Water Woe-nomics – The Rise of Water Hoarders

Water only for 2 hours!!! How will we clean dishes, wash clothes, BATHE!…no water to drink, no water to cook, no water to clean…We are all gonna DIE!!!

While my Paranoid-Obsessive-Compulsive-Melodramatic (POCM) side continues to panic, let me take you through the list of events that invoked so many personalities of mine, in unison. It all began in December 2015… Water supply was provided all days in a week except on a Wednesday and we were advised to store water for drinking and cooking between 6 am and 9 am. This trend was replaced with water-cuts for every Wednesday and Thursday in January 2016 and then Wednesday, Thursday and Friday in early February. And now, water cuts mean that water will be available, every day but only for 2 or sometimes 3 hours every morning with no water supply for the rest of the day. And that’s when my multiple personalities erupted every morning when I exasperatingly addressed to cleaning, washing, bathing, and storing (of water) processes within those 2 to 3 hours.

My reasonable side tried explaining (to myself) that scarcity of water is not an unusual phenomenon especially in suburban Mumbai when water woes have existed irrespective of rainfall. Water is not a free good. And, if it is scarce then it means that our municipalities do not have enough productive resources to fulfil our needs. In other words, it means that the demand for water seems excessively higher than the supply during scarcity, particularly with the summer already setting in.

“Yea, very hot, sweaty summer,… AND! I smell of armpits other than my own”, complained my paranoid self after travelling via multiple modes of transportation for 2 to 3 hours from metropolitan area (where I work) to the suburban area (where I live) of Mumbai. My husband, who usually chose to stay away when my POCM side erupted, reluctantly interrupted and pointed me towards a 300 litre water tank fit in the bathroom. He calmly filled up a bucket of water (from the tank), pulled my arm towards the bathroom door and locked me inside till I kept calm.

It was only then that I could see what my reasonable side tried explaining. Scarcity of any resource does not necessarily involve going to the brink of insanity but making certain choices in our lifestyles one of them being choosing to fit a 300 litre water tank in the bathroom and later fitting another 350 litre water tank in the kitchen like other (calm) residents of our housing society leading to water hoarding.

So we are not gonna die …yet! But is water hoarding good or bad? Is it rational or irrational?

(To be continued)

Note: This blog was first published on CuriousEconomist.in on April 15, 2016 at http://curiouseconomist.in/water-woe-nomics-rise-water-hoarders/


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