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Water is a precious resource in India and can not always be taken for granted. The agricultural areas depend on the success on the monsoon from July through to September, light rains may result in poor crops. The state of Gujarat has had a drought over the last couple of years but this monsoon some areas have been hit by floods.
The other main concern is adequate drinking water. Amongst the expat community and in many Indian households no one risks the tap water, but have water filters fitted or use bottled water.
This is our water filter situated in the kitchen. We tend to use this for cooking with and hot drinks. We tend to drink mineral water for taste reasons, it has a better flavour. Brand of choice is Himalayan (18 rps a litre). At work Andy get given a bottle of Kinley which is treated water (12rps a litre). This is produced by Coca-Cola and is more successful here than Darsini was at home.
When eating out we often have bottled water. It is often presented to you by the waiters in the same way a bottle of wine would be presented at home. Sometimes they will ask you to check the bottle for temperature, that is is cold enough for you.
Many offices and domestic homes have water dispensers using the large bottles of water. This of course relies on efficient deliveries which is not guaranteed, or holding a backup stock which takes a lot of space. Of course the method of delivery is also somewhat different here.
Water supply is a big problem in the City and surrounding areas. Whilst some say there is a lack of water, many more and the local newspapers tend to blame the Delhi Water Board for poor management of the infrastructure resulting in much of the supply being lost in leaks. In some areas people illegally tap into the mains, or drill bore wells which further depletes the ground water levels. There is a system of tanker deliveries when the mains is not working, but drivers are often accused of taking bribes to divert these to industrial sectors. Whatever the reasons many households will find themselves without mains supply for many hours in the day, or sometimes for days at a time.
To reduce the effect of this private houses often will have underground tanks or roof tanks or both for extra storage. Also the mains is sometime low in pressure so pumps are required to move the water up to the roof tanks. The ground tanks are often the first item constructed on a new building plot. It then provides the water supply for the building work and the workers and their families who camp next to the site during construction.
This picture shows tanks on the houses' roofs . Often three storey houses like these may have an apartment on each floor and there is a tank for each of these floors.
To the left of the group of people is the underground water tank for this property. Once the building is completed it will be covered over. In the bottom left of the picture is the temporary living quarters of the builders and their families. On some sites you just see makeshift tents. On others, like this one, crude brick out houses are made with corrugated iron or tarpaulins for roofs. It is very common to see women working on these sites as well, usually carrying the materials for the men who are using them. The children will play around the site. These sites would give inspectors from the HSE at home a heart attack!
Most blocks will contain a water tower in their area, this one is in our neighbouring block. Many areas also have proactive rain harvesting systems to increase collection of water to replenish the ground levels. This is another reason for the importance of a good monsoon.
Once you have your water supply you may wish to heat it. As there is no gas central heating here, water heating is achieved by electricity and each bathroom and kitchen comes with a geyser unit.
As you can see it is not that large so most baths here tend to be small in size, otherwise you would never get a full tub of hot water, it would also not be a very efficient use of the water. Also during the summer we have found that we do not need to heat the water. The source from the cold tap is hot enough to have a shower in.
So far at Laburnum we have been fortunate in not losing any supply of water. However the complex management do send out regular reminders on conserving water usage and encouraging people not to use hosepipes for cleaning cars and balconies.
A tale from one expat looking for a property to rent - saw one with no baths in the house, on enquiring why she was told, why would we have baths? there's never any water! Not a resource to be taken for granted.
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