More than 40 per cent of the 12,909 borewells, owned by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), have dried up in the last few years due to severe groundwater depletion.
BWSSB’s Engineer-in-Chief T Venkatraju told Express: “Nearly 80 per cent of the borewells fitted with hand pumps and more than 40 per cent of the borewells fitted with electric pumps have dried up. Most borewells have dried up in the newly-added areas of the city as the groundwater is over exploited there.”
BWSSB has 6,246 borewells in the core areas and 6,663 in the newly-added areas of the city.
Electric pumps are fitted to 5,962 borewells to supply water to the areas in which they are situated and the remaining borewells are fitted with hand pumps.
Venkataraju said nearly 20 per cent of the dried up borewells get automatically recharged if there are good rains. “But we have to effectively implement rain water harvesting and other measures to recharge the remaining borewells,” he said.
Central Ground Water Board Director Najeeb K M said the groundwater levels in the city and in most parts of the state have depleted by 50 to 80 feet due to over exploitation.
Environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy pointed out that the problem was because rain water cannot infilter asphalted roads and concreted footpaths.
“The possibility of the groundwater levels stabilising soon are remote, unless the government takes the issue seriously. We have been requesting the government to clear the encroachments around the lakes and the main canals for the last three years and that has not happened. The ground water gets recharged if the water gets accumulated in the water bodies in the city.”
He suggested that the BWSSB identify dry borewells and make provisions to recharge them making a dent for the rain water to accumulate around them and penetrate into the ground.
“We should also try to redesign our drains by making provision for the rain water to seep into the ground,” he added.
Bill Payment for Dried Up Borewells?
The BWSSB, meanwhile, continues to pay electricity charges for all borewells, including those that have dried up. It is now proposing a joint survey with BESCOM and BBMP to asses the conditions of the borewells.