New Delhi: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Monday identified water scarcity as the biggest challenge facing the national capital and cautioned that the situation may worsen in the next five years if concrete steps to address the issue are not taken.
Speaking at an event organised by industry chamber CII, Dikshit noted that population of Delhi was increasing significantly and the per capita consumption of water was probably one of the highest in the world so the city may have to face "great trouble" in the next few years if supply of raw water does not go up.
"We will face great trouble in the next five to seven years if we do not address the issue. Scarcity of water is the main challenge facing the city and we will have to seriously address the issue," Dikshit said.
Asserting that government was trying its best to rationalise distribution of water, the Chief Minister said there was a need to cut consumption of water and urged industry leaders to help government in overcoming the challenge.
"We are emphasising on rationalising distribution of water because the per capita consumption of water in Delhi is the highest in the country, probably one of the highest in the world. The per capita consumption is 272 litres of water. This is a kind of wastage," she said.
The current average demand for potable water in Delhi is around 1,100 mgd (million gallons per day) and the Delhi Jal Board supplies around 800 mgd water across the city after treating raw water in its treatment plants.
The demand is projected to touch around 1,400 mgd by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan in 2017. Delhi relies heavily on neighbouring states such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for the supply of raw water.
Large parts of the city witnessed a severe water shortage last summer and people even resorted to violent protests in many localities.
Earlier this year, the Delhi Government had asked 35 five-star hotels to take immediate steps to cut down their consumption and directed them to set up waste water treatment plants.
The government for the some time has been considering hiking water tariff significantly to cut wastage of the natural resource.
In her address, Dikshit also identified housing as another challenge facing the city and exhorted private sector to come up with low cost housing for common citizens.
"Housing is a major issue. The reason why Delhi has not been able to catch up with other major capital cities of the world is because of lack housing which has resulted in mushrooming of unauthorised colonies and slums," she said.
On her government`s achievement, Dikshit said development works carried out in the last few years have been "visible" and there was no need to explain them.
"I do not want to say what is happening in Delhi as you can see for yourself and feel what is happening here," she said.
Noting that government has been focusing on strengthening public transport system, she said it will be further improved.
"We have a wonderful airport. We have an efficient metro network. Public transport is good in Delhi but it needs lot of improvement. In the next few years, we will try to make public transport more hassle free," Dikshit said.
The Chief Minister also spoke about multiplicity of authorities and said despite the "hurdles" her government could perform and make the city a better place to live.
"Multiplicity of authorities in Delhi is a major problem. Multiplicity of authorities did not stop us from performing. Yes, it has slowed down the work to an extent," Dikshit said adding that not having power over land was also a hurdle in implementing various projects.
Noting that solid waste disposal is another problem facing the city, Dikshit sought help of the private sector in finding a solution to it.
Delhi, which is the largest municipal solid waste producer in the country, generates over 7,000 metric tonnes of solid wastes every day followed by Mumbai with 6,500 tonnes.
"Disposal of waste is another major problem confronting us. We need help of the private sector to overcome the challenge," she said.
In her address, Dikshit highlighted performance of health and education sectors in the city and said government-run hospitals and schools have improve their performance significantly in the last few years.
She said though the city was facing number of challenges, still it was one of the best cities in India to live.
"It is comfortable city. With all humility, I would like to say that I am yet to come across any bureaucrat, politician, businessman or a person from corporate sector who comes to Delhi for work and goes back to place of his origin," she said.