BANGALORE: The city of lakes is now experiencing near drought conditions. Every drop of water is so precious, that water wars are not a distant possibility but imminent reality. More so in North and East Bangalore, areas which are worst affected this summer.
There are 12,260 public borewells in Bangalore; of which about 7,000 borewells fall under Bangalore North and South regions. When City Express spoke to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) Engineer-in-chief T Venkatraju, he said, “About 40 per cent of the borewells have gone dry and most of them fall under Bangalore North and East region. The reason is depleting ground water. Also, several areas come under the tail end of the water supply. The peripheral areas will get relief once Cauvery IV stage, 2nd phase is commissioned.”
Even before the dawn breaks, hundreds stand in serpentine queues in front of bore wells or public taps to collect drinking water. BWSSB supplies water to these areas (see box) through 25 tankers. “We are supplying three to five loads of water daily. With the increase in population and vertical development of these areas, the groundwater table has dropped drastically. Earlier, a borewell that yielded water for hours together, now runs only for 30 minutes,” Venkatraju said.
Water experts and environmentalists have repeatedly stressed on the importance of water conservation in a city that was one dotted with lakes. Reckless growth of the city without understanding the impact of population explosion led to exploitation of existing water resources. Since sustainable development was not in governing bodies’ long term plans, it has led to the current situation — lakes and underground water channels running dry. That water is not available at 500-600 feet is alarming. Venkatraju said that the total yield of all borewells has dropped to 25MLD in comparison to 45 MLD last summer.
Karnataka Ground Water Authority:
The rules and regulations, framed for setting up Karnataka Ground Water Authority, have been approved by the legal department and has been sent for final notification. On implementation, permission must be taken from the authority to sink borewells. Rigs which drill borewells should also register with the Authority. Commercial water supply units will be fixed with meters and monitored.
Hope for the future: BWSSB is laying pipelines in the seven erstwhile City Municipal Councils and 111 villages, which have been included into the corporation limits. Those areas will get water only after the completion of second phase of the Cauvery fourth stage after September.