Time to ration water, save up for next summer, say experts
Experts suggest that the government should reduce water supply for irrigation, industries and to urban areas immediately by 20 to 30 per cent.
BENGALURU: With a patchy monsoon affecting water levels in dams, experts suggest that the government should start rationing water supply to urban areas and for irrigation with immediate effect. According to officials from the Water Resources Department (WRD) and Ground Water Board, only surface water is being tapped optimally. Ground water has not been tapped in the command areas, and should be used in times of distress.
They suggest that the government should reduce water supply for irrigation, industries and to urban areas immediately by 20 to 30 per cent. This water should be stored and used in summer if the northeast monsoon fails. Rainwater harvesting expert AR Shivakumar said that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) guidelines, a family of four needs 12,000-15,000 litres of water on a monthly basis, but in urban areas, including Bengaluru, a family utilises 20,000-40,000 litres of water a month. There is a lack of planning in urban water utilisation, he said.
Water expert Vishwanath Srikantaiah said ground water should be looked at for cultivation, especially in the command areas. He added that the problem is becoming more political. Karnataka’s water share from the Cauvery is only 25 per cent, while its utilisation of water from other sources is much higher.
“In the past 32 years, Karnataka faced a drought and water tussle with Tamil Nadu six times. There was lack of planning and preparation from the government side, which has reflected now,” admitted a WRD official.
There is 51 tmcft water in all four reservoirs of the basin put together. We need 70 tmcft for standing crops, 33 tmcft for drinking and 3 tmcft for industries. Irrigation will take a beating as farmers undertook sowing against warnings. Farmers in both states need to be convinced now,” said the official.
An expert from IISc said Cauvery catchment area has 50 per cent deficit rainfall which is leading to the problem. Farmers need to understand better water management for irrigation. The role of agriculture universities comes in here.
DAILY WATER USE PER HEAD (in litres)
20 Washing, shower
25-30 Flush, toilet
8-10 Other utilities