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In Pictures: India's water crisis deepens
As Global Water Week kicks off in Stockholm, world's second most populous city, New Delhi fights for water every day.
Last updated: 31 Aug 2014 11:24
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New Delhi, India - For Vishal Agnihotri, 33, a rickshaw puller in the Dwarka neighbourhood here in the capital, the Global Water Week that kicked off on Sunday in Sweden and the ice bucket challenge craze means nothing.

"I haven't had a bath for the last four days. We don't have water for drinking; forget taking a bath in ice cold water," he told Al Jazeera.

New Delhi, a union territory and the capital of India became the world's second most populous city this year after Tokyo, more than doubling its population since 1990 to 25 million, according to the latest UN report. The city is expected to retain this spot until 2030, when its population is expected to rise swiftly to 36 million, the report says.

But does the city have enough drinking water for its bulging population?

Currently the demand for potable water is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) but the government only supplies around 800 mgd. About 81 percent of the households get piped water. The rest of the population relies on mobile water tankers.

Last year the Delhi government even had to insist that 35 five-star hotels cut down their consumption.

With no ensured timely distribution of water to the inhabitants at many places, the water mafia has taken over.

"Government is the biggest problem. It doesn't plan water resources," Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator with the New Delhi-based South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, told Al Jazeera.

That's why in this water-hungry city, a parallel water industry is flourishing despite tough measures taken by the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) which is responsible for maintaining Delhi's water supply.

"The water mafia will work when there is a scarcity of water. It's because of the unequal distribution of the water by the authorities. People who need water anyways see a solution in water tankers," Dewan Singh, an environmentalist at Natural Heritage First told Al Jazeera.

It's estimated that more than 2,000 private tankers draw water from tube wells and the DJB connection and sell the water to residential localities and industries at exorbitant rates. This industry earns an estimated 400 crores ($66.15m) annually.

Water tanker rates differ on the basis of capacity, season and demand, and in some cases, the customer.

Almost half of Delhi's population lives in slums where getting water is a challenge every day.

 

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/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

"Every day after school, I come to take a shower in this private bathroom for five rupees ($0.08), because there is no water at my home. We buy water for drinking but can't afford it for other purposes," says Mohmmad Ansari, 12, of the Sanjay colony neighbourhood in South Delhi. 



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

By 2020, the World Bank projects wars over water. But in New Delhi, the war has already begun with people mostly getting into arguments and fights over water from the mobile water tankers.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

Overuse and exploitation has reduced the ground water levels so that open drains now mix with ground water in many places, making the water unhealthy. Water experts belive that the water table has been going down by three feet every year for the past 30 years.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

Rows of water cans and jars, used by slum dwellers to store water, can be seen along the roads. Almost half of New Delhi's population lives in the slums where the lack of water is severe.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

"From the last 10 years, we're facing water shortages and there is no relief. People elsewhere fight for secondary matters, but we are still stuck with basic issues like water," says Shaam Singh, 70, of the Kusumpur neighbourhood in New Delhi.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

The water supplied to most households in the slums is dirty and unfit for normal usage. A water sample test done in 20 slum areas by an NGO called FORCE in 2013 found E. coli contamination was present in at least one or more samples in 18 slums.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

An water ministry report in 2013 says the skewed availability of water between different regions and among various people in the same region, combined with the intermittent and unreliable water supply system, has the potential for causing social unrest.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

"I don't go to work these days. I keep waiting to get water everyday. This has been a real setback. Shall I work or get water for my family? If I choose to work, we may not get water. I take 200 liters of water everyday for daily usage from this public tap, which has no proper timing for water," says Rajinder, 45, of Sangam Vihar in South Delhi.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

In the Kusumpur slums people lock up water containers with a chain so they aren't stolen during the night. Swati, 35, says there is such a scarcity of water that people steal each other's water drums. 



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

With little public trust in government-supplied drinking water, the bottled-water industry has boomed over the years.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

India's ground water authority wants households to adopt rooftop, rainwater harvesting systems, but the effort has done little to thwart the water crisis in the capital.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

With the water mafia on the prowl, many illegal drinking water manufacturing units have sprouted up in New Delhi.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

A private water tanker fills the water tank of a bungalow in the upscale Sarita Vihar neighbourhood. Water tanker rates differ on the basis of capacity, season, and demand and in some cases the customer.



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

Prince - a distributor of potable drinking water in the Kalkaji neighborhood - says he has been in the business for the last 11 years. "Earlier the demand for water was less, now it's high. There is lot of competition too. I distribute around 200 to 250 of 20-litre water jars every day." 



/Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera

India has 17 percent of the world's population, with just four percent of the world's fresh water, which makes it very hard for India to satisfy its water needs.




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images:
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captions:

"Every day after school, I come to take a shower in this private bathroom for five rupees ($0.08), because there is no water at my home. We buy water for drinking but can(***)t afford it for other purposes," says Mohmmad Ansari, 12, of the Sanjay colony neighbourhood in South Delhi. 

;*;

By 2020, the World Bank projects wars over water. But in New Delhi, the war has already begun with people mostly getting into arguments and fights over water from the mobile water tankers.

;*;

Overuse and exploitation has reduced the ground water levels so that open drains now mix with ground water in many places, making the water unhealthy. Water experts belive that the water table has been going down by three feet every year for the past 30 years.

;*;

Rows of water cans and jars, used by slum dwellers to store water, can be seen along the roads. Almost half of New Delhi(***)s population lives in the slums where the lack of water is severe.

;*;

"From the last 10 years, we(***)re facing water shortages and there is no relief. People elsewhere fight for secondary matters, but we are still stuck with basic issues like water," says Shaam Singh, 70, of the Kusumpur neighbourhood in New Delhi.

;*;

The water supplied to most households in the slums is dirty and unfit for normal usage. A water sample test done in 20 slum areas by an NGO called FORCE in 2013 found E. coli contamination was present in at least one or more samples in 18 slums.

;*;

An water ministry report in 2013 says the skewed availability of water between different regions and among various people in the same region, combined with the intermittent and unreliable water supply system, has the potential for causing social unrest.

;*;

"I don(***)t go to work these days. I keep waiting to get water everyday. This has been a real setback. Shall I work or get water for my family? If I choose to work, we may not get water. I take 200 liters of water everyday for daily usage from this public tap, which has no proper timing for water," says Rajinder, 45, of Sangam Vihar in South Delhi.

;*;

In the Kusumpur slums people lock up water containers with a chain so they aren(***)t stolen during the night. Swati, 35, says there is such a scarcity of water that people steal each other(***)s water drums. 

;*;

With little public trust in government-supplied drinking water, the bottled-water industry has boomed over the years.

;*;

India(***)s ground water authority wants households to adopt rooftop, rainwater harvesting systems, but the effort has done little to thwart the water crisis in the capital.

;*;

With the water mafia on the prowl, many illegal drinking water manufacturing units have sprouted up in New Delhi.

;*;

A private water tanker fills the water tank of a bungalow in the upscale Sarita Vihar neighbourhood. Water tanker rates differ on the basis of capacity, season, and demand and in some cases the customer.

;*;

Prince - a distributor of potable drinking water in the Kalkaji neighborhood - says he has been in the business for the last 11 years. "Earlier the demand for water was less, now it(***)s high. There is lot of competition too. I distribute around 200 to 250 of 20-litre water jars every day." 

;*;

India has 17 percent of the world(***)s population, with just four percent of the world(***)s fresh water, which makes it very hard for India to satisfy its water needs.

Daylife ID:
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Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera;*;Baba Tamim/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
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