SC decision will help Bengaluru, but a lot more needs to be done

With the implementation of Cauvery 5th stage project by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the quantum of water needed is expected to increase to 29 tmcft by 2023.
Cauvery water (File photo | EPS)
Cauvery water (File photo | EPS)

BENGALURU: The Supreme Court’s decision to allot 4.75 tmc ft water to meet Bengaluru’s drinking water needs might come as good news, but according to experts, the city still needs to pull up its socks when it comes to water conservation as the extra allocation will not be sufficient to meet requirements.

In fact, the city has been using far more than the paltry 0.50 tmcft which was allotted to it in 2007. This has been possible as around 18.5 tmcft is drawn from the state’s allocation for irrigation. With the implementation of Cauvery 5th stage project by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, the quantum of water needed is expected to increase to 29 tmcft by 2023. Even this could fall short of the requirement according to experts who say that innovative solutions are the need of the hour.

“The city receives 30 tmcft as rainwater but because of polluted lakes and clogged stormwater drains, this water cannot be harvested. We had estimated that it would cost

`25,000 crore to rejuvenate all lakes in the city in 2013 but it is not just a question of money. There will be surveys, court cases and other obstacles on the way. If this rainwater can be harvested, it would ease the water supply situation not just for Bengaluru but the rest of the state as well,” said B N Thyagaraja, a water resources expert who had submitted a report on new water resources for Bengaluru in 2013.

The recommendations had included drawing water from the Linganmakki reservoir as a more cost efficient option.  “We had also recommended that lakes in the city be filled with tertiary treated water. The BWSSB can then provide two pipelines to each house, one for potable water, the other for treated water. This would reduce the burden on potable water resources by 70%,” he said. He pointed out that the Supreme Court’s decision to do away with reservation of water for only 1/3rd of the city which is located in the river basin was an important part of the judgment.

This would mean that the entire city is now eligible for using Cauvery water which could pave the way for future projects involving Cauvery water supply. According to BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath, the additional allocation of water would be balanced against the water currently being drawn from the state’s allocation of Cauvery water.

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