BENGALURU: Doomsday-like prophecies about Bengaluru running out of water in the next few years notwithstanding, the coming summer and at least all the following summers till 2035 will not witness any water shortage in the city. As far as engineered water supply is concerned — which includes all the operational four stages of Cauvery water supply schemes and the planned fifth stage to be commissioned in 2023 — the city will not have any water problems till 2035, according to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) chairman Tushar Girinath. He is also confident about the option of drawing water from the Sharavati river in Shivamogga after that.
Experts too feel that up to 2035 if the population does not cross 2 crore, 29 tmc feet of water from Cauvery river and an additional 2.5 tmc ft from Yettinahole would be enough to sustain the city. After that, depending on the growth of the city, drawing water from Sharavati would be the only viable option.
Bengaluru gets about 1,400 million litres daily (MLD) of water, and with the commissioning of the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme Stage V in 2023, another 775 MLD of water is expected to be added to this volume, which would cater to about 110 villages surrounding Bengaluru.
Bengaluru presently uses 1,391 MLD of water, as per a study conducted by Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE). Of this, at least 995 MLD is consumed for domestic purposes while the rest is for commercial and industrial consumption. Of the total consumption by the city, Cauvery water caters to 678 MLD, groundwater 672 MLD and recycled water 41 MLD.
However, the total regularised pumping of the four existing stages of Cauvery water supply scheme totals to 1,340 MLD, besides 60 MLD of excess pumping done in all four stages daily — which comes to 1,400 MLD of water from Cauvery water supply schemes alone.
This should well take care of the ATREE study finding that about 10 percent of Bengalureans using 342 litres of water per capita per day (lpcd), which is well in excess of the 135 lpcd prescribed by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation. The ATREE study, however, found that about 50 per cent of domestic consumers among Bengalureans consume less than 90 lpcd.
The scenario presents a feel-good picture not only for the coming summer months for Bengaluru, but — if the figures hold up well — for the years to come, too.
A WORD OF CAUTION
However, while the city is likely to hold up well for the summer months, what is disturbing is the man-made degeneration of the city’s own water status.
In his talk on this year’s World Water Day theme of ‘Nature for water’, Indian Institute of Science (IISc) director Prof Anurag Kumar had alerted that the catchment water areas in the city had been contaminated due to sewage and usage of fertilisers.
“The groundwater levels have sunk so low,” he said.
This apart, the worrying feature of the city’s groundwater levels dropping would make it only imperative for Bengalureans to increasingly depend on Cauvery water supply or the only other alternative of harvesting rainwater.
However, there is a lack of enthusiasm among the denizens of the city to install rainwater harvesting systems to ensure steady water storage and supply all round the year. Almost nine years after initiating mandatory rainwater harvesting measures for buildings coming up after 2009, BWSSB has installed about 10 lakh water connections. But this pathetically compares to rainwater harvesting installations being implemented in about 80,000 households — and there are about 20 lakh properties, according to BBMP records.
AREAS COVERED BY CAUVERY WATER SUPPLY SCHEME:
I Stage: (Ulsoor GLR*): Jayanagar, Johnson Market, Ulsoor, Byrasandra and Banaswadi
II Stage: (Bull Temple Road and Byrasandra GLRs): Vijaynagar, Chamrajpet, Kormanangala, Central Bangalore,
Lal bagh and surrounding areas
III Stage: (High Grounds Reservoir) OMBR area, Aero Engine area, Jeevan Bima Nagar, Malleswaram, R T Nagar, Yeswanthpur and Rajarajeswari Nagar.
IV Stage (Phase-I): (Gublala to GKVK Reservoir): Rajajinagar,
Vijaya Nagar, Peenya and Eastern parts of Bengaluru
IV Stage (Phase-II): (Gubbalala to Hoodi Reservoir): BTM Layout, Sajjapur Road, Varthur, Hoodi and extended parts of various areas.
V Stage (Yet to be commissioned): Plan is to supply 110 villages and areas that do not receive Cauvery water on the outskirts of Bangalore
(*GLR refers to Ground Level Reservoirs)