Monday, July 23, 2012

Water Woes

Ray: There is no water
Me: What sort of water?
Ray: What do you mean? There's no water
Me: Tap water or drinking water?
Ray: There is no water coming out of the tap
Me: Try the butt hose… there is always water in the butt hose.

This is one of those conversations you could only have in India. Back home in Australia, free flowing water coming straight from the tap that is clear and drinkable and never runs dry is something we take for granted. In India things are a little different. In Delhi most dwellings have black water tanks on the roof. We get water for an hour or so each day and pump our supply up to tanks on the roof. When the tanks are full, water can be gravity fed into bathrooms and kitchens.

Delhi has particularly rickety infrastructure when in comes to water supply. Thankfully in my neighbourhood we have it pretty good. If I run out of water I run downstairs and ask the landlord to turn on the pump. Occasionally the water coming out of the tap is dirty but most of the time it appears clear. The water is pretty hard so clothes don't come out of the wash as clean as they could and most Delhites are plagued by 'hair fall' so there are countless varieties of hair fall shampoo available… They don't work… My hair is getting thinner by the week... Good thing I started with a lot.

In contrast, many slum dwellers have to fight the crowds for their water. Many slums have no piped water supply so the Municipal Jal (water) Board truck delivers water a couple of times a day. However there is never enough for the growing slum populations and many people receive no water at all. Coupled with this the water deliveries are supposed to be free but in reality residents must pay bribes to have the water delivered.

It doesn't matter where you live in Delhi the water supply is contaminated with sewage, 70 per cent  of samples fail  purity tests conducted by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Perhaps I should go back to brushing my teeth with filter water.

In our old apartment our landlord installed a fancy-schmancy water filter as he thought having 20L drums delivered was unseemly… whatever… For a while I enjoyed the convenience of the filter water but after a while I noticed a lot of residue building up in the ice cube trays, our filter clearly wasn't removing everything. So I went back to ordering in bottled water for drinking and used the filter water for cooking and washing vegetables etc.
Even though there is no proven correlation between hard water and kidney stones I seem to hear of a lot of people in Delhi being afflicted, so I would rather not take my chances.

As for the butt hose… I have no idea why it and the toilet never seem to run dry.


Patel said...

It is surprise to know the fact on the shortages of the water requirement for the public. Here, everything is ignored and taken as normal. At the same time, water shortage or consumer issue is not everywhere but few of course in India.

Good observation and nice article.


Hogard said...

Availability of clean and safe drinking water is a major problem in India and villagers have no option other than drinking unsafe water. The main worry is that Indian Govt has not taken sufficient steps to solve this issue.

Surface Water Testing

thetravekboss said...

It's nice to see someone writing about the truth.