The business of water

about 5 months ago
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Wherever there is scarcity, there is an opportunity. And that is true when the scarcity is even for the most basic necessities of life – water. Yes, in India, we all know there exists the water mafia – the guys who own the tankers and supply water to high rises; most of the times, these tankers are owned by political leaders and they make super duper money, cashing in on this scarcity, sometimes created to ensure their business does not run slack.

In Zimbabwe, water has become a business. Right from the youth who make money by digging wells to illegal sellers supplying water in buckets and large tanks, everyone seems to be making money out of this desperate need to get water.

Zimbabwe's long-standing water supply problems have been worsened by a severe drought ravaging the southern African region. Taps in large parts of the country run dry for several days in a week, including the capital Harare, as part of government imposed restrictions. Scenes of people carrying 20-litre buckets of water on their heads or pushing wheelbarrows laden with water drums from mobile tankers are a daily occurrence. Illegal water traders there sell water between $0.50 and $1 for a 20-litre bucket of water. And this in a country where as per the World Bank, average income per person in Zimbabwe is less than $2.50 per day.

Is this where we in India are also heading? The horror is Chennai is still fresh in the mind and with summer knocking on the door, we cannot help but wonder whether our parched days are also soon to begin…

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