Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Water water water!

Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody... Mark Twain.

I think the great writer should have been born here as the words are so much to be not only just read but adopted! Not many years back when ever the question was asked what back bone of Pune’s growth is, many would have answered its ample water availabilty, with more than five dams serving one city! Think how lucky the city must have been. For people like me who come from Vidarbha where water is the rarest commodity Pune was like heaven with 24 hours water supply. Still today in my town the water supplies in winters why just summers is half hour a day! Water is one thing which makes all segments of society to come on one platform as you may be a millionaire but still you need the same quantity of water which a labor will require for your basic needs!

Few years back I was attending a seminar in Delhi & Israeli high Commissioner was inaugurating the same, he said I don’t understand why India considers herself a poor country when she has so much of water? Many a must have considered it a joke then, but look at the scene now! On one side we are becoming wealthy with all the IT, Education, Auto industries & on other side every one of us is having problem in getting enough water for our life style! What it indicates? Few years back we have same dams, same rainfall & there wasn’t any problem about the water supply to the city but suddenly come summer & the only subject which is surrounding us is Water! We indeed are a funny city; we keep changing literally even on fronts of our problems! Some time its traffic then its public toilets for ladies then its road condition in rains & even flooding & now its water. One problem makes us forget other & the cycle continues through out the year.

One will ask what this have to do with real estate is. Well this is most important aspect of real estate, the water! As I mentioned earlier rainfall is same, dams are same then what’s problem? Well it’s the population as well the city spread which is growing. Now here most will say what’s new in that we all know it! Here will like to share a Zen story...
One day a wealthy person asked a Zen monk “What’s secret of happy life?". The Monk said “Sleep when you are sleepy & eat when you are hungry". The wealthy person said what’s so great about it, even a five year boy can tell this! The monk smiled & replied even a  five year boy can tell this but even a hundred year old cant achieve it! The zest is understanding our own needs & acting according to them. And this is what we are missing in our city! We just crave about the problem but never respond to them. Each year in summer there are talks about who took whose water & blame game & comparison between PMC/PCMC & news in all media with snaps of tankers as well long queues for water, that's all. The 2/3 months of summer gets over & so is the topic, again we all enjoy the water which rain god gives us & get ready for next summer!  There are many shades being given to this issue & these shades also depends up on the present condition mostly political & never technical. Like now its being discussed that because of elections the water has been spent generously & after election this caused shortage. There are even blames of diverting city water to some particular projects around the city! Common man gets confused as usual with all this & the mind gets diverted from actual problem.

Let’s accept the city is growing & what we are doing about it? Go through the advertises of any new project & it displays 24 hour water supply as a main focus. Well good thing for advertising but how & is it worth? Giving 24 hour water is one thing but using it 24 hours can lead to wastage is what we forget. And any good facility is a responsibility too so having water in ample is our responsibility & we only have to conserve it properly, who is going to remind this to the flat buyers? The local bodies too show immatureness at such times reacting in haste. For eg there was a news that PMC has stopped giving water to new constructions? Does that going to stop new constructions? There are bore well, tanker supply as once a permission to build is given doesn’t it our responsibility to give them water? There are thousands of labors working on sites, from where they will get water to drink & for their daily needs? Or else stop giving permissions to new construction! Truth is we want the cake to be remained as it is & eat it too! And then for whom these new buildings are coming up? Surely the developer is not going to occupy all the flats by himself? It’s the citizen of this very city who needs these homes too!

As a developer it’s our responsibility to make water saving arrangements in our complex & for that we don’t have to look for what’s written in rules! Even a dual flush tank in each toilet can save thousands of litters of water used for flushing as it uses adequate water for different purposes. Similar is with pumping & water storage tanks arrangement as well rain water harvesting. All these will definitely help in reducing use of potable water which we receive from PMC water lines. At the same time making residents aware about the use of water is also important. I have tried a simple idea in my previous company’s projects of fixing water meters on down take line from over head water tank. It gives idea of water consumption by the society & we can control use of water accordingly from this knowledge. Because it’s a general tendency of people to comment “we are receiving less water”, without even trying to check how much water they are actually using.

It’s high time for the governing bodies to analyze what’s going wrong & take proper steps before the outburst of common man. Lot many questions are unanswered as yet like really how much water this city receives & how much actually goes to the end user. We are poor at measuring system on both fronts i.e. on getting water as well on distributing. We have no idea that Rain Water harvesting is being made compulsory in new projects since last 4-5 years but how much actual saving it has caused in terms of litters of fresh water supply. Like electricity why the water supply is not being charged on consumption basis if supply base meters have failed in past? Common man don’t even know the term TMC which actually means how much water? Btw it means Thousand Million Cube Feet i.e. approx 28 million cubic meter & 1 cu mt is 1000 litter of water. If population of Pune is say 40 lacs then with 150 lit per head per day we will need 60 crore lit water daily & we are unable to locate the gap between supply & use & demand! All this because of lack of using proper technology & in time.

No doubt the various fire fighting announcements by civic body are must but why can we have permanent solution instead trying to do patch up works to the problem? And imagine right now there is no new source of water insight in immediate future but the population is going to keep increasing is a fact. So with every summer the problem is going to get worsen. Water recycling is one sure way but there is not subsidy for the installation neither there is any discount in electric tariff for the same. And as mostly water treatment plants run on electric energy the running costs are unaffordable for many societies. It’s a joke that this State gives free electricity to agriculture pumps but at commercial rate to the water recycling plants!

Such lacunas needs to be removed & fast as the problem is not for any individual but for entire city. It’s sad that on one side we call our self as techno hub & in reality no one has guts to accept the responsibility as well challenge to take on the water issue when all modern technology is at hand! Similarly the citizen also should realize that they too should play their role on this front instead just blaming rulers as well PMC, by trying to take initiative in water saving in any way, even calling for experts advice if they are unable to understand what to do! Water is most important factor for any human settlement as without it no community can grow & we are growing is a fact, so the future is unavoidable. And as per the quote, the water will be hurting us most if we don’t react in time & it won’t bother who the hurt party is!

Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

Envo-Power Committee, Credai, Pune

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