mid-day editorial: Timely action is critical to save water

This paper had reported recently that thousands of litres of water had been wasted every day for 1.5 months, from a burst water pipeline near the Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR). It took a front-page report in this paper to wake civic officials from a convenient coma, but the leak was finally plugged.

Yet, the same pipeline keeps getting punctured by vandals, frustrating the officials who have to keep going back to repair the leak. Seen in the light of the severe drought conditions faced by 16,800 villages in Maharashtra, this is a criminal waste of water.

The city is in the throes of a water crunch as well. There are residential pockets of the city that are getting water only 20 minutes a day. There have been a number of messages posted on WhatsApp groups, requesting people to play a waterless Holi this time. Housing societies across Mumbai are also putting up notices to members exhorting them to play a waterless Holi, to save as much water as possible. BJP corporator and MLA Ameet Satam also urged the BMC to impose a fine of up to R50,000 on those who insist on playing with water during Holi.

While these are commendable steps to conserve water, it is disheartening to see colossal amounts of water being wasted at the JVLR pipeline. One would like to see quick action in that case, with the police nabbing the vandals repeatedly making holes in the pipe. The action should be harsh and unrelenting, so that it acts as a deterrent to others.

Having said that, civic officials too need to act quickly on complaints of leakages. As a local resident had pointed out, water had been leaking there for 1.5 months, but the authorities did nothing till the issue was highlighted by this paper.

In an ideal world, the culprits would recognise the criminal waste and stop the vandalism themselves, but perhaps that is asking for too much. What we need now is swift action — in nabbing culprits, taking cognisance of complaints and also repairing faulty pipelines.

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