At the mercy of the tankers

At the mercy of the tankers

It is still February but the blistering sun has left Bengalureans deeply worried about the impending water crisis in the next three to four months.

While most areas in core Bengaluru get Cauvery water, the situation is grim in the newly added 110 villages. These villages do not come under the purview of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), which has expertise in handling the water distribution system and sewerage network.

Eventually, the citizens are left at the mercy of BBMP and the corporators, who call the shots in their respective wards. Cauvery water has not reached most parts of these 110 villages. Borewells could be their saviour, but overdoing it has already depleted the water table in these villages.

This year, BBMP has reserved Rs 40 crore for water supply, digging new borewells and repairing the old ones. BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad says, “Understanding the gravity of the situation, we have reserved Rs 40 crore. We will make sure that people do not suffer for want of water.”

The problem, however, is the judicious expenditure of funds. As the water crisis looms large over these villages, it is time for water tankers to make brisk business.

Even BBMP officials are not left behind in this game of churning money out of crisis. In most of these villages, water suppliers draw water from the BBMP borewells and sell it elsewhere for rates ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 700 per tanker.

Ravindra (name changed), a resident of Alahalli in Anjanapura, says the BBMP tankers do fill up water. “We, however, do not know where these tankers are actually going. Instead of spending so much on tankers, the Palike could have laid pipelines to supply water,” he says.

The situation across the five zones of BBMP, Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Bommanahalli, Mahadevapura, Yelahanka and Dasarahalli is more or less the same.

Mayor G Padmavathi says the BBMP would act tough if there are complaints of private tankers indulging in malpractices. “We will take immediate action if there is information that the tankers are drawing water from BBMP borewells and selling it. In the 110 villages, we will make sure that water supply is adequate,” says the Mayor.

The BWSSB has plans only for the core area of BBMP involving three zones of East, West and South. “We are not looking at the newly added areas. Apart from core Bengaluru, we are supplying water in six CMCs. We have 7,900 borewells in these areas of which 690 borewells have gone dry. Rest are in good condition. Wherever there is water crisis and Cauvery water has not reached, we will supply water through tankers or through the network of borewells,” informs BWSSB engineer-in-chief Kemparamaiah.

Percolation pits for RWH

Jayanagar MLA B N Vijay Kumar stresses on percolation pits that can harvest rainwater. He says, “Bengaluru is an abnormally growing city. Bigger areas such as apartments, educational institutions, parks, stadiums, playgrounds and roads should have percolation pits. These pits allow the rainwater to replenish the groundwater. If it is procured meticulously, we don’t have to depend on other resources for water.”

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