The Supreme Court on Monday stayed a Karnataka High Court order that allowed the state government to pump the secondary treated water from the sewage treatment plants of Bengaluru city to the minor irrigation tanks in Kolar district for the purpose of recharging the water table through the Koramangala Challaghata (K&C) valley project.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul suspended the operation of the interim order issued on September 28, 2018, on a special leave petition by R Anjaneya Reddy, president of Shashwatha Neeravari Horata Samithi.
The petitioner, represented by advocates Prashant Bhushan and Omanakuttan K K, contended that the K&C valley and Hebbal and Nagavara (H&N) valley projects being implemented by the state government were causing pollution of water bodies and drinking water sources.
Partially treated water and trade effluents were being pumped from the STPs and four of the minor irrigation tanks on the alignment. The project envisaged pumping of 210 million litres per day (mld) of secondary treated water or reclaimed water from Nagavara, Hennur and Horamavu STPs to Amani Gopal Krishna Kere and onwards to fill 65 tanks in Bengaluru Rural, and Urban and Chikkaballapur districts.
“The project is bad for the reason that the right to clean and safe drinking water of the large population of the areas in question is put to jeopardy. Supplying contaminated water containing heavy metals and un-neutralised chemicals to the minor irrigation tanks of Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Bengaluru Rural districts will cause serious repercussions on the health of the large population,” the petition
The top court issued notice to the state government.
The petitioner claimed that Karnataka had not conducted any scientific study on the project before
implementation. “Haphazard implementation of the project will result in negative impact on the health of the large population,” he submitted.
He contended that the High Court erred in not considering the report of August 28, 2015, by the Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, which negative remarks on the project. The drinking water quality from groundwater sources available in Kolar, Chikkaballapur and Bengaluru Rural districts is poor.