Groundwater exploited by private traders

Government helpless as there is no alternative source

Private water tankers are purchasing water from these points and distributing it to public. This has resulted in rampant exploitation of the groundwater by owners for a few quick bucks. Consequently the groundwater table in these areas has gone down and also ensured the drying up of many borewells in surrounding areas.

A load or full tanker of water is purchased for amounts ranging from Rs 100 to Rs 200 from owners. They are distributed to multi-storeyed apartments which have mushroomed in the areas and surroundings for two to three times the purchased cost. The rates are higher during summer.

Kumar, an employee of Manthralaya Water Supply, believes he is doing a social service. “The apartments suffer from an acute water shortage. They do not mind paying for this precious commodity and we are actually helping them out,” he states. “The water supply department is not able to do this job and so we have taken over that role,” he declares self-righteously.

The area is filled with tractors fitted with cylindrical water tankers. At any given time, roughly ten of them can be spotted rushing in and out of these areas.
Kumar, accompanied by his driver, undertakes ten rounds each day to a borewell at Aakash Nagar in A Narayanapura Extension in Mahadevapura to fill his tanker to capacity. His driver, Prakash, adds: “We are actually not taking that much water. Only around 40 tractors ply in Mahadevapura. Kaggadaspura has nearly 200 water tractors involved in this business.”

Mathews, a resident in Aakash Nagar, points how his borewell, which used to provide enough water to satisfy the needs of his family, does not provide even a drop of water now. “I am totally dependent on outside sources for water now,” he laments.

The president of a local association in Mahadevapura, requesting anonymity, poses this query: “It is a real catch-22 situation. Not everyone can afford to dig a borewell in their houses. If these people are stopped from distributing water, who will those in need of water turn to?”

A top BWSSB official conceded that this was going on for sometime but the department finds itself helpless. “We do not have the power to stop this unless it is being done using a borewell dug by BWSSB or BBMP. It is a private borewell and they are carrying on business with it.”

K R Puram MLA N S Nandeesh Reddy said he was very concerned about the exploitation going on. “We are helpless due to lack of any other water source now. Unless Phase II of Cauvery Water Supply Stage IV is completed, these areas have no water source. We are doing our best to promote rainwater harvesting in all houses as it could emerge as a source of water,” he said. Not only do the tankers cause much noise and dust pollution, the water supplied too is not clean, the MLA added.

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