The deadline for borewell registration has been extended for the third time to July 31. Earlier, the original deadline which was April 3 was extended to the end of the month before being pushed to the current one. “We are aware that people need time to respond to new rules. And water is a basic necessity, so due to humanitarian reasons, we have decided to extend the deadline once more,” a BWSSB official told City Express.
Although registrations for borewells were opened on December 3 last year, the total number registered before the deadline was extended was 12,029. Even the 27,707 borewells registered so far, form less than 16 per cent of the estimated total of 1.75 lakhs.
Officials said that they were hoping for a better response following the extension. “We even have people going door to door to create awareness,” said HM Ravindra, deputy chief engineer, BWSSB. However, despite the board’s efforts, many owners of existing borewells do not seem to be aware that registration applies to them as well in accordance with the Karnataka Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act 2011.
“We got our borewell dug 10 years ago. I think the registration is only for new borewells,” said Chandrika M, who lives in Malleswaram. Indira Ramamurthy, who has been using the borewell at her farmhouse near Bannerghatta National Park for the past eight years, simply said, “There were no rules that we had to register them then.”
“With ground water reserves depleting at such an alarming rate, we need to have a record of how many borewells there are in Bangalore, and we can be sure of the number only if all of them are registered,” said T Vankataraju, engineer in chief, BWSSB. Under section 32 (2) of the act, unregistered borewell users are liable to pay a fine up to `5,000, serve a jail term that can be extended up to six months, or both.
Senior scientist at Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology AK Shiva Kumar said that borewell registration is the first step of a bigger plan involving conservation of water resources.
“For a city of this size, it is important to know the demand, supply and source of water that is used for both domestic and commercial purposes. We can determine the usage of Cauvery water as we have a record of that. We want to do the same for borewells and tankers also.”
Shiva Kumar said that the board then intends to advise borewell owners on ground water recharge to ensure that the resource becomes more sustainable. “We tell them that if they use up about 10 litres a day, they have to ensure that they recharge 10 to 15 litres. Otherwise, their borewells will dry up soon,” he added.
Registration forms can be downloaded from the BWSSB website or obtained from the board’s division/sub-division offices. The filled in forms have to be submitted to the executive engineer of the division with a challan of `50 for domestic use and `500 for commercial use payable to the BWSSB Canara bank account.