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Concern over quality of water supplied by private tankers

With the demand for water going up since the first week of February, many have raised concerns that the water tankers which were thus far used to transport sewage were being deployed to meet the requirement. The tanker operators were charged with violating guidelines for extracting ground water.

Concern over quality of water supplied by private tankers
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People filing water from a tanker (file photo); Drums lined up for sale
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Chennai

“The private tankers are operating without proper license. The sewage tankers are being turned into water carriers when the demand peaks in the city. They only have to spend Rs 10,000 for cleaning the vehicle with bleaching powder. This has been going on for a very long time. But people are not aware of it,” said Ramanujam, a city-based advocate. Though not many users have raised complains regarding the alleged contamination of water, they too charged that the quality of water is so poor that it was unfit for drinking purposes.


“The quality of water supplied by the private water tankers is always substandard. But it is only utilised for purposes other than drinking or cooking. Therefore, we have not raised as an issue so far. In the recent past, the number of waiting days after placing the booking has gone up,” said DS Sivasamy, president of Confederation of Association for Integrated Urban Development.


The secretary of Tiruneermalai Residents’ Welfare Association, P Logaratchagan, said, “Recently, the water tanker lorries have started selling a pot of water for Rs 8 citing increase in demand for the water.” Unlike the Metro Water tanker lorries, the private operators supply untreated water to the residents. Tanker operators said there have not received any complains about the quality of water because it is being used for purposes other than drinking. “But we still ensure that water supplied to the customers meets a basic standard. I have never received even a single complain from the residents about alleged contamination of water,” said A Palanisamy, owner of a private tanker in Pallavaram.


When asked about the alleged exploitation of groundwater, senior PWD officials said indiscriminate extraction of water is illegal. “The extraction of groundwater will soon change as the Centre has brought a new notification. The procedure is that those extracting groundwater has to get prior permission from the Ground Water wing of the PWD.”

Drum sales soar due to water crisis

Mercury is rising steadily, so is the sale of drums used to store water, with an increasing number of residents thronging the shops to buy them.


“Since the first week of February, I have been selling more drums than I sold in January. As the summer approaches, the demand for the drums are increasing,” said a shop keeper selling household items.


Residents said they anticipated water scarcity in the coming weeks due to the failed monsoon and the reduction of water supply by Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB).


“Our house owner stopped providing bore water after groundwater level dipped in our area. As of now, we are getting Metrowater on alternate days and that too only for a short duration. We are using the available water carefully to see through the summer,” M Vishnupriya, a resident of Choolaimedu said. On Saturday, Vishnupriya bought a drum to save water, joining many others.


Receiving orders from across the city, wholesale dealers said they were struggling to meet the demand for the past few weeks.


The cost of drums ranges from Rs 150 to Rs 1,000 based on the size and quality. “ From February, every day I am selling more than 300 drums of various sizes,” S Antony, a wholesale dealer in KK Nagar, said. “I buy drums from manufactures in Trichy, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai and other places,” Antony added. Meanwhile, as of Saturday, the water storage in Poondi, Cholavaram, Chembarambakkam and Redhills lakes stood at 980 mcft against the combined total storage of 11,257 mcft. The lakes had 5,133 mcft on the same day last year.

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