The Forum for Organized Resource Conservation and Enhancement (FORCE) led us on a tour today to a number of sites to investigate different ways people cope with the water shortage in Delhi. Our first stop was a middle class housing complex. We learned about their strategy of using illegal individual tanks to capture water during the 45 minutes their taps are turned on each day. As we stood in an opening around the houses, I counted at least 10 tanks in plain sight.
Our next visit, a slum directly across the street, was a much different scene. With an arrangement of tarps and oddly constructed huts as shelter, many of us found this to be more of what we were envisioning a slum to be rather than the other communities we have visited so far this trip. Roughly 400 houses with typical family sizes of seven to eight people were illegally settled on this land. Our group gathered around two water storage tanks as people from the slum gathered around us.
We learned the community filled their storage tanks with water pumped from wells, along with water brought by tanker trucks. Before the addition of the storage tank, the community members fought daily for the limited water provided by the tanker trucks (seen below). The trunks came two times a day, providing the village with 20,000 liters of water.
It is amazing to me how two sides of the road can be so different. One side has individual families illegally storing water to have enough to live comfortably for the entire day. The other side of the road is a whole community who is illegally living on unauthorized land, fighting to meet their basic needs for water. Overcoming the shortage of water in Delhi is not an easy task and will require people from every side of the city to join together to come up with a sustainable solution.