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Even people living in sleek apartments here have to gulp substandard water delivered by private parties, as there are no serious efforts to address increasing water shortage
Posted On Friday, March 26, 2010 at 12:15:28 AM
Good looking girls are. As part of our first-world dream of Italian-sounding condominiums, which are immensely photoshopped, water tankers are a third-world reality you have to live with. Water cuts are round the corner.
Summers reveal to us the ugly underbelly of urbanisation thrown at us and in which we participate. In so many pockets of Pune tankers line up, delay the supply while you get late for work, and then break down.
There is no way to check the quality of water they are providing. No provision in place to regulate the rampant process of draining the groundwater resources.
No control on the price of tanker water. There is no monitoring whether the business is ethical or not. Of course, the PMC is charging you far less with better quality water. The tanker charges you more with no quality assurance or transparency.
You might just be paying for contaminated water. Strangely, the problem is more in areas where New Pune happens to grow. A real estate developer tells me there is no quality guarantee of the water being supplied to apartments through tankers — “that is for the residents to make sure of”.
As they say, water is oil in this century. And there are vested interests and ulterior motives to make it difficult for everyone. Imagine after investing almost close to a crore for a property in Baner or NIBM Road, you get water from a tanker.
Whilst Pune has been lucky with the rainfall it gets (average 722 mm per year), all of that goes down the drain. Suneel Waman of environmental group Gomukh says, “Five per cent rebate on property tax for rainwater harvesting is not a compelling factor.”
When the crisis looms large, the politicians would intervene and then some water, which is meant for irrigation, would be diverted to the city.
This is not a long-term solution because the dams are anyway unable to fulfil the existing demand of the city. Water supply from dams is also lost because of evaporation and loss during transportation, which is some 20 per cent of the total supply.
This paper reported this week how groundwater is turning acidic and how much havoc it can play with our health. Lakshmikant Deshpande, a scientist at the Centre of Environmental Education, pointed out a particular high-rise building on the slope of Chaturshrungi hills, which blocked groundwater channels because of its deep foundations.
Deshpande says water supply would be one big criterion for, one, pricing of property in Pune, and, two, internal
migrations. The only solution he sees is harnessing groundwater channels.
Waman of Gomukh says the time to recycle Pune’s water has come and while corporates like Wipro have already
begun to implement it in their facilities, he doesn’t see it coming easily for the Pune Municipal Corporation, and “they are too busy to think about this.”
The population of this region is around five million now. Imagine what happens in the next 15-20 years, when the population will be touching about seven million. For things long term, we usually leave it to god and government. And in the process, the tanker mafia gets lucky.
Perhaps pirated, but I saw an award-winning documentary FLOW (For Love of Water) in eight parts on YouTube. The film might have that exaggerated activist streak in it, but it makes sense in a world where water is increasingly a scarce commodity and bottled water is a whopping $425-billion industry. Water is the next big scam imposed on humanity.
If you think it is happening far away, you are wrong, because last year, you saw on television water riots in and around Indore. We still have the luxury of consuming 225 litres per day against the global average of 135 litres.
Pune may survive for longer than most Indian cities, which are struggling to meet their water challenges, but I have a question here. Are you spending the money you haven’t earned yet via bank loans and easy monthly instalments on the tanker mafia?
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