When a drop costs a lot

Water day

When a drop costs a lot

Bangalore has always seen a mismatch between the demand and supply of water and several areas complain of water shortage practically throughout the year.

However, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) insists that the situation is under control. On World Water Day, Metrolife explores the situation before summer arrives.T Venkataraju, engineer-in-chief, BWSSB, explains that the supply is comfortable for the coming summer.

“Across the four phases of the Cauvery project, we’ve been sanctioned 1220 million litres per day (mld) for Bangalore, which can be extended upto 1300 mld for the summer and on festivals like Ugadi. If the demand is higher, we can’t provide more water as there is no infrastructure in place. But we are comfortable providing for the eight lakh connections, wherein a building with 200 flats is also counted as one connection,” he explains.

“Other than the newly-added 110 villages, everything comes under the BWSSB. That’s why we aren’t supplying to areas like Sarjapura, where they rely on their own borewells or water tankers due to lack of infrastructure and sanitary provisions,” he adds. Every area has its own BWSSB service station that monitors the water level and addresses complaints when there is a shortage.

Shankar, the water inspector at the BWSSB Sadashivanagar Service Station, says that in February, 52.6 million litres were consumed in Sadashivanagar, Guttahalli and parts of Malleswaram. “We supply an average of 50 million litres a month to these areas, which more than meets the demand. The supply for the coming season looks promising and one can see the level in the tank on our premises. That’s why the residents of these areas don’t need to call private tankers unless they have extra-high consumption levels. Since it’s a developed area, there aren’t too many complaints. But the few complaints we do get are related to temporary water shortage or sanitary issues,” explains Shankar.

The BWSSB has 65 water tankers under it outside of which, enough and more private tanker operators make brisk business.  Mahesh, who runs Gangothri Supplies near Hennur, says, “There isn’t an increased demand yet. We provide anything between five to 20 supplies a day and the rate differs from area to area. For nearby orders, we charge Rs 250 for 4500 litres of water.” However, areas like Sahakaranagar, KR Puram, Mahadevapura and Bommanahalli among others face acute water shortage.

Arjun Rao, a resident of Sahakaranagar, says, “We’ve been facing water shortage for years. Almost all households resort to ordering water tankers to fulfill their needs. Each of these tankers costs Rs 350, which is expensive in the long run. The authorities give us water only once a week for a short time period, which is inconvenient.”  Kapil Agrawal, a resident of Marathahalli, adds, “So far, I’ve stayed in two societies here — RV and Gopalan

Millennium Habitat — and both got their water from private sources and through rainwater harvesting. As tenants, we pay a hefty maintenance fee for the same but don’t face any water shortage. In Bangalore, money rules it all,” he concludes.

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