In Nerkundram, every day the struggle for water means not just rationing of the limited supply but also fighting intrusive neighbours who claim a share of it.
Naveen Kumar Sathya, a resident of the locality and a flat owner of an apartment complex with about 40 flats, says, “Since we do not have a Metro Water connection, we have been storing water directly into the sintex tanks on our premises. We get about 2,000 litres of water every day. This has to be rationed out between the flats, as there are around 150 residents. Though it is less, we have a regular supply. The street adjoining us has a severe crisis and the residents from there have been threatening and badgering us to share whatever water we get with them.”
He adds that it is impossible for them to distribute it among more households, as it would mean just about 10-20 litres per household. He said, “But the Metro Water officials have also told us we have to share it, if that is the case.”
The war over water is not just in Nerkundram, since the city began reeling under severe water scarcity, a few weeks ago, there have been instances of quarrels. The quarrels tend to take an ugly turn too. Just a week ago, a couple in Anakaputhur was attacked by their neighbour during a fight over switching on the motor.
In Ekkaduthangal, the ground floor flat occupants in a three storey building have managed to store water over the night, when the motor was switched on, leaving the other two floor occupants with just a few feet of water. Mani, who stays on the second floor said, “We just have one bucket left now. They have managed to successfully divert a major share of water to a tank inside their homes. No amount of reasoning or arguments has worked.”
In Porur, after several months of planning before construction, the residents of a three storey building have managed to find ways to keep reserves of water that has helped them overcome scarcity. Chandra, a resident, said, “However, we have had neighbours who pester us to spare some water for them at least once a week. It is difficult explaining to them that it is not that we have an abundant water supply. We have also been rationing it out and recycling water from the ROs used in our homes to not face scarcity.”