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Government may keep rule tap open on Bengaluru's water crisis

Having managed to put in place measures to ease the water crisis in Bengaluru, the state government may take advantage and look to continue their enforcement after the summer, as several of these rules had remained on paper for years.
Last Updated 03 April 2024, 00:10 IST

Bengaluru: Having managed to put in place measures to ease the water crisis in Bengaluru, the state government may take advantage and look to continue their enforcement after the summer, as several of these rules had remained on paper for years.

Sources from the Water Resources Department and the Bangalore Water Supply and  Sewerage Board (BWSSB) told DH that a few rules, especially those pertaining to drilling of borewells and use of treated water for construction purposes, are likely to stay since they were part of the crucial recommendations suggested in the Karnataka State Water Policy 2022.

“We are trying to coordinate with various departments to enforce these rules and suggestions from the policy. However, many of them could not be implemented completely on ground owing to various constraints. Now that the enforcement has gained momentum, we should be able to keep it going,” a senior official from the Water Resources Department said. 

While the State Water Policy of 2022 is relatively new, there are many other rules which have remained on paper for nearly a decade. 

For instance, back in November 2012, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) notified Bengaluru as a district where groundwater was over exploited.

Following the notification, CGWA passed a rule stating that borewells cannot be drilled for commercial purposes in the notified areas. The rule clearly stated that borewells should be allowed only in case there is a drinking water shortage in the area and the area does not have a government water supply system. However, for over a decade now borewells have come up in an unregulated manner.

Similarly, in 2019, a special committee constituted by the Karnataka Groundwater Authority passed a rule banning use of borewell water for construction purposes. However, until last month, when the city was hit by a severe water crisis, multiple borewells could be seen at big construction sites. 

Multiple officials who spoke to DH said that there was a need for change in mindset among people and now is the right time. “Now that they feel the pinch of the water crisis, people are ready to make changes. We should be able to build upon this change in mindset and bring in a permanent change in the way water management is perceived,” another official from the department said. 

Highlights - Rules that were flouted In 2012, the Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA) ruled that borewells cannot be drilled for commercial purposes in the notified areas However, for over a decade now borewells have come up in an unregulated manner In 2019, a panel constituted by the Karnataka Groundwater Authority banned use of borewell water for construction purposes Until last month, multiple borewells could be seen at big construction sites 

Quote - We are trying to coordinate with various departments to enforce these rules and suggestions from the policy. However many of them could not be implemented completely on ground owing to various constraints. Now that the enforcement has gained momentum we should be able to keep it going - Senior official Water Resources Department

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(Published 03 April 2024, 00:10 IST)

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