Walking down the street near the old Ajmera School in Borivli West today, I came across this:
In case the picture isn’t clear, this is a dog drinking at a leaking water connection. Take a close look:
I couldn’t get a better picture. It got scared and ran away. Actually, when I saw it, there were two dogs drinking there, mouth to mouth. It actually was looking very pretty, like a pose for a photo. Unfortunately, the minute I showed even a little attention, this one got wary and the other one plain ran away. So I had only one model to shoot.
I find a couple of things very disturbing about this. One is the attention given to leaking taps. In a country, rather world, where drinking water is an issue, this connection was leaking like a regular tap left on. I wonder how many of these are in Mumbai, and how much of the water crisis could be solved by simply getting them repaired. In an area that looks pretty parched from the summer, the gutter next to it had about 3-4 inches of water in it, which dried out about 5 meters or so, on both sides from the tap. Obviously this little oasis was from the tap.
The other thing I find disturbing is that a bunch of street dogs are drinking straight from the water connection that probably comes to my home too. How’s that for maintaining the purity of drinking water? Hardly anyone in Mumbai boils or filters drinking water, as it is generally very safe to drink. Could freak accident epidemics be happening from incidences like this?
If I make a complaint, I dare say a standard complacent reply will be issued with someone assuring me that it will be repaired – eventually – one fine day. If I speak about contamination and stuff, they will bring to my notice that water is flowing out, not into the system, so the chances of contamination are low. Government departments are well practiced in the art of deflecting anything that would mean actually taking prompt action. It is very comfortable to continue on auto pilot.
But I will still be making that complaint and following up on it personally till the problem is solved. It’s the least I can do about the water problems we are facing.
Also disturbing to me, is the fact that if I can walk around for half an hour almost anywhere in Mumbai, I’m likely to find a broken/damaged/leaking public tap, connection or pipe or similar. How much water we as a city are really wasting? WHY?
And the thing that gives me the creeps is that my home is quite far from any main water supply of the city. How many such “compromised” points lie between the purification unit and main tanks and the water that reached my tap? Should I really be drinking this water at all? And, in a developing country, with a reputation for most of the public not having access to drinking water, is the little public that is supposed to have it, also not really getting it?
How much quality can be added to existing water supply facilities simply by including careful maintenance and strict hygiene?
I hope anyone reading this makes it a point to promote awareness of this among people they know. We as a people can report every single point we find that wastes water and opens the main supply for contamination and insist on action.