At a time when people in several parts of the city are paying a good amount of money to get drinking water, is it proper to waste thousands of litres for Holi revelry? But that’s a question not many, it seems, are concerned with. In the last couple of days, there has been a spurt in the demand for drinking water, to be precise, water tankers. Requests for water tankers went up by 100-150 per day. Water board officials admit that these water tankers are meant for Holi celebrations.
Is there a mechanism in place to stop this wastage of water? The officials say there is none. On any given day in March, the board receives 850-900 requests for water tankers. Now, the figure has touched 1,000. A senior official, on condition of anonymity, said, “There are special requests being made for Holi. We are primarily responsible for supplying drinking water but at the same time, we are trying to create awareness to save water.”
A water tanker with a capacity of 5,000 litres costs Rs 400 if it is meant for domestic consumption. For non-domestic consumption, it costs Rs 515. The cost is doubled in the case of 10,000-litre capacity water tankers. In April last when water shortage was acute, the demand was such that 2,500 tankers per day had to be sent to different parts of the city.
Another senior official, requesting anonymity, clarified that the water board would not supply unscheduled water to anyone even though it is Holi. But at the same time, he said the water board was not responsible for how people use the water. “We can supply only what we have. It is up to the people to use it the way they want as they pay for their water. We only ensure that drinking water reaches those in need of it,” he pointed out, refusing to admit that the rise in the demand for tankers is due to the festival. The installed capacity of drinking water with the board is 340 million gallons per day to cater to the entire Greater Hyderabad limits. “Borewells across the city are drying up and that additional burden is also falling on us. The basic idea is that people should understand the situation and not waste any water,” the official said. According to him, the board has been encouraging judicious use of water through its Save Water Campaign.
It was only a few days ago that spiritual leader Asaram Bapu hit the headlines for using up around 50,000 litres of drinking water for Holi revelries in Nagpur at a time when Maharashtra is going though its worst drought since 1972.
Drawing parallels with that incident, the official observed, “If at all we find out any genuine misuse of water, the best we could do is stop supply of water henceforth and may be counsel the person. 340 million gallons a day means crores and crores of litres of drinking water. 50,000 litres is just five big tankers of water.”
Dr D Narasimha Reddy, chief advisor, Chetana Society, which has been running campaigns for safe and effective usage of water, said, “It has been a craze among people to shower water and dance for 2-3 hours for Holi. We should realise about the water scarcity in the city and avoid such revelries.”