Residents struggle for every drop as severe water shortage grips Delhi

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New Delhi, Jun 7 (PTI) As winter gives way to summer every year, Sangam Vihar resident Om Lata fears the worst.

Jostling for space with neighbours -- often getting into disputes -- just to secure enough water from the tanker, Lata's struggles find an echo in hundreds of thousands of Delhi residents as the national capital reels from a severe water shortage.

As the scorching sun batters Delhi, residents of many areas of the national capital have to contend with not just the extreme heat but also a severe water shortage.

Lata, who lives in Sangam Vihar's L Block, emphasised the severity of the shortage, explaining how they have to buy water for everything -- drinking, cooking and cleaning.

She questioned how a family can survive under such conditions.

"We struggle with this problem every year. The thought of summer haunts us because we don't have water to drink. Residents fight over water in queues when the tanker arrives as everyone needs water for their families," she said.

Highlighting the severity, Lata said, "We don't even throw away the dirty water." Gajendra Pratap, a resident of Geeta Colony, echoes Lata's sentiments.

This issue has plagued Delhi for years. The scarcity begins as soon as the summer starts, he said.

Despite the Delhi government supplying water through tankers, it is insufficient to meet demand and people often return home empty-handed, he said. "The tanker arrives at 7 am and runs out of water by 7.25 or 7:30 am." With schools shut for summer vacations, Pratap said children are also at home. "Water is needed for everything ... How can anyone manage without water?" People -- even those who cannot afford food on a regular basis -- are forced to buy water, he said.

Sangam Vihar is one of the areas that have been hit the hardest by the shortage due to its high population density.

The dire situation has frustrated many women in L Block and K Second Block.

In L Block, women like Lata wait outside their homes for the Delhi Jal Board tanker, jostling with their neighbours away to be the first in line.

Sunita, another Sangam Vihar resident, said, "If you need water, you have to buy it. Otherwise, surviving the summer with one or two buckets of water daily is impossible, regardless of whether you have kids at home." A single tanker charges Rs 3,000 and, even after paying, they still have to wait hours for it to arrive.

Expressing her frustration that the government is not addressing their plight, Sunita said, "Just think, in this heat, people are getting sick, and we don't even have water to drink." The national capital has been grappling with a water shortage with the Delhi government accusing Haryana of not releasing its share of water.

The acute shortage has become an "existential problem" in Delhi, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday and directed the Himachal Pradesh government to release 137 cusecs of surplus water to the national capital and Haryana to facilitate its flow.

Earlier on Friday, Delhi Water Minister Atishi visited the Wazirabad barrage to take stock of the situation.

She said the shortage will not be solved even if Himachal Pradesh releases water as Haryana has "reduced" the city's share.

"Haryana is conspiring against the people of Delhi behind the back of the Supreme Court," she alleged.

"The water level of the Yamuna at Wazirabad has come down from 671 feet on June 2 to 669.7 feet on Friday. If the water level falls so low, how will the water treatment plants supply water to the people of Delhi?" she told PTI Videos. PTI NSM SZM