The non-availability of water remains one of the most problematic issues in Ahmedabad, India. The ever-increasing population has also added to the complexity of this problem and has made it difficult to provide water services efficiently, because of the vast gap in the financial, technical and administrative capability. On the other hand, the demand for water keeps rising due to improvements in people’s living standards, which has resulted in ground water depletion exploitation.
A few months back, while heading the Water Educators Training programme, I was looking for possible innovative experiments in the water sector. I came across a niche level transition experiment of water meter initiated by Shri Bharat Moradiya, a resident engineer in the Gota area, who was trying to improve the water situation in Ahmedabad.
One of the most crucial issues remains the increasing pressure on ground water. The supply of the water through the pipeline from a reservoir situated far away from the city have made the surface water supply network insufficient and costly. It has thus becomes difficult to fulfil the demands of a growing population for clean water. The shift away from the rain water harvesting tradition at the household level to the overuse of underground water has also deteriorated this situation in the city of Ahmedabad.
The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is trying to improve the current situation of metering, billing and tariffing the provision of surface water by imposing a house tax. Several families and apartments are also relying on the management of their own bore wells and tariff collection system.
In order to achieve this sustainable development of water, several necessary conditions are needed. As the case of the Shukan Residency situated in Gota has proved, the financial support of the residents is crucial for installing the water meter. This residency succeeded in changing the entire existing infrastructure of the pipeline. This important socio-technical intervention brought about a radical shift in the system at a wider scale. People have also started to change their behavior and taking the following actions after an awareness drive: repairing leaking taps immediately, turning off water while brushing their teeth and shaving, replacing the use of shower with the bucket for bathing, stopping the overflow of water while cleaning utensils and so on.
The most important thing is the change in people’s mentality and their increasing efforts to saving water and adapting to the improved system of the water meter. Time and science will bring in even more developed solutions to the water problem in.
About the author:
Vandana Pandya is working as a Researcher with CITE-MIT, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Cambridge. Her current research topic is solar powered water pumps. She has worked in India since 1987 and has hands-on experience in sustainable technologies in diverse fields such as smokeless Chula, improved charcoal, sanitary pad, reverse osmosis and water conservation.