The inability of the Delhi Government to curb water leakage and theft is largely to be blamed for the absence of piped water supply to large parts of the Capital as the total distribution losses are to the order of 40 per cent.
In an analytical study conducted by the Delhi Committee of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), it has been revealed that distribution losses are primarily due to leakages in a network of nearly 9,000 km-long water supply lines and because of theft committed in unauthorised connections.
Pointing out that this figure was quite high even in comparison to the 10 per cent to 20 per cent losses seen in the developing countries, the study stated that the percentage of unaccounted-for-water calculated from the difference between water produced and pumped was also very high at between 35 per cent and 40 per cent.
The current gap between supply and demand of water being nearly 1,300 million litres of water, ASSOCHAM secretary general G. S. Rawat said with Delhi’s population likely to exceed 19 million by 2011 from current level of about close to 16 million, the availability of both power and water would have to be raised manifold to meet the rise in demand.
At present as against a demand of the 4,300 million litres per day, Delhi supplies only about 3,000 million litres of water.
The study found that conservative pricing of resource and associated services along with non-metering of 23 per cent of the water connections has also discouraged wise use of water.
It noted with concern that Delhi only has an average of four hours of water supply a day. And while the Delhi Jal Board supplies about over 3,000 million litres per day, but out of it only about 1,700 million litres actually reaches the consumers due to infrastructural constraints and problems.
With as much as 40 per cent of the water being lost due to leaking pipes, many households go without water and as per the study 27 per cent of homes in Delhi receive tap water for less than three hours a day.
The study has estimated that per capita consumption of water in Delhi was about 296 litres, out of which about 190 litres per capita was supplied to the households, 50 litres per capita went to the commercial sector, 52 litres per capita to the hotels and migrated population; and four litres per capita to the fire protection services.
In the case of power too, the Chamber pointed out that while the current demand is 4,300 MW per day, the supply is about 3,500 MW and the transmission and distribution losses were high despite various initiatives undertaken by the discoms, NDPL and BSES.
With Delhi experiencing 35 per cent to 40 per cent losses, it said about 900 MW of power is lost daily. A 50 per cent reduction in the present level of losses can be achieved with ease through stoppage of theft and upgrading of transmission and distribution system.
Keywords: water distribution loss, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, water supply lines, unauthorised connections, water theft, water leakage, demand-supply gap, Delhi’s population.