Prices for Black Market Water in Delhi

According to government estimates, the population of 17 million in Delhi requires 1.025 billion gallons of water a day. Due to limitations in water pipes and supply, there is a water shortage of 207 million gallons every day.

The shortages has led to a black market where private tankers to bring in water from neighboring areas and wells. In one neighborhood, the quoted price of bringing a water tank to a neighborhood was $23.71 (1,500 Indian Rupees) in the winter and $47.41 (3,000 Rupees) for the summer.

Another tank operator, who charges $47.41 (3,000 Rupees) for a 5,000 liter tanker, told the media that he pays $157 to $473 (10,000 to 30,000 Rupees) to police in bribes when he is stopped driving his tanker.

The Delhi government is only able to account for 37 percent of the water supply and does not know where the remaining 63 percent ends up. Security and financial officers estimate that black market water sellers in India could be making millions of dollars each year.

(Effects of corruption on governments worldwide.)

Source:  Sai Mahish, “Black Market for Water Expands in Delhi,” New York Times, India Ink, September 18, 2013.