At a tangent

Authorities misdiagnose Gurgaon's water problems

Published: Thursday 15 July 2004

in view of growing water crisis in Gurgaon, the Haryana government has more than doubled the capacity of the Western Yamuna Canal, raising it from the existing 135 cubic metres per second (cusecs) to 320 cusecs. But experts are sceptical about the measure because, according to them, the main reason for the town's water woes is the lack of a distribution network.

Gurgaon was supposed to get 100 cusecs out of the canal's 135 cusecs. However, it was actually getting only 50 cusecs, point out the experts. This is because the Haryana Urban Development Authority (huda) has not yet completed its task of laying water pipelines. Even the places that have been connected are not getting adequate water. With residents being denied their due share of canal water, they are forced to depend on groundwater.

Extra burden
HUDA’s rates for supplying water to residents of private colonies
(in kilolitres)
Water tariff
(in Rs/kilolitre)
1 - 15 1.25
15 - 30 2.5
Above 30 4
What is worse, private builders have interpreted a recent Supreme Court (sc) ruling in a manner which enables them to charge high water tariffs from residents. The sc recently ordered the enforcement of an agreement between dlf, a private building construction group, and the residents welfare associations of dlf. The residents would now have to pay Re 1 per square yard as maintenance plus water charges at the rate decided by huda (see table: Extra burden). Taking advantage of the order, private builders are charging residents even for groundwater, which they get free of cost. This, when the sc's order was delivered on the premise that the entire water would come from the canal.

Excessive dependence on groundwater has also led to a 16-metre decrease in the water table of the town in the past 20 years, a huda official said.

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