Dipping water table rings alarm bells in BBP

Dipping water table rings alarm bells in BBP

Borewells, lakes dry up; water from national park may be availed

Dipping water table rings alarm bells in BBP

 The intense summer heat has had a telling effect on the Bannerghatta Biological Park (BBP), increasing its dependence on borewells to meet the water needs of the animals and staff.

BBP Executive Director Santosh Kumar said that it’s a hand-to-mouth existence for the park now. If there is no rain in the coming days, water tankers will have to be purchased and water from the lakes of the neighbouring Bannerghatta National Park will have to be used. 

With the increase in the demand for water in and around BBP, the water table in some places has fallen to 980 feet. Testing of five borewells is on to drill them deeper, two in the zoo and three in the rescue centre.

Two borewells are pumping good quantity of water at the BBP Bear Safari SOS Centre. Kumar said they have requested the SOS centre to share water with the safari.

There are 19 borewells and three of them are normally used to meet drinking, bathing and washing needs of 95 species in the 40-hectare zoo area. The zoo every day needs 1.8 lakh litres of water. But recently, one borewell near the hippopotamus enclosure dried up. Water from two of them - near the rescue centre and Mayura Restaurant - is presently being used. Their depth is 900 feet and 250 feet, respectively. Five borewells have been abandoned because they have dried up. Testing of other borewells is being undertaken in phases.

The BBP has a staff strength of 210, families of 23 permanent staff reside in the BBP quarters and they completely depend on borewell water for their daily needs.

Seven lakes

The BBP zoo, including safari and the rescue centre, has seven lakes. Earlier, water was used from the Benkunkatte lake, the topmost on the terrain, opposite to the veterinary hospital. The spillover water in monsoons filled water bodies till the herbivore safari.

Since this lake has dried up, dependence on the Chinnammanakere lake (after boating area) has increased. Kumar said that water from this lake will last for a week.

Since all lakes were desilted over the last two years, water filled the lakes during the last monsoon and November showers. This is now helping, animal keepers said.

The guzzlers

Maximum water is consumed by hippos. The BBP has nine hippos, each needs at least 10,000 -15,000 litres per day as they spend most of their time in water

 BBP has 20 elephants and on an average, each needs at least 10,000 litres water per day to bath, drink and cool themselves

BBP has alligators, ghariyals and crocodiles in three different enclosures and each needs 10,000 litres per day

The capacity of pond in tiger enclosure is 5,000 litres. It needs to be kept full as the carnivore sits there to keep itself cool for long hours. Same is the case with leopards and lions. BBP has 28 tigers, 36 lions and 35 leopards. The aquatic bird enclosure is seeing water shortage

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