‘No water shortage, Delhi must use water efficiently’

Experts says city must invest wisely in recycling water for non-portable use


Jasleen Kaur | June 19, 2012

Delhi’s claim that it is facing water shortage because Haryana has cut its water supply is not credible, say experts. The national capital is getting more water than its share and has the highest water consumption in the country, they say.

Manoj Misra, convenor, Yamuna Jiye Abhiaan says Delhi has enough water and all it has to do is to manage its resources efficiently.

“Why do we need fresh water for flushing toilets, for irrigating gardens, for cleaning drains or cars?” he asks.

Delhi needs about 4,200 million litres of water per day. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) supplies about 3,150 million litres, more than 40% of which is lost in distribution, resulting in a daily deficit of about 2,300 million litres. Not only is the supply inadequate but also erratic. Experts say that Delhi has the highest amount of water loss in the country.

“Delhi government says that 50% of its water supply is lost and does not reach its consumers. So Delhi has no reason to expect more water from Haryana. It must invest wisely in recycling water for non-portable use.”

Misra says many international cities like Tokyo, Singapore are recycling water for non-portable use and Delhi has no reason not to do the same.

Water expert Himanshu Thakar says the problem in Delhi is that water is supplied unevenly in the city and distribution losses are high. He says other metropolitan cities like Mumbai faces the same problem.

“Delhi does not even have water meters to help audit water and identify loss making areas,” he adds.

He says Delhi is not harvesting water with seriousness and is even destroying its water bodies. “The basic problem is with the Delhi Jal Board which is the most unaccountable entity and instead of creating participatory governance to solve many of these problems, it is going for privatisation, which will create more problems,” he said.

At present, Mumbai gets 3,400 million litres of water per day when the requirement is 4,200 Million litres per day. Reports show that Mumbai too loses 40% to 50% of its water during distribution. (Close to 22 million people now live in Delhi's extended urban sprawl, while Mumbai's sprawl is home to just under 21 million.)

Meanwhile a detailed report on use of water by Ernst & Young shows that Kolkata has the weakest 'working ratio' in performance of water utilities followed by Jaipur and Delhi. The working ratio assesses performance of water utilities in terms of operational efficiencies, financial health and stability.

However, cities like Mumbai, Chennai and Benguluru have healthier 'working ratios' indicating better water utilities.



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