarming situation on the water front due to the kind of steps the government is taking. On the contrary, in the coming four-five years, we will be able to provide residents 24-hour water supply,” he said.
The Delhi government has taken up two ambitious projects to conserve water. One aims to store rainwater in reservoirs on the Yamuna floodplains. In the other project, waste water would be treated and reused.
“This is a good initiative. But the government should also look into the water loss because of leakage in its distribution and supply pipelines,” said Vikrant Tongad, activist, who has filed at least five PILs in the NGT on water conservation in Delhi-NCR.