The informal water market plays a crucial role in meeting the drinking and domestic water security of peri-urban communities. The increasing reliance on private informal water vendors in all our study villages speaks of their significance.
In the first hour of our field work in Malkaram--another village in peri-urban Hyderabad--for the project Ensuring Water Security in Metropolitan Hyderabad, one thing became very evident.
Every study village of the project, Ensuring Water Security in Metropolitan Hyderabad, has a different situation and a different story to say about the informal water market. However, the most pertinent question remains partially answered: Are informal water tankers good or bad?
Kokapet, one of the study villages for the project ‘Ensuring Water Security in Metropolitan Hyderabad’, was the first village that we visited for field work. Even though we refer to them as ‘villages’, there was very little that we found village-like here.
In Hyderabad, water tankers are the dominant source of daily water supply. Research for the project Ensuring Water Security in Hyderabad Municipal Area gave us some insights into the quality of water carried by these tankers. When the water is pumped from borewells in villages, it is not always transferred to tankers immediately.
Mallampet is a village in Quthbullapur Mandal. It is located about 5–6 km from the municipal boundaries of the Hyderabad city. Like many other villages, Mallampet too has witnessed the disappearance of its lakes, but not all of them are from natural causes. A close study of the political nexus has revealed the interesting case of lake encroachment.
An impromptu weekend plan landed me in Wonderla Amusement Park in Hyderabad. My fear of heights made me go only on those rides that seemed slower and lower. These happened to be the water rides, as they were my safest bet.