As the high temperatures continue to fluctuate in Northern India, the water crisis, especially in the National Capital, has left people hot and worried. In Delhi-NCR, various areas are reeling under water shortage or dealing with highly contaminated water.

Both situations have impacted the day-to-day life of citizens. Tanya Singh, who lives in Vasant Kunj in South Delhi, is seven months pregnant and has been facing acute water shortage.

Speaking to The Citizen she said that the water comes for half an hour any time in the morning or afternoon. “I fill buckets of water during that time. There is no water to take baths, or do menial things,” she said, adding that the issues have been ongoing for way more than two weeks.

Living in a Delhi Development Authority (DDA) built apartment block, Tanya said that complaints have been filed by various residents but to no avail. “I can’t believe we have to face such a major issue that has disrupted our lives. I was told that other areas are also facing such issues. I hope the government does something about it,” she added.

Meanwhile, in Jasola Shaheen Bagh slum area, residents who have already been facing a water crisis said that it has increased, making their lives miserable. “There is no supply of water and we have to travel far away to get water,” a resident said.

Megha, a resident of Kailash Colony has been dealing with water shortage since the past two months. “As a working professional it has become hard to deal with this water issue. I get up at 4 am just to see if the water is pumping through, but it does not even fill half the tank,” she added.

Ironically, Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is known to thump his chest for providing free water and electricity to slum areas of Delhi. “They might give it to other areas, we have no supply water here,” the resident added.

In mid-March, several areas of New Delhi suffered from water shortages. Even the Supreme Court, the Parliament, and the city’s prominent hospitals did not remain untouched by this crisis during the hot and humid summer.

However, Somnath Bharti, Vice-chairman of Delhi Jal Board, denied that Delhi was facing any ‘summer-specific’ water shortage.

Bharti added that the Kejriwal government had several ambitious plans to increase the water capacity of the city.

These plans mainly include the rejuvenation of lakes or recharging the groundwater level. “Under this project, we will create artificial lakes or rejuvenate natural lakes. Along with this, with the help of water harvesting, the groundwater level will also be increased in the area,” added Bharti.

In April, this year, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) said that since water production is low, citizens will receive water at low pressure from April 3 till the situation improves.

However, later the same month DJB filed a petition before the Delhi High Court averring that the Yamuna water coming from Haryana is so high in pollutants that it would adversely affect the health of Delhi residents.

Akshay Gupta, a resident of Dwarka Sector – 8 in West Delhi, is still taking medicines after he suffered from a stomach infection last month. According to Gupta, the water in his area was smelling like sewage and became unusable.

“Last month when it rained quite a bit, we faced this issue where the water was dirty and smelled really bad. A few days later while the water was clean, it was smelling so bad we could not use it,” he said.

The local doctor in the area, who did not want to be named, told The Citizen that she received many complaints from the residents in the area about stomach infection. “There was a similar pattern of stomach infection in half the people living in the area,” she said. Many residents in the area complained of diarrheal, stomach cramps and nausea.

On June 20, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a review meeting with DJB asked them to come up with a comprehensive plan to provide a permanent solution for the affected areas, in a bid to tackle the root causes of water contamination here.

The meeting, according to a media statement, aimed to discuss future strategies to ensure the timely implementation of the permanent solution.

Delhi’s Water Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj, Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Somnath Bharti and senior DJB officials were present in the review meeting.

“If there is a problem of contaminated water anywhere, it should be eliminated completely. The identification of the areas where contaminated water is being received should be ensured, and a detailed plan should be prepared for its permanent solution, followed by immediate implementation,” Kejriwal said.

He also ordered DJB officials to promptly replace any pipes that were causing the problem of contaminated water. “This water should be taken to artificial lakes, and picnic spots should be developed around these lakes so that people can have a pleasant experience. Later, when the groundwater level around these lakes rises, the water will be extracted using tube wells,” Kejriwal added.

Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva said Delhi had been facing a severe water crisis. “Last week, BJP had raised the issue of supply of dirty water from boring in Delhi due to which diseases are spreading. It is regrettable that many days after the issue was raised by BJP and several newspapers, Delhi government is still trying to get the information,” he added.

On Saturday, the Delhi unit of BJP held a protest at the Jal Board headquarters in Jhandewalan over a shortage of water and dirty water supply in the city. The protest was led by Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva, Leader of Opposition Ramvir Bidhuri, MP Ramesh Bidhuri and MP Parvesh Verma.

Addressing the gathering, the Delhi BJP President, Virendra Sachdeva, said, "A private company was hired for collecting water bills. The money was collected but despite giving it to DJB, it was deposited in a private bank."

Sachdeva added that DJB was a profitable body but it is facing losses because of the Kejriwal government. "DJB has become a white elephant," he said. The Citizen reached out to DJB officials for comments, but they have yet to reply.

In Uttar Pradesh’s Noida meanwhile the water is so contaminated that it looks brown. Speaking to The Citizen, Aabha, a resident of an apartment in Noida said that it has been months since they are getting brown contaminated water.

“We have not been able to use this water at all as it is so dirty. We have been using water bottles,” she added.

Several residents of the Gaur Sportswood housing society in Sector 78, Noida, have fallen ill in the past few days with skin infections, typhoid, and diarrhoea. Residents complained to the society maintenance team, however, the situation remains the same.

Many are using bottled water for daily use as they face water shortage amid the scorching heat.