As the city reels under water crisis,private water tankers are thriving. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation supplies 2,950 million litres daily,falling short of demand by over 1,000 mld. This leaves housing societies,construction sites,hospitals and hotels with no option other than buying water.
Some housing societies need to use at least two tankers a day,says Parminder Singh,president of Water Tanker Suppliers Association. Every house in our building has to spend Rs 100 a day to buy drinking water. This is besides the amount we pay for water tankers for other uses, says a resident of Goregaon.
The water tanker business has grown this year,according to Singh. At present,there are more than 250 water tanker operators in the city who operate more than 1,000 tankers in Mumbai alone. The number reaches a whopping 1,350,if those in Thane and Panvel are included.
A 10,000-litre tanker costs between Rs 600-700 for regular customers. For non-regular ones,the cost is between Rs 900-1000,said Singh. Usually a tanker does at least four-five rounds every day.
Some housing societies are going for borewells so as not to depend on tanker water,said Singh.
The Goregaon housing society has started selling its borewell water to tanker operators as it fetches the society good money,said a resident. An official said the city has around 7,000 borewells and 5,000 dugwells that have the potential to yield 600 million litres per day. This,however,is not enough for a city that uses 70 per cent of its water for non- potable purposes. Small hotels and tea stalls get their supply from masak carriers. Iqbal Mohammad is one such carrier. Masak is a leather bag made of camel skin. A Masak bag can hold upto 20 litres and Iqbal sells it for Rs 5.
Small tea stall owners or eateries buy water from me as they cannot afford tanker water, says Iqbal Mohammad.
Even soldiers are reeling under the crisis. The Army camp in Kalina also depends on water tankers for its daily use,only that it is using its own tankers. Also,the soldiers do not have to pay any charge for the water as the BMC gives it to them for free,says a water tanker operator.
(Clockwise from top)
1. Tea stall owners and eatery owners near Mantralaya buy water in small quantities from private water tankers
2. A housing colony at Shivaji Nagar,Santacruz,buys water from a private tanker
3. A housing colony in the Goregaon Naikwadi area sells its borewell water.
4. Iqbal Mohammad carries water in masak in the Madanpura,Byculla area
5. Private water operators wait in queue to fill their tankers in Vakola
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