Hoskote reuses Bangalore's refuse, ends decades of thirst

Sewage diverted from Yelemallappa Shetty tank to Doddakere lake

Reckless discharge of large quantity of sewage water from Bangalore City may have become a bane for people living around the State capital, but for the water-starved residents of Hoskote town and surrounding areas, it has turned a boon.

A recently implemented project of the Minor Irrigation department, to fill Doddakere lake in Bangalore Rural district by diverting sewage water from Yelemallappa Shetty tank near KR Puram in Bangalore Urban district, has solved the drinking water problem of the parched Hoskote town.

About 60,000 residents of Hoskote and surrounding areas are now getting clean drinking water almost round-the-clock, which was unheard of in the last two decades.

Doddakere, which was once the main source of drinking water, had remained dry for over 20 years.

The water table had depleted to over 1,250 feet in most parts of Hoskote. The groundwater had, as a result, become unfit for consumption, and the farmers had abandoned agriculture activities due to severe water scarcity. 

The department drew up a lift irrigation project in 1999 to provide succour to the affected farmers near Hoskote. Yelemallappa Shetty tank is full to the brim because of the free flow of sewage water from Bangalore City (mainly northern and north-eastern parts).

Farmers in Hoskote had initially opposed the project as they feared that sewage water would cause irreversible damage to the environment. 

After much delay, the Rs-2.49-crore project finally took off in 2011. It was completed in December and Doddakere was recently filled with about six feet of water.

Water table increased

Not only has the water table increased in and around Hoskote, but the groundwater has been tested fit for drinking. Groundwater is now available at 250 feet. The local body in Hoskote has started 24/7 supply after a mandatory treatment of the groundwater, Minor Irrigation department Secretary P N Srinivasachary said.

Chemical analysis of water was done by BMS College of Engineering, Bangalore. The analysis report confirmed that the Doddakere water is fit for agriculture. 

The groundwater samples collected from borewells around the tank and tested were found potable. 

Surprise result

“We did not have the slightest inkling that the project would help provide drinking water to the local residents. It has come as a surprise. The project has also helped increase the water table in about 30 villages surrounding Hoskote,” G Krishna Murthy, Assistant Executive Engineer of the Minor Irrigation Department, said. 

Krishna Murthy said the distance between the two tanks is about eight km. The sewage water would have undergone natural cleaning during its flow. For the first time after many decades, Hoskote town will not face drinking water crisis this summer, he added.
Similar plan for Sarjapur

Buoyed by the success of Doddakere project, the department is preparing a similar project near Sarjapur. Excess water (mainly sewage water) from Yelemallappa Shetty Tank near KR Puram reaches Varthur tank downstream in its natural course.

The plan is to divert water from Varthur tank to about 12 tanks, including Sarjapur main tank and Padithana Agrahara tank. If implemented, it will help increase ground water level in and around Sarjapur, officials said.

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