New Delhi, May 19: Irate crowds in Delhi's Najafgarh on Thursday blocked roads and staged protests over the prevailing water crisis in the capital and smashed the windowpanes of a DTC bus. They were demanding resumption of water supply as their taps had dried since the last two days.
The capital, which is in the throes of a heat wave, is facing a severe water shortage. People in several parts of the city have complained of water supply flowing to a trickle and reduced hours of supply.
The Delhi Jal Board is the main culprit in the entire crisis. Board officials however claimed that in the past few days, there had been a "minor shortage" of water but due to the excessive heat, demand had risen substantially.
"There had been a drop of 5-7 million gallons per day of water from Haryana for the Haiderpur plant. This is a temporary problem and we are hoping that full supply will resume soon," said a DJB official.
He added: "The Chandrawal plant had also been facing problems due to a power failure. There was a short circuit in one motor and we were able to service that only by Wednesday. The chief minister has also asked discoms to ensure full supply to the treatment plants at least during the critical summer months.
"On Tuesday, there was also a major leak in a pipeline in Paharganj. This too was rectified only on Wednesday and Paharganj areas faced a water shortage."
DJB officials said that with demand having gone up by 20-25 per cent, it was proving to be quite a task to supply water to areas like Vasant Kunj, Saket, Mehrauli, Deoli and other areas.
"Till Wednesday DJB was treating about 737-740 MGD of water. However, demand has gone up substantially and we will be taking strict action against those found using boosters or wasting water," said Ramesh Negi, CEO of DJB.
To ensure that tail-end areas also got their share of water, the water utility has changed supply timings slightly. Officials said that the morning supply hours had been increased to ensure that even with unequal pressure, all areas would get water. Consequently, the evening supply hours had been curtailed. But residents in most parts of the capital complain that water supply is flowing to a trickle.
Several south Delhi areas including Saket, Gulmohar Park, South Extension, Mehrauli and Moolchand complained of reduced supply hours.
Rohini residents reported that they had not received any supply for the past three days and were dependent on private tankers for their water.
"For the past couple of days we are getting water for an hour in the morning and less than 30 minutes in the evening. We have had to reduce our consumption to quite an extent and have switched to bottled water for drinking purposes," said Ashish Mehra, a resident of Gulmohar Park.Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit is in favour of privatizing the Delhi Jal Board, but the main opposition BJP has threatened to launch a stir if the water supply was privatized. Meanwhile, the millions of residents of Delhi continue to face water woes.