Bengaluru: Bannerghatta Biological Park faces water crisis, 6 functioning borewells and 7 lakes only sources

With only 6 functioning borewells and 7 lakes that dry up during the summers being their only source of water, officials at the park are bound to struggle to prevent the animals from falling ill.

Officials at the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP) on the outskirts of Bengaluru are having a hard time managing water for the animals living there in the wake of the drought situation in the state.

The park, which is located just 22 kilometres from Bengaluru city, is home to more than 1301 animals in captivity belonging to 78 species. With only 6 functioning borewells and 7 lakes that dry up during the summers being their only source of water, officials at the park are bound to struggle to prevent the animals from falling ill.

They have an uphill task ahead since the Bannerghatta Biological Park has various units attached to it such as the Zoo, a Safari, Butterfly Park and a Rescue Centre. With just a handful of borewells, the park officials are struggling to make sure that all the animals do not suffer from dehydration and are provided with adequate drinking water and ample shade.

WHAT DOES BBP DIRECTOR HAVE TO SAY

Talking to India Today, Executive Director of BBP Santosh Kumar said, "There are 12 borewells we get water from. Sources within the park say that only 6 are functioning at the moment. Apart from that, park officials also utilise water from around 7 lakes. But here too, water levels have plummeted to such an extent that it will only suffice till mid-June."

Kumar adds, "These park officials are now in talks with the concerned authorities to get Cauvery water from a pipeline that is being set up to Jigani. 'They have demanded some money and talks are on and if we get this pipeline, all our problems will be solved."

In the worst-case scenario, Kumar says that he plans to purchase water from outside for the BBP.

Park officials need around 1 lakh litres of water on a daily basis and have to manage with the available sources of water today. But it seems that they have learnt to conserve water in the past few years so that they can be self-sufficient in the future.

CONSERVING WATER THROUGH RECHARGE PITS

Last year, they went about checking all the old borewells they thought had no water in them. But they did find some water in these borewells and hence decided to make use of the same. Dr. Manjunath, a wildlife veterinarian, said, "We fitted motors to these old borewells and until today, we are not facing any problems from them", adding that they have come in handy in the wake of the drought.

In order to not waste precious rain water, park officials have started construction of groundwater recharge pits wherever they have sunk borewells on a war footing.

The Executive Director said, "This has been done to 'save surface runoff water when it rains' and prevent the same from being wasted. So they are in the process of revamping all the drains so that when it rains, the water will get diverted to these groundwater recharge pits."

(WITH INPUTS FROM ANNA THOMAS)

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