BANGALORE: Ask BWSSB about its plans to solve the water crisis in summer which is likely to be horrid in Bangalore - pat comes out a list of projects planned. Question any of the officials about how soon the problem will be solved, no one has a clear answer.
Meanwhile, the city’s residential areas have been battling amongst themselves and against the authorities who have turned an insolent back at them. Every day, the city faces a shortage of 600 million litres of water. This means that over 75 percent of households in the city do not get water daily. Areas which have been blessed with water supply get water only once or twice a week. Consequently, the private water tankers are making a fortune.
A single private tank of water, carrying around 4,000 litres, provides water for a single lane in one residential area. Earlier such a tanker was priced anywhere between `350 and 400. Now the same tanker costs about `500. With over 30 residential areas being badly hit by acute shortage of water, these private water tankers are being ordered every alternate day. This has brought a profit of almost `50,000 per month for these tankers - their basic income through water supply in the last two months has crossed several lakhs.
For residents who are left with no other option, apart from lodging several complaints with the BWSSB, ordering private water tankers has become a way of life. Many other residents, meanwhile, battle it out at the borewells in their areas. What has made the matter worse is the summer which is staring at us. And with no immediate solutions available with the water board, it seems like private water tankers are set to make more business this time.
“We have been supplying water to many areas in North Bangalore for many years now. We used to charge `300 initially, but now we are charging `500. This is because water availability has decreased and we are being charged more to procure this water in the first place,” said Manjunath Raj, a private tanker owner.
Meanwhile, the residents complain that the increased cost affects their pockets as they have to pay the regular water bill in the first place. “We pay the BWSSB for not giving any water supply. Then we have to pay for these water tankers too. It is surprising how these private water tankers have jacked up their prices too and there are no solutions available. Every month we end up spending `7,500 along with paying a bill to the BWSSB around `400,” said Halim Pasha, a resident of Tannery Road.
On the other hand, just concluding two back to back seminars and conferences discussing the water woes in the city, the BWSSB is still tongue-tied when it comes to offering immediate solutions for the problem in summer.
When Express tried to reach senior officials, they deliberated about how projects are being undertaken.
A senior level officer revealed that although solutions are at hand, in the form of various projects and the Cauvery drinking water phases, these solutions are only going to work after the summer.
“We are trying to strike an equilibrium between demand and supply. We are aware of the impending problems that the city is facing and we are trying to fix the problem as soon as possible,” commented a senior BWSSB official, on conditions of anonymity.
In the meantime, the city is also headed towards saving the lakes which will eventually prove to be important water bodies. The officials explained that the Cauvery IV Stage II Phase project which is expected to be completed by March end provide provide an additional 500 MLD of water to the city.
The critics, however, explain that this will not meet the growing demand for water, if leakage is not plugged and water reuse is not made compulsory.