With climate climate being responsible for deadly heat waves the people of Delhi are in a jam. The city itself has urbanized to such an extent that the whole city is a heat island. Temperatures continue to climb and a rise of 150% in heat waves has killed at least 100 people recently.
More and more people will be exposed to these heat waves in the future and so the availability of clean water is paramount. And this is why Delhi has a problem; fights over water are now happening in villages in the city, usually affecting low level income areas.
Before, when the monsoon rains would come, the excess rains could be stored in check dams, step wells and natural drains. The city planners would respect the topography of the area. But now, all this has been abandoned in the past decades. People began boring holes in the ground for deep water and forgot about water conservation.
With this neglect one can add massive urbanization and the paving of the areas that used to catch excess rain. The water table is now lower as there is less moisture in the ground as too much concrete prevents water from seeping in.
With as much as 40% of Delhi’s water supply lost due to leakages and theft, providing water to its people is now haphazard. With heat waves on the increase such mismanagement could be dangerous.
Naturally it is the government that has to implement solutions to this problem. Less pavement or more porous pavement would be a solution, but returning to age old practices of water conservation seems to be the best alternative.