Hunting for alternative water sources for Bangalore

Hunting for alternative water sources for Bangalore

Bangalore city is being supplied 1,200 million litres of water per day (MLD) from the Cauvery basin to consumers.  

Although BWSSB can draw up to 1,400 MLD, the Board is yet to mobilise consumers to supply to its full capacity.  With 1,400 MLD, BWSSB's drawal of water from Cauvery gets exhausted.  BWSSB has now written to the stategovernment seeking 10 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Cauvery water to be supplied to the 110 villages that are now part of BBMP.

Although the State cabinet has approved it, a go-ahead from Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) is awaited.  Bangalore will need an additional 8.19 TMC of water to meet the growing demand for water till the year 2021.

Since nearly 52 per cent of water supplied to the city literally goes down the drain, BWSSB will have to take up on a war-footing the plugging of leakages. Although, BWSSB has initiated the unaccounted-for water (UFW) project at various divisions, there is need for urgent control.  Plugging these leakages is expected to improve water supply in many places that currently get supplies once a week.      

But Cauvery water alone cannot meet the growing demands of the city. Alternative sources of water such as recycling of waste water, harvesting of rainwater are being talked about. BWSSB has appointed an expert committee to look into long and short-term solutions for Bangalore water requirement and has made several recommendations including recycling.  
BWSSB took the first step of exploring recycling of waste and treating it to the level where the water can be used for potable purpose.  The Board is all set to construct a recycling plant at Vrushabhavathi valley along the Arkavathi river course in the coming days. 

Once the government gives is nod, tenders will be floated for the Rs 475 crore project soon. The project will yield an additional 145 ML of water to the City. BWSSB is tying up with Singapore's Public Utilities Board (PUB), which is said to have revolutionised reclaimed water technology through its brand name NEWater.

Earlier proposals by BWSSB to start waste water recycling projects had been rejected by the previous governments. According to a BWSSB official, the initiative must come from the ministers concerned to use recycle water.  There is always an element of apprehension and a mental block which needs to be addressed.  

The Board, says the official, will be very transparent about the recycling project and update the public about how the entire project is carried out. The Board is also planning to conduct several outreach programmes to educate the public about recycle water.

Besides this, BWSSB will also have to ensure that rainwater harvesting (RWH) is given the highest priority and structures are set up in all residential and commercial buildings.  After amending the BWSSB Act, it was made compulsory to incorporate RWH structure in houses constructed on  60X40 area and new houses constructed on 30X40 area. 

Replenishment of depleted groundwater level is another area of critical importance for BWSSB. Heavy dependence on borewell water must subsequently come down in order to save groundwater, say the officials and water experts.    

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