It’s time to wake up and smell the dry earth, Bengaluru. Summer may have barely begun, but water scarcity has already come to the city. With the state’s major reservoirs like the Krishna Raja Sagar dam at near dead storage levels, and borewells also drying up, many slums and peripheral areas are already facing strict water rationing.
And if proper rains do not arrive by the end of May, large parts of Bengaluru will be in trouble too.
Water tankers (private and those belonging to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board or BWSSB) are being sent to KR Puram, Gangondanahalli, Sanjeevani Nagar, Sahakar Nagar, Padarayanapura, Bapuji Nagar, Gurguntepalya and Peenya once in three days, while the BWSSB supplies water once in a week.
Residents in most peripheral areas of Bengaluru Urban district wait eagerly for Monday, the one day water is supplied to them in a week.
Kemparamaiah, Chief Engineer, BWSSBThe borewells have dried up in KR Puram and Sanjeevani Nagar. Due to constant power cuts, the borewells were not able to pump water during the last three days. On Sunday, water tankers were sent to these areas.
The BWSSB has deployed around 70 tankers and has requested the Bengaluru Deputy Commissioner for 50 additional tankers. The BWSSB has already begun drilling borewells in these areas.
"The main reason why residents are facing the crunch is because 60 of the 70 tankers are deployed by private contractors. The BWSSB sells water to private contractors at Rs 90 for 1,000 litres of water and Rs 540 for one tanker. The private tankers charge Rs 10 per small pot, Rs 100 for a drum of water and the price of water for an entire tank costs Rs 1,000. They are charging almost double and many people can still afford it," a senior BWSSB official said.
Resident of Hoodi and KR Puram allege that they have not received water in their taps for two months now.
Pradeep Yashwath, a resident of Sonnenahalli in KR Puram, said that the residents of his locality have been complaining to the BWSSB every day.
Pradeep Yashwath, Resident of Sonnenahalli in KR PuramAt least one person from every household has lodged complaints with the BWSSB over the water supply issues. It’s been two months since we saw water flow from the taps in our homes. How can we pay Rs 600 every day for water to the private tanker companies?
People in Peenya and Sarjapur are also facing a similar crisis. People living on the west side of Mori Gate have absolutely no water shortage, as their apartment complexes and gated communities have 24x7 water supply thanks to borewells.
Nisha D’Sa, Resident of Amrita NagarFrom Amrita Nagar onwards, there is absolutely no water supply as the area does not fall under the BWSSB’s jurisdiction. People have always been dependent on tankers and borewell water. But on the east side of Mori Gate, most of the borewells have dried up.
Located in West Bengaluru, Sanjeevani Nagar gets water supply once a week. Residents of this area do not have space in their homes to store large quantities of water and end up paying Rs 10 for a small pot of water every day.
"If we have to fill up drums, it will cost us Rs 100 per drum and Rs 30 for a big pot of water. Four big pots of water and one drum will last us for two days as we are a family of six," says Prasadu, a resident, adding that the water rationing had begun three months ago.
The situation is much worse in Hombegowdanagar, Kodandaramapalya, Seegejhalli and the LR Nagar slums.
However, BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath said that water supply has not been affected as the agency was drawing 1,350 MLD of water every day from Krishna Raja Sagar dam KRS) to cater to the residents' needs.
"We are hoping for the rains to arrive in late May or early June. The water from KRS will suffice only till 31 May. Currently, water is being supplied on alternate days but the supply may reduce to twice a week if the situation worsens," Girinath added.
However, if the city does not receive summer showers, the water woes are set to increase.
( The story first appeared on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)
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