Pumps stop droning as Delhiites make efforts for equal distribution

There is no droning of water pumps and no contest between neighbours over whose motor draws more water in Vasant Vihar’s Hill View Apartments. When the Delhi Jal Board supplies water twice a day in this otherwise parched locality of the Capital, all households in Hill View Apartments get their share of water without having to turn on the water pumps. The residents in this society have volunteered to turn off the pumps, and consequently give water a chance to reach even the tail ends.

In the city’s bustling residential and commercial hub, Green Park, where residents complain of inadequate water supply and depleting ground water levels, consumers have begun to make efforts to conserve water. The residents association has begun to keep an eye on new constructions that flout the by-laws on water harvesting.

According to a 2001 notification issued by the Union Urban Development Ministry, all new buildings on a plot size of 100 sq.m have to ensure rainwater harvesting. Recently, the Green Park Association wrote to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi eliciting action and even offering to keep an eye on offenders.

“There is growing consciousness among consumers about the water crisis and how they can contribute to alleviating it. The examples of Green Park and Hill View Apartments are an illustration of how the residents’ welfare associations can help the government and in turn help themselves. Governments, non-government organisations, water experts have all been saying the inevitable - there is going to be a water crisis and it will happen in all cities. We have to plan for self-sufficiency,” said Jyoti Sharma, president of the NGO Force that works in the water sector.

The recent water shortage that left the city parched has shifted focus on what the consumers can do to diffuse the crisis.

Despite the Delhi Jal Board’s suggestions to take off online water pumps, consumers have been unwilling to do so. “They fear that they may not get enough water if they do not install pumps. In some areas where pressure is low, pumping worsens the problem. Most of the tail end areas suffer, because high horsepower pumps are used to suck water from the mains. Pumps not only disrupt the water supply, but also suck sewage and other impurities into the main water carrying pumps. In most areas pipes for water and sewage run parallel and sometimes there are leaks and when the pumps draw water with a certain force, they end up contaminating the water mains,” said a senior official of the DJB.

Residents in Hill View Apartments heeded to DJB’s advice and the result association members said is equitable supply. “Our pumping station gets treated water directly from Sonia Vihar plant through water pipes laid by the Delhi Jal Board; now we are not dependent on water tankers as was the past practice. Earlier on account of water scarcity, DJB had installed bore wells, which are no longer required; hence they are not being used. We get pumped water at our residence twice daily, for a duration of at least 30 minutes, at considerably good pressure, which is reasonably sufficient for a standard household. The quality of water has also improved since provision of water from Sonia Vihar plant,” said Ranjit Banerjee, secretary of Hill View Apartments.

The residents have also ensured there are no overflowing overhead water tanks and consequently no wastage.

“About a decade back the ladies in our locality started a movement to make this colony free of online booster pumps. They were successful in convincing those who had installed the pumps to remove them. As far as we know online pumps are non existent in our colony,” Mr. Bannerjee said.

Consumer initiatives a can help cut Delhi dependence on other States, said experts. “It is important for consumers to take initiatives. Problems occur when we fail to take things into our hands. There is no reason why societies cannot set up their own waster water recycling plants with aid from the government or the DJB. The cost is not prohibitive, all they need is a park to set up the plant and can generate water for non potable uses,” said Manoj Misra, convenor of the NGO Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan.

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