Specials

Bengaluru coping, but wary of a long, dry summer

Anil Urs Bengaluru | Updated on January 27, 2018 Published on April 27, 2016

WOMAN_WITH_WATER   -  BL

Water board looks to cut loss; private tankers fleece residents



The trundle of private tankers, which is something of a daily routine in Bengaluru, is the loudest confirmation of a grim reality: that the State’s capital is facing an acute water scarcity.

The Cauvery river, from where the city sources its water, is low on water this year, and the water levels at the KRS and Kabini reservoirs, as also the TK Halli reservoir, from where it is pumped for distribution in the city, is about a third lower than they were at the same time last year.

This means that water supply to the Bengaluru urban district, which accounts for 37 per cent of Karnataka’s population, is pretty stretched. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) pumps about 1,350 million litres a day, and although it claims that it does not anticipate any problems with the supply this year, it has initiated precautionary steps.

“The Irrigation Department has been told not to draw water for irrigation. BWSSB is therefore confident that it can manage the crisis,” said a senior official of revenue department.

Reducing loss

BWSSB has initiated a programme, called the ‘Unaccounted Flow of Water’ (UFW) project, to reduce water loss.

A senior BWSSB official said, “Over 46 per cent of the city’s water supply is not accounted for, and the board is taking efforts to contain the losses .”

Now BWSSB needs ₹750 crore to cover the entire city, for which the State government has sought help from the Japan Investment Co-operation Agency (JICA).

BWSSB officials said the UFW project, scheduled to be completed by 2017, is expected to cut losses from a staggering 46 per cent to 20 per cent.

Water mafia thrives

BWSSB has also drawn up an emergency plan to tap high-yielding borewells from out of its 8,000 wells in the city and supplying water through tankers.

For now, private water tanker owners are profiting from the groundwater shortage. In the absence of regulations, the private suppliers charge prohibitive rates –– in many cases, twice or thrice the normal rates, according to Hari, a resident.

Published on April 27, 2016
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