Despite the state reeling under a severe water shortage and the government being forced to halt power production in three hydel plants to divert 50 cusecs (122.32 million litres per day) of water to Bangalore, the city continues to waste water everyday.
It loses as much water as Mysore, Mangalore, Hubli or Belgaum consume.
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) supplies close to 1,100 MLD to the city everyday and loses 396 MLD in transmission and distribution — with a loss percentage of 36 per cent thanks to an ancient pipeline infrastructure and rising cases of water theft. Even considering a big chunk of the 396 MLD is lost due to theft, the rest, say 180 MLD, is lost due to leaks and wastage. This is as much as Mysore consumes.
Even as the BWSSB Minister said this week that the state was facing an acute shortage of water, the massive wastage of water by the BWSSB has been overlooked all these years. The project to curb these losses to 16 per cent is expected to finish only by 2015. Other measures by the BWSSB of getting borewells registered and to implement compulsory rainwater harvesting have also not met with much success.
When asked about the losses, BWSSB Minister Suresh Kumar said that only a small amount of water was being wasted and the majority of the transmission and distribution losses were because of theft. “Though 36 per cent of the water pumped by the BWSSB goes unaccounted for, a major portion is consumed by poor people in slums and by those who draw water through illegal connections. Unlike other cities, where more than 40 per cent of the water is wasted due to leakages, very less water is wasted due to leakages in Bangalore.”
He added that the BWSSB was doing whatever it could to reduce these numbers.
Rainwater Club adviser S Vishwanth said, “The BWSSB should be more concerned about the financial losses that it undergoes due to the water that goes unaccounted for. The water that leaks goes into the ground and that is utilised by those who draw water from the borewells as Bangalore has the highest number of borewells.”
BWSSB officials were unavailable for comment.