Water down the drain

Water down the drain

Considering the City’s already-critical water situation, any sort of negligence or carelessness on the water front would be ridiculous — or so one would

 A lot of water is wasted because of the negligence of tanker attendants.

The truth, however, is that huge amounts of water are wasted in Bangalore everyday, especially on the part of tanker suppliers. With borewells running dry and the Cauvery water line patchy, to say the least, several residential areas, especially on the fringes of the City, are completely dependent on tanker water. But the shoddy manner in which this entire business is run — both in terms of transporting as well as filling the water — leaves ample space for leakages, overflow and wastage.

The most obvious facet of this issue — and consequently, the easiest to fix — is the design of the vehicles that actually transport the water. Most of them are sized to fit a certain amount of water (generally one thousand litres) perfectly, because of which they are filled to the brim.

 However, since the roofs of these tankers are often left open, overflow is inevitable while the water is being transported. Karan, who works for the Rainwater Club, points out, “I’ve often noticed these tankers spilling water on the road. Of course, a lot of water is wasted from the top — every time the vehicle goes over a bump or breaks suddenly, it overflows. But there are also problems at the point of connection to the pipe. Most of these tankers have a sort of valve, to which a pipe is attached when water is being poured into a sump. But because these valves are faulty, they end up dripping a lot of water while the vehicle is on the road.”

Unfortunately, the problem isn’t merely confined to the vehicle in which water is being transported. Negligence on behalf of the suppliers compounds the amount of water which — quite literally — is poured down the drain. Jigna, who works at a design college, explains, “Sometimes, the issue is merely that there is no supervision. When we order tankers, the suppliers send a few men to help pour the water into our sump. However, they fix the pipe in place, turn on the tap and then simply leave. Because of this, the sump fills up and starts to overflow. By the time these attendants return, a majority of the water is wasted.”

What is particularly galling, she says, is that the customer is still expected to pay for the wasted water. “There have been times when our entire compound was completely flooded. But we still have to stick to the pricing scheme, which is about Rs 500 per tank — although the water isn’t really being used by us.”

Not surprisingly, a lot of the negligence on behalf of the tanker supplying firms can be attributed to economical factors.

As Suresh, who owns one such firm, points out, “Why should these companies invest in fixing up their vehicles? Personally, I have had all my tankers covered — and it costed almost Rs 6,000 per vehicle. This is the main reason why many manufacturers ignore such leaks and spills, because of which hundreds of litres of water are wasted.”