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We hope to supply our consumers water throughout the day

Debashree Mukherjee, the CEO of Delhi Jal Board (DJB) talks to Neelam Pandey on DJB’s plans to plug the problem of water shortage in the city and the challenges they are facing in meeting the rising demand of water. Excerpts:

india Updated: May 28, 2012 00:32 IST
Hindustan Times

Due to outages, supply of water also gets affected. How do you plan to tackle the situation?

Due to outages, the supply of water has been affected in several parts. Power is a big variable as far as smooth supply of water is concerned. Whenever there is a power cut, our water treatment plants stop functioning, which affects the supply. Clubbed with this, whenever there is low supply from Haryana, the overall supply to the entire city is also affected. In many colonies, people at the tail-end suffer the most as due to low pressure, water does not reach them. However, this year we have been able to provide all parts of the city adequate water supply.

Is Delhi Jal Board looking into the possibility of privatising some of its plants and units? Will this ensure people get water supply round-the-clock?

We are only trying to rope in private operators in handling water distribution to make the system more efficient. We have identified four key areas where this will be rolled out first — Nangloi, Malviya Nagar, Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar. The asset ownership will remain with the DJB; the private operator will only manage the plants and distribution of water there. A similar exercise has been undertaken in Nagpur and we are looking into the possibility of sending a team there to study their project and implement it in Delhi. This system will be functional in Malviya Nagar first and we are hoping to supply to our consumers water throughout the day. But this will take at least six months. We have also decided to replace the old rusty pipelines in Vasant Vihar too, which is the chief cause of people getting brackish water. Though it is not our mandate, but we are still undertaking this huge task.

Whenever there is any water crisis, the control room stop responding to any calls from the consumers. How will you make DJB consumer-friendly?

This is one area that needs improvement. We have chalked out a plan and will be reviewing our complaint management system soon. We are also trying to set up over 700 counters across the city where people will be able to pay their water bills without any problem. Also, a payment portal will be upgraded for online services.

What is DJB planning to do about recycling of water?

Constant rise in demand for water means that recycling has to improve too. By December this year, our sewerage treatment plant will start recycling 82 per cent of water, a rise of 2 per cent.

Many people still complain of poor quality of water. How is this being addressed?

Close to 400 water samples are lifted everyday and our failure rate is only 2 per cent. This is very less compared to the guidelines laid down by the World Health Organisation. Many get brackish water because the service pipelines are rusting as the people have failed to get them replaced. Use of boosters also affects the quality of water.

First Published: May 28, 2012 00:29 IST