Citizens demand better management of resources

Come summer, Bengalureans are most likely to face yet another water crisis, thanks to the numerous factors that have worked against the city. A city that had managed to meet its water demands with a smartly networked lake system now struggles to cope with the problem despite water supply from river Cauvery. How did this happen, how can we cope with the crisis? Citizens respond here in many voices.

Prof Ramakrishnan, an ex-SBI employee and a visiting faculty for MBA at several colleges, has spent most of his life in the city. Water crisis, he says, is now synonymous with the city every summer. “The only difference each year is for how many months the problem lasts. For many years, there hasn’t been a summer without a drought-like situation here,” he says.

The professor, to a great extent, holds the electricity and water management board responsible. “The management is extremely poor. They only talk big. Where the officials concerned in other states take steps on a war-footing, our officials are not at all foresighted,” he says.

When Tamil Nadu can get water from the Krishna River all the way from Andhra Pradesh, he wonders why the Karnataka government has failed to explore such opportunities, especially from the tributaries of Krishna such as the Tungabhadra in Hosapete, Ballari. As a remedial measure, he suggests setting up a central board to manage water and electricity needs of the city.

Edwin Kumar, a financial analyst at Oracle, opines that to create water sufficiency in Bengaluru, rainwater harvesting that recharges the groundwater can be a solution.

“Rainwater harvesting has had a tremendous impact in recharging groundwater in the recent past. However, it is not enough. More and more houses in the city should be encouraged to adopt this. Awareness and proactive citizenry will help achieve this,” he says.

Pooja S, a Class XI student at Sophia’s High School, is also convinced that rainwater harvesting is the way out of the scary water shortage. “However, this time, we have lost that opportunity too as the monsoon is already past us. The government, at least for the future, must take some serious steps to compel the people in to the habit of harvesting rain water. Though there are laws, they are only on paper. They must be enforced with an iron hand.”

Shabbeer Syed, a realtor who has been living in the city for the past three decades, sees digging of borewells as the only immediate solution to cater to the water needs of the city. It is estimated that over 80% of rural India gets its drinking water from groundwater, usually deep borewells.

“It will certainly impact the groundwater levels. But, I see no other option,” he says. Syed believes the Mahadayi verdict, if delivered in favour of Karnataka, will help the residents of Bengaluru.

Surabhi Kudekallu, a lecturer, believes that the public foresees the troubles ahead. However, she feels there should be a change in mindset. “Taking shorter showers, plugging water leakage in pipes, reusing soap water for the next load of clothes in washing machines and using the treated waste water for watering plants are a few small things that can save a lot of water. Everybody is aware of this. However, nobody wants to bring in a change,” she says.

She also talks about a mechanism that has to be worked out by the government to put a cap on the water usage on washing vehicles and gardening.

Surabhi wonders how builders in the city get permissions to chop greenery and raise apartments and IT companies at such a rapid rate, thereby making Bengaluru a concrete jungle.

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