The ongoing water crisis in Mumbai city seems to have shaken the civic administration hard. The husband tells me, being a BMC reporter who's covered Asia's richest civic body for a long time now, that the lack of rains this year shook one big belief prevalent in the BMC's hydraulic department - that the rains shall not ditch us. Not now, not ever.
Of course, the city's water supply and distribution system is remarkable. I would confidently say that no other city in the country has an efficient supply network like ours. And besides, despite the hue and cry over thousands of taps already running dry in the metropolis (and what shall we do in the summer months, gulp!) you can't really blame the BMC for lesser water, can you?
Where the administration does falter is on letting water be provided illegally. On not keeping close tabs on thefts and leakages. On not monitoring the tanker lobby. On allowing restaurants to serve tall glasses of water, most of which is thrown away. On letting swimming pools pump in water when the rest of us are left wondering how to wash our clothes and store enough to drink and cook. And most importantly, the BMC is not penalising misuse.
Lady in the flat opposite mine washes her windows EVERY day using a jet of running water. She does not use a wet wipe, like a decent person with half an obligation to be more careful with her water usage, would. Those complaining about lesser water continue to wash their cars and plants with drinking water. Some bastards are bathing twice, even shaving twice a day. It is a statement on us as a society when we carefully watch our power consumption because we are billed on a pay-per-use mode, but our water usage does not meet the same considerations.
High time the BMC installed water meters for each house. The current rates for consumption are the same irrespective of the numbers of people residing in a house. Hence, a family of three gets billed Rs 130 per month or thereabouts for water usage and the flat above theirs, which has TEN people in it forever bathing, cooking and flushing, also get billed the same amount. I would pay that much whether I had one person in my house or 100, and that's laughable. Water meters would instantly check the gross misuse and the disgusting mentality that water is a rightfully-earned entity to waste and throw about with impunity.