‘Broad reforms required to check water contamination’

Water supplied through taps in the city is highly contaminated. (Representative image from Getty images)

Comprehensive reforms are needed to find solutions to Bengaluru’s water crisis and the BWSSB should initiate the process by coming up with a concrete plan, Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said. 

Responding to a DH report on the high level of contamination in groundwater as well as water supplied by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), the deputy chief minister said the problem of broken pipes needed to be fixed soon. 

Based on the study of extensive lab reports of nearly 400 samples of tap water and groundwater from across the city, this newspaper reported on the dangerous levels of water contamination that pose a threat to public health. The presence of harmful heavy metals such as mercury and nickel and cancer-causing nitrate in groundwater has exposed lakhs of Bengalureans to serious health problems. 

Responding to a question on the leakage of BWSSB distribution pipes, which leads to sewage mixing with drinking water, Ashwath Narayan said the board must come up with a concrete plan to ensure the water it supplies doesn’t end up harming people. 

“Problems are bound to occur as pipes start ageing. A regular and constant mechanism of the distribution network, as well as water treatment plants, needs to be adopted urgently,” he said. 

About the lack of third-party evaluation, the minister said a mechanism where the third party would have full autonomy needed to be adopted. “A fully autonomous agency empowered by the government needs to take up testing and evaluation of the water quality. This will improve the credibility,” he added. 

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