Focus on water shortage

Documentary film

Focus on water shortage

Stewart Auyash addressing the gathering.

Along with the rising summer heat, the severe shortage of water in many areas of the City gave an added significance to the programme held on the occasion of World Water Day.

Conducted by organisations and institutions working on water and environment issues, like the Bangalore Film Society, Bhoomi Network, Green Path, Voices from the Waters etc, the programme was geared to raise awareness on the ‘use and abuse of water’ with relation to Bangalore in particular. Prof Stewart Auyash, an expert on international health issues talked about the global problem of water shortage and wastage. “Many cities  have the ability to exploit river and groundwaters in continuously growing amounts and they do it. Water is a scarce resource, it must be viewed as such, and there needs to be public participation in its proper and sustainable use,” he said.

Vishwanath Srikantaiah gave a talk on the history of water in Bangalore. Known for his pioneering work in rainwater harvesting and as the founder of the online rainwater club, he said, “The city has seen severe depletion of not just groundwater but tanks over the years, a problem which will only become more acute if individuals do not take measures to conserve water in their homes.” This was followed by a screening of  Swati Dandekar’s documentary film titled Water and a City. The 52-minute film traced the journey of urban water supply in the City. Raising many questions and touching upon ground realities it highlighted the fact that Bangalore needs 1000 million litres of water per day but receives only half of that.

It also  enlightened one on the limitations of the Cauvery Water Supply Projects; the actual cost of water by the time it reaches our homes and the severe supply shortage we face. A mention was also made of the fact that different tanks like Siddikatte, Sampangi, Dharmabudhi and Chennamma have long since vanished and become K R Market, Kanteerva Stadium, Majestic Bus Stand and a burial ground respectively. Residents in newer layouts often do not receive any water but just BWSSB bills regularly. With anecdotes and interesting sound bytes, the well made film was an eye-opener on the water situation in the City.

Environmentalist Leo Saldanha spoke about the way the planning and development of the City has not been done in a far-sighted, holistic and scientific manner but rather in an ad hoc fashion. He sees the Metro as just another example of the lack of farsightedness on the part of the City planners. “The Metro is a classic example of too little too late. Barely twenty per cent of the traffic will reduce on our beleaguered roads,” he opined.

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