BWSSB says it can't regulate borewells, water tankers in city

BWSSB says it can't regulate borewells, water tankers in city
Almost five years after failing to regulate borewells and water tankers in Bengaluru, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board has now washed its handof of this responsibility.

BWSSB engineer-in-chief has written to the Karnataka Groundwater Authority (KGA) categorically refusing to register/issue permit to borewells, and also to regulate the hundreds of water tankers operating in the city.

KGA director S G Shettennevar told DH that BWSSB had cited that it does not want the responsibility anymore as it was already burdened with the supply of water to the city, and also that the job is “technical” in nature.

BWSSB’s decision comes in the wake of GWA pulling it up for not checking over-exploitation of groundwater by water tanker operators.

On August 22 this year, GWA had written to BWSSB stating that it had failed to implement the Karnataka Ground Water (Regulation and Control of development and Management) Act, 2011, and Rules, 2012, ever since its enforcement.

Citing that water tankers were operating illegally, GWA has said that it has received several complaints about poor quality of water taking a toll on the health of consumers. Also, tankers were extracting more than the stipulated quantum of water, leading to depletion of water levels.

In addition to BWSSB, GWA had also reprimanded competent authorities of districts where water has been over-exploited.

When DH tried to ascertain the number of water tankers operating in the city, BWSSB claimed that it had nothing to do with regulating water tankers. Its engineer-in-chief Kemparamaiah said the BBMP was tasked with the responsibility. “BWSSB is only responsible for borewells. BBMP should issue the trade licences for tankers,” he added. BBMP chief health officer M N Lokesh said BWSSB was merely shifting blame, and that the Karnataka Municipality Act makes no mention of BBMP regulating groundwater.

Shettennevar said BWSSB was being callous in its approach. “There is a December 31, 2012, government order clearly entrusting the BWSSB with regulation of groundwater. It cannot say that this issue does not come under its purview. GWA will write to the government about the development — the government should decide what can be done next. There is a need for an amendment in the Act,” he added.
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