Like every summer, this year too, the water tankers of the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) are a common sight on the city streets, as the city goes through another season of water shortage.
However, parts of the city seem to be in a far grimmer position this year than usual, as most residents are being asked to wait for a minimum of two days after booking a water tanker to receive the water.
Many parts of the city like Banjara hills, Madhapur, Kondapur , Kukatpally, and Miyapur among others, have been suffering with insufficient and sporadic supply of piped water, and the only consolation they were looking forward to was supply through HMWSSB water tankers. But with the tankers being delayed as well, people are hard put to go about their lives.
45-year-old Kausar Begum, a resident of Prem Nagar, for instance said, â€śFor the last three days we are not getting water. I booked a HMWSSB water tanker immediately but we are still waiting for the tanker. Whenever my daughter calls the customer care, they hang up the call saying we have to wait for two more days which is very dishearteningâ€ť.
She added, â€śWe are able to buy drinking water, but we cannot use that water for other essential things like bathing, washing and other household needs. My tenants are also facing lot of problems and we are not able to answer them. If the situation continues like this we will face a horrible situation without water.â€ť
We placed a call to the HMWSSB call centre to find out how long we would have to wait for a water tanker after the booking. The response received was, â€śYou have to wait for another two days if you book it today. People are waiting since three days, so you may have to wait for longer than that. There is lot of water shortage in the plants so you have to wait. We are trying our best to meet everyoneâ€™s water needs in the city.â€ť
Archana a resident of Kondapur, said that the additional expense for buying water is already a big burden for many households. â€śThese days, everyone in our locality is paying around Rs 1500 every month for water excluding maintenance, which is not easy for a middle class family. We have been listening to so many announcements from the government that Godavari water has been diverted for Hyderabad, and soon our water problems will be solved. But where is the water?â€ť
Archana added that she had heard rumours that the situation was expected to become much worse as the summer progressed. â€śI also heard that in the summer we have to book water tankers one month prior to delivery, so many people in my colony have also started booking in advance. I canâ€™t imagine how horrible the situation will be as summer progresses.â€ť
Kalicharan Mahasivabhattu a resident of Sudarshan Nagar Colony, Serilingampally posted on the Facebook page of HMWSSB on Wednesday that water has not been supplied to his locality in six months and that everyone is depending on tankers.
â€śThe government tanker arrives six days after booking so we book the tankers daily. Now the government has seized private tankers. We are left with no option and no private tankers as well. Please help us in this terrible situation".
Many such requests abound on the HMWSSB Facebook page, but there do not seem to be any immediate solutions in sight.
The water situation has become so difficult that some people, who are renting houses in these parts of the city, are considering moving to areas with better water supply.
25-year-old Sushma a resident of Ayyapa Society, said, â€śDue to this water shortage me and my roommates are planning to shift to some other area. We are sick of these water problems. We are rejecting houses and colonies which have water problems.â€ť
On February 26, The Hindu had reported that the HMWSSB was planning to increase the daily trips of its 985 water tankers from 8 per day to 10 or 12 per day for each tanker. The report also said that the agency planned to keep its filling stations, from where tankers are refilled, open for longer hours every day. In February these filling stations were open till 10 pm daily.
However, judging by the complaints of residents of various parts of the city, it seems that these measures, if in place, have not made much of an impact on the water problem.