Drinking Water Scarcity Looms Large Over the State
By NR Madhusudhan | Published: 05th May 2014 08:27 AM |
The acute water shortage and mid summer heat have made life miserable across the state.
Not just Bangalore, which relies heavily on the river Cauvery, and water starved districts like Chikballapur, Kolar and Bagalkot, even parts of Shimoga and Chikmagalur, which are among the districts that receive the highest annual rainfall, are starved of water this summer.
Even in Madikeri, water supply has been affected due to frequent power disruption.
The situation is not different in other districts and the government is spending Rs 516 crore to address the issue.
While people are shelling out Rs 50 for 20 litres of packaged mineral water in some of the newly added areas of Bangalore its exurbs, those in rural areas of Gadag, Kolar, Chikballapur, Bagalkot and Bijapur among others have to walk some distance for potable drinking water.
Even in Tumkur district, people are forced to buy drinking water.
Cases of water-borne diseases because of consumption of contaminated water is increasing in parts of Belgaum district.
According to the sources, tanks and lakes in most of the districts have dried up. As water has become scarce, the district authorities have started supplying turbid water in Gulbarga district and untested water from private water sources in Belgaum district.
Unable to provide water to their cattle, farmers in Kolar, Chikballapur and some northern districts are selling them at throwaway prices.
Private water sellers are making the most of the situation. While a 4,000 litre tanker of water is being sold at around Rs 1,000 in some parts of Bangalore, borewell owners in rural areas of the state are earning as much as Rs 14,000 a month just by selling water.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H K Patil said: “We are doing everything that is humanly possible to address the issue and to ensure that the people and their cattle receive adequate water. The executive officer in each taluk and the Chief Executive Officer in each Zilla Panchayat have been instructed to receive complaints related to water scarcity and address them within eight hours. We have also started a call centre to receive complaints from across the state and all the complaints would be addressed.”
“Officials have been instructed to flush or conduct hydrofracturing, a test to explore the presence of water in aquifers, to explore the possibility of reviving dried-up borewells and drill new borewells wherever necessary. We have Rs 240 crore with us, the government has allocated Rs 176 core in the budget and the Chief Minister sanctioned a special grant of Rs 100 crore to address the issue,” Patil added.
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) Engineer-in-chief T Venkatraju said: “The district minister has instructed us to supply water at `19 per kilolitre through water tankers to the 110 villages that were newly added to the city. We are supplying water twice a week to the other newly added areas. Those who have not regularised the water connections in the newly added areas are wasting a lot of water”.
“So we are planning to cut off their water supply to improve the supply to those who have regularised their connections. The water supply in the core areas of the city is adequate and we are hardly receiving any complaints from these. We are also supplying water through tankers to areas that have not received water supply. We have taken enough measures to address the issue,” Venkatraju added.
If you are not receiving adequate water supply in Bangalore, call 22238888, the BWSSB’s call centre, to lodge your complaint.
Call 1800-425-8666 to register your grievances related to water supply and scarcity if you are from other parts of the state.
— With inputs from Karnataka Bureaux
Similar reports have been received from other districts including Bagalkot, Chamarajanagar, Bellary, Bidar, Ramanagaram, Chitradurga, Haveri, Tumkur, rural areas of Mysore and Yadgir.