City water board plans come under scrutiny at civic meet

Reuse of treated water, rainwater harvesting, revival of lakes favoured

Privatisation of water supply, practicability of drawing water from distant areas and legislation for the use of ground and surface water were among the topics that came up for discussion.

Titled 'Potable Water in Bangalore: Today and Tomorrow,’ the session had Narayana, BWSSB chief engineer, as one of the panelists. He said the shortfall between demand and supply was 380 million litres per day.  The short term plan includes replacing old supply pipelines, pumps and motors, checking evaporation loss and rainwater harvesting.

The long term plan includes reuse of treated water, revival of lakes, optimum use of Vrushabhavathi valley area, Belandur valley area, Hebbal valley area and reducing dependence on distant sources of water.

Participants questioned the logic of some of the plans. Social activist Rajendran Prabhakar expressed reservations about the plan to bring water from distant areas, instead of exploring means like rejuvenating rivers, lakes and treating waste water.

Sushila Vasudev, President of the West of Chord Road Residents' Welfare Association, said she and many others in her area had installed rainwater harvesting system in their homes. But, a businessman was selling ground water. "Should people go for rainwater harvesting to benefit the water mafia in the City," she asked.

Idea bankruptcy

Meanwhile, the idea of bringing Hemavathi river water to Bangalore has also been criticised.

At a recent interaction with MLAs from Bangalore, Ashwath Narayana, Vijay Kumar and officers of various departments on the City’s civic problems, Mukunda, an office-bearer of Citizens' Action Forum (CAF), said such ideas showed  mental bankruptcy.

Tax system flayed

"The only solution right now is treatment of water and its reuse. Singapore or any other cities in the world are not letting sewage water spoil the rivers. Sewage water is treated for reuse. At least 50 percent of the water supplied for household purposes in the major cities of the world is treated water," said Mukunda.

The BBMP also drew flak for its property tax collection system. "There are 21 lakh properties in Bangalore and you could hardly tax eight lakh properties. Now you want to increase the property tax. How far is your action justified?" said another office-bearer of CAF.

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