International experts predict that wars will be fought in Asia because of water scarcity. That may well be true but in the city itself, the same view is echoed by many people, particularly in areas where there is acute water shortage.
Nagaiah, a former senior audit officer at the AG office and a resident of Nizampet road, believes, “Water could be a reason for violent clashes between people in the future.”
As the world observes Water Day today, we spoke to residents in and around Nizampet, an area that is known for its water crisis.
The people are so fed up that they are mulling legal action to get some relief. Velaga Srinivas, general secretary, Federation of Nizampet Road Residents’ Welfare Association, which has 122 apartments under its jurisdiction and about 30,000 people, told City Express that about 49 per cent of the water supply is wasted due to water leakage. “Going by the World Health Organisation’s guidelines, every person is entitled to 125 litres of water every day. We are not even getting 40 per cent of that in Nizampet road and in peak summer, we might not get even this,” said Srinivas.
What do they propose to do? “We have asked the water board to set up metres to measure how much water is released from their tanks. They would obviously know how much water they are getting from the reservoirs. Compare the amount of water released with the amount of water actually used by citizens in various localities in a decentralised manner,” he said, adding that residents in the locality had approached the water board regarding this and if no action was taken, they would go to the court. “They say Krishna Phase-3 is the only solution to our water crisis. We do not understand why can’t we spend the same money to revamp our local water bodies in a sustainable manner,” he felt.
Echoing his views, Nagaiah said, “Six years back, water was available at a depth of just 250 ft. Now, it is difficult to find water even at 1200 ft. Today, the place has become so densely populated that even at 11:30 p.m. you have traffic jams.”
Stating that multi-storeyed buildings with numerous borewells as the cause for depleting water levels, he said, “The government’s water supply is not catering to even 60 per cent of our needs. We get drinking water only on alternate days and that too, for just 10 minutes.” Another resident, Sivamma, of Seshadri Block, said, “We are forced to purchase borewater for 11 months a year paying Rs 920 for a 12,000-litre tanker. And on an average, we take 45 tankers a month.” The Seshadri Block Flat Owners’ Association too set up a rain water harvesting pit about seven months ago. Omkarappa, president of the association, said, “Since water levels are going down and down, nobody has benefitted because of this pit.”
In the nearby Nizampet village, which falls outside GHMC limits, the situation is even worse. Jagan Mohan Varma, a software engineer and joint secretary of Balaji Hills Colony, pointed out that even drinking water had to be bought in cans/jars. “Since we are not part of GHMC, we do not have water connections,” he said.
Old Nizampet village gets water from an overhead tank that was built around a year and half back. But all the buildings that have come up after 2004 do not get any water. Incidentally, the nearest Hyderabad Metro Water Works and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) office is just three kms away. “We hear that our village will be merged with the GHMC soon and then, we might get water,” hoped Jagan.
If the situation is like this on the other side of the city, what can you do to help? As one of the UN recommendations says, you can turn off the tap the whole day.