I live in a household with three other people - my mother, father, and elder brother. In Sangam Vihar, getting enough water to survive on isn't an easy task. The pipeline that runs from the nearest bore well to our home only gives us 3-4 hours per week of water. Some houses get even less, depending on where they are located. Sometimes, it runs during the daytime; sometimes at night.
This pipeline system is controlled by local politicians, who send their people from door to door to collect fees. We pay between 100-500 rupees [about 1.20 euros to 6 euros] per month for this service. We try to save and recycle as much water as we can. Still, it isn't enough to last us the whole week.
So about once a week, we have to buy about 1,000 liters from a private water tanker. This is how it works: we get together with several other families and each puts in some money, equivalent to the amount of water they want to buy. Then we call up a private water tanker company. They have terrible service; we usually need to call them several times, and pretty much have to throw tantrums before they finally agree to come. After maybe 5 or 6 hours of waiting, a tanker will arrive. One thousand litres costs us between 1,500 and 2,000 rupees [about 18 to 24 euros]. They're taking advantage of us, but what other choice do we have?
Private tankers like this one openly advertise their services online.
"This is a heavy burden - in terms of time, money, and probably our health, too"
In my neighborhood, we used to call the authorities over and over again to try to get their tankers to come out here to give us free water, but they almost never answered, so we gave up. They just don't listen to us. Now, they only come once in a while, when there's a problem with the bore well pipelines and local politicians expressly asks them to come. When they do, people literally fight, since there isn't nearly enough for everyone. Can you imagine, hundreds of your neighbours fighting each other to get water from a single tanker? [Editor’s Note: Every day, several hundred of Sangam Vihar’s poorest residents who are not hooked up to the bore wells queue up to get water from a local temple’s pump; there, fights reportedly break out regularly
With rising population numbers, wells drying up, and what looks like more and more corruption, it's becoming increasingly difficult for Sangam Vihar residents to get access to water. This is a heavy burden - in terms of time, money, and probably our health, too. Surveys
have shown that the water we get piped in from the bore wells is not safe to drink! [Editor’s Note: Two people died
and 50 were taken ill in a suspected water contamination in Delhi’s NCERT colony just last June].