Soon after Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) conducted sample tests on tap water quality in India, a report cited that among 21 cities in this country, Bengaluru’s water failed to meet the quality standards of the survey. Branded non-drinkable, the city’s tap water was found to be below par.
Elevated levels of total dissolved solids may generate bitter taste of water. Besides, there are certain inorganic minerals found in the samples that cause hardness in water and stains it.
Water quality in Bengaluru, however, largely depends on the source of water, and this differs from area to area. Every source, borewells or the one supplied from Cauvery, are prone to contamination. This is the reason why many residents use filters, water purifiers, bottled water and canned water.
Most residents rely on the basic method of boiling water because of the pathetic condition of the tap water supply.
“The major sources of tap water are Cauvery water supplied by BWSSB, corporation water and the water supplied by tankers from borewells. Generally, the water supplied by corporation is considered portable as it undergoes certain purification processes before supplying it to the public,” says Vinitha Mani, a resident of Abbigere.
However, she adds, water supplied by tankers from borewells are considered to be hazardous. It is not recommended for drinking due to pollutants that are not removed. Cauvery water is considered safe to some extent. “Even then, it is always recommended to use a purifier before using it for drinking,” Mani adds.
“In general, whatever may be the form of supply, it is always recommended to use a purifier before using the water for drinking. After purifying it, water can be boiled to remove further unnecessary substances in order to have a healthy lifestyle,” she elaborates.
Piyush Sancheti, who resides in Nayandahalli with his family, states that “Bengaluru’s water quality is different in each area. In the past, we resided in Banashankari which provided us with borewell water that could be easily consumed. After shifting to Nayandahalli five years ago, we have been facing tough times with drinking water.”
The experience with city water at present, he asserts, is not satisfactory. “Not installing purifiers and filters is like risking your health with impure water.”
Among the people affected by this revelation, homemakers use water not just for drinking but also for cooking and various other household chores. This is an indirect form of consumption.
“I have lived in Bengaluru for more than 16 years and I haven’t seen water in such an abominable condition. Some days we can taste the bleach present in the water,” explains Chandana Jana, a homemaker from Chickpete.
She continues: “I use mud pots at my home, and when water is stored for two days, the mud gets settled at the bottom of the pot. The water at the top can be used after boiling. Also, while I go to fetch water, I carry a cloth with me that helps to filter the water,” Jana says.
“Bengaluru’s drinking water quality has never been satisfactory, we have been receiving hard tap water since the last few years. The taste of the water is very bad and it cannot be consumed without having filters or purifiers installed,” notes Ajita Bihani, another homemaker from Whitefield.
For a city which is in dire need of water due to its scarcity, this will be a major blow. The water supplied in the city should be treated well. Highly populated cities should be particularly more concerned about their public’s health. Citizens want the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to acknowledge this and take actions keeping in mind sound public health.