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Drinking Water : Conclusions

It becomes clear that the supply of drinking water from SSP is beset with problems and uncertainties. It is unclear how much water will actually be available. It is unclear how many people are expected to benefit from the supply of drinking water. It is unclear how much the project will cost, who will pay for it, and where the money is going to come from. It is unclear when the water is going to reach the people. It would be very useful to compare these uncertainties with the actual plan for the supply of drinking water, but there is no plan!

There is no reasonable explanation for the lack of a comprehensive plan for drinking water. The rhetorical value of "parched throats" and "water for 40 million people" seems to far outweigh actual planning effort put into evolving a workplan. The detailed project report was supposed to be available by the end of 1992 (NCA 1991), but has not put in an appearance so far. There is no way to determine how detailed or feasible the plan will be, if indeed it is ever prepared. The SSP authorities have abdicated responsibility for the plan, its execution and its financing to the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board, a body whose "study" wants to supply water to uninhabited villages!

Everything seems to indicate that the Ahmedabad-Baroda corridor will get as much water as it needs from the SSP. The GWSSB recently allocated a sizable quantity of SSP water to Baroda in direct contravention of their own directives, using "recalculated figures" to show that more water was available due to high efficiency in transportation (in a hypothetical system which does not even exist on paper!). This was done shortly after the Baroda Municipal Corporation voted to bring SSP waters to the city. Powerful urban centres all over Gujarat are likely to react similarly, and their political clout will ensure that their demands will be met. But for the people of Kutch and Saurashtra the assurance of drinking water appears to be a cruel hoax.



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