Water crisis worsens in Hyderabad

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M. Roushan Ali | May 30, 2012 | Shared as an educational material

With the water levels in reservoirs depleting fast, complaints over an acute scarcity of water are pouring in from almost all parts of Hyderabad city. Citizens say a large number of areas in the city are short of water now.

The Water Board has started pumping water from the Osmansagar reservoir. The situation will get worse if there is no rain, as reservoirs have to get the inflows by June 15.

“If there are no rains by June 15, we will have to install motors and start pumping water from dead storage levels of even Himayatsagar. Currently, we are pumping water using only one motor in Osmansagar,” said Water Board in-charge director (technical) Sundar Ram Reddy.

Water quality is not good at the dead storage level in both Osmansagar and Himayatsagar. The drawing of water from both reservoirs has declined considerably, and the shortage is being supplemented by diverting water from the Krishna River.

The total water available in the reservoirs of Osmansagar, Himayat-sagar, Singur, Manjira and Akkampally (Krishna) currently is 13.547 TMC, compared with 19.584 TMC last year.

The inequitable supply of water is a sore point with citizens, and the government has to redress the hiatus. “Some areas in Adikmet get daily supply and a majority of localities in the core area (Secunderabad and and Hyderabad) are given alternate day supply for two hours.

Then it is once in three days in a large number of peripheral areas and once a week in a number of colonies in surrounding municipalities,” points out Ms J. Sumitra, of Mehdipatnam.

“For the last 20 days, we have been getting water only once in six days. Earlier, we used to get supply for at least two hours on alternate days,” said Mr N.G. Swamy, of Tata Chary Colony, Hyderabad.

Water problems solved on paper

Some officials of the Water Board seem to have found an easy way to solve the problem of water contamination in the city. Citizens complain that they have received SMSes from officials stating that the water pollution complaints lodged by them have been attended to and the problem solved.

“I was shocked to receive the SMS on my mobile phone stating that the water pollution problem in my area has been solved. How is it possible when no official has visited my area? What’s more, I am the complainant and none of the officials contacted me to even cross check or confirm whether the water pollution complaint has been attended to before sending me that SMS,” said C. Shankar, a resident of Old Ghansmandi.

Mr Shankar had lodged a complaint on May 17 and was given token number 8026. On May 21, he received the SMS saying the problem had been solved. The consumer account number given by Mr Shankar is in the name of Abdul Majeed. Water Board officials came out into the field and started digging to find the pollution causing point only after local MLA M. Shashidhar Reddy intervened after Mr Shankar brought the issue to his notice.

Social activist and advocate Venu Gopal said there should be an enquiry into how officials are claiming to have set right the problem when it still persists. He says polluted water is a serious problem as it puts peoples’ health at risk. Secondly, it’s possible that some officials could be pocketing the money that they claim has been spent on replacing pollution causing pipelines and showing on paper that the work has been done.

Enquiries by this correspondent revealed that the Metro Customer Care Centre of the Water Board receives on an average 150 complaints every week about polluted water supply in summer. The Water Board managing director, Adhar Sinha, reviews the action taken reports every week on complaints lodged with the metro cell, particularly those to do with water pollution. As such, officials make it a point to show 100 per cent attendance to and rectification of pollution complaints.

Telugu Desam corporator Singireddy Srinivas said the same is the case with water tankers. “If you book a mobile tanker at the metro customer care centre of Water Board, you will immediately get an SMS stating the water will be delivered within 10 hours. But that does not happen. You have to wait for three to four days and personally go to the filling station to get the water delivered,” he said. When contacted, Water Board in charge director (technical) Sundar Ram Reddy said that pollution related complaints are usually attended to and promised to take action on erring officials.

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