Monday, July 26, 2004

Thristy for Water

If you have ever lived in Chennai, India even breifly, you would have heard about the perennial water problem.  A small intro for the people who haven't..

Chennai formerly known as Madras is one of the largest cities in India and is home to about 10_ million people.  This large metropolitan is by the Bay of Bengal on the South eastern side of India.  People lovingly joke that, Chennai has only 3 seasons - hot, hotter and hottest with occassinal sprinklings for rain.  This ever growing city is perinnially starved for water and no longterm solution seems to be in site.   We recently moved in to Chennai and are getting used to water shortage like other chennaites.

Like so many others, we also resigned to buying potal water and have been buying it for several months now.  Ocassionaly we are forced to buy water for general usage and this where the hell breaks loose.  We have been literally chasing the private water agencies to get water delivered to home but to no avail.  As I pen this blog, our tank completly dry and we do not have even a drop of water.  This is the situation, inspite of agreeing to pay the 'price' demanded by the Water Agencies.

How it works
Because of the continuous water shortage in Chennai, a virtual industry has come about to supply water in bulk to your door step.  People buy and store in underground water tanks called sumps which is pumped up to another tank in the top of the building, which then supplies the entire home.  Depending the usage and the size of the sump, water generally lasts between 5 - 10 days. 

This "water supply" industry seems to be void of any rules or regulations and devoid of any quality control. 

 
Since we not have any choice, we called one of the "water supply" companies and asked him to supply water.  Since there is much demand for this service, there was no haggling or bargaining, we agreed on the price demanded.  (INR 800 for 12, 000 litres of water)  This was 6 days ago.  He has been literally giving us all kinds of excuses since then but giving water.  We have  been chasing this company on the phone ever since they first failed to show up on the agreed time.. since then several promises were given and broken..

We have stuck 'one company' for the fear of going through this agony with another company all over again..

What do you do when people fail to respect their words and there is NO goverance / enforcement by the civic authorities ? 

We are thirsty.... for water