The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Great bathing ghat
- Thirstiest of all, city tops water chart

Mumbai, March 30: Calcutta is not clean but Calcuttans should be.

Calcuttans are scrubbing themselves clean more vigorously than their compatriots in other big cities, turning themselves into chart-busting water-guzzlers.

But the city is still thirsting for more: 31 per cent of its needs cannot be quenched with the available water.

A study on domestic water consumption shows that Calcutta tops seven cities.

An average household in the city was found using 445.5 litres a day as against 407.1 litres in Mumbai and 400.1 in New Delhi.

Calcutta also has a higher rate of per person consumption of water. A Calcuttan uses 115.6 litres of water per day while a Mumbaikar makes do with 90.4 litres and a Delhiite 78 litres.

The residents of Calcutta use a large quantity of this wa-ter for bathing, an unavoidable preoccupation considering the pollution levels in the city.

As much as 37 per cent - the single largest segment in the city ' of the water consumed is used in bathing in Calcutta. Delhi uses 32 per cent for the same purpose while Mumbai is trying to cope with 24 per cent.

The study was carried out by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in collaboration with research firm Mode Modellers in seven cities ' Calcutta, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Madurai and Ahmedabad. As many as 12,880 people - 2,234 families ' were surveyed. Four hundred of these families live in Calcutta.

An ominous finding of the survey was that 65 per cent of the households are water deficient. It showed that north India faces the highest rate of water deficiency.

Mumbai has over 17.35 lakh households which do not get enough water, followed by New Delhi with 14.73 lakh households. Calcutta stood third with an estimated 4.36 lakh households deemed water deficient.

"Personal hygiene and washing seem to be the main guzzlers," said Abdul Shaban, who headed the study.

The respondents picked washing clothes as the activity that wasted more water than bathing.

They believed that washing clothes, bathing and cleaning utensils consumed the maximum amount of water and resulted in wastage.

"Scarcity, pollution and misman agement of water resources have land ed us in dire condition. Our cities have expanded rapidly, but there hasn't been enough investment or attention paid to water supply needs. We felt it

imperative to understand the patterns of water usage and find effective solu

tion to conserve water in urban India," Shaban said.

He advocated water conservation through efficient use and reduction of wastage.

"Use a bucket of water instead of the shower for bathing. Use low sud detergents for washing clothes, which will help save 50 per cent of water wastage. Recycle water from kitchen and bathrooms for other purposes like gardening," Shaban said.

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