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Water crisis hits Bengaluru industries, production costs soar amid scarcity  

Industrialists say that the increased cost of procuring water is driving up production costs.
Last Updated : 05 March 2024, 21:11 IST
Last Updated : 05 March 2024, 21:11 IST

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Bengaluru: The city’s water crisis is hitting industrial production hard, as they struggle to access water to meet their employees’ basic needs.

Industrialists say that the increased cost of procuring water is driving up production costs.

For instance, the cost of producing phenyl and other home cleaning products rose by at least 10 per cent due to the water crisis, said Asha NR of Asha Chemicals that functions in the Machohalli (Bengaluru North) industrial area.

"Since our borewells are dry, we have to depend on tankers, which are expensive. As a result, the production cost has gone up by at least 10%,” she said.

Though all the industries in the city are reeling under severe water crisis, the impact is particularly pronounced in those industries that are water dependent. Among the worst hit are textile processing units, chemical industries, and paper manufacturers, industrialists said.

“Since these industries depend heavily on water, they are the worst hit. If the situation continues, many of them will have to temporarily shut shop as they cannot afford to keep buying water at such high rates,” said Suresh N Sagar, governing council member, Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA).

Though some industries will manage to survive by hiking the prices of the products they sell, others may have to close down until the situation gets better.

“Even a small-scale textile processing unit requires one lakh litres of water a day,” said Ashok Chakravarthi, who runs a textile processing unit near Basaveshwaranagar.

"With poor supply and dry borewells, we do not know how to manage the situation. This is the situation even though we have an in-house Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP). Now, since the orders are relatively low, we are able to manage. In the next few months, we will have to refuse to take orders if the situation does not get better.”

Basic needs of workers

Industry bodies also point to units that are struggling to meet the basic needs of their workers. 

“Consider a garment factory where there are hundreds of workers. In such industries, they are not able to meet the basic needs of workers. The situation has turned worse this year with majority of the borewells running dry,” said Shiva Kumar R, president, Peenya Industries Association.

Industrialists are concerned about water management for the next three months.

“The situation is so bad right at the beginning of summer. We wonder how we will pull through the summer,” Sagar said.

'Open to using treated water'

Industrialists are ready to use treated water to beat the looming crises but find no system that would allow them to access it.

“We want to use treated water but a lack of system and means to access is a hindrance,” Shivakumar from the Peenya Industries Association said. "The authorities should have planned and provided us with treated water so that we could have tested and planned on its use. But, no initiative was taken in this regard."

Acknowledging that the process of getting treated water is not seamless, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) chairman Ram Prasath Manohar V said they will soon meet all the stakeholders to understand how they can supply treated water.

"We will soon hold a meeting and understand their requirements. Based on the discussions, we will make arrangements to supply treated water,” he said. 

As a long-term measure, the BWSSB is also planning to lay pipelines to supply treated water to industrial areas.

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Published 05 March 2024, 21:11 IST

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