Karnataka plans mega universal drinking water project

Fetching water is still a Herculean task for people in several villages. The universal drinking water scheme will require creation of infrastructure to connect water sources to the villages. dh file photo

The state government is giving shape to a big-ticket universal drinking water scheme for piped water supply to every village in Karnataka.

The project will be a scaled-up version of the multi-village drinking water supply scheme launched in Gadag.

The idea is being anchored by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) department. “There have been discussions with the chief minister to put universal drinking water as a priority of this government. The idea is vast and the cost is huge. While it’s too early for me to confirm anything, we are looking at a large-scale solution based on the Gadag model,” RDPR Minister Krishna Byre Gowda said.

Gowda said Karnataka has enough water to support a universal drinking water project. “We’re doing the assessment of the requirement and availability of the quantum of water. The state’s reservoir storage capacity is about 680 tmcft. To provide water to the entire state, we’ll need about 70 tmc. It will be a challenge financially, but that’s the direction in which we are thinking,” he said.

According to sources, the government is likely to commission a detailed project report (DPR) for the universal drinking water scheme, which is estimated to cost Rs 50,000 crore.

The government is studying the ‘Mission Bhagiratha’ of Telangana and the ‘Sardar Sarovar Canal Based Water Supply Project’ of Gujarat.

In Gadag district, water drawn from the Tungabhadra and Malaprabha rivers through a pipeline network is supplied to 343 villages in Gadag, Shirahatti, Laxmeshwar, Mundaragi, Naragund, Ron and Gajendragad taluks at a cost of Rs 1,049 crore. “The idea is to see if something like this can be extended to the entire state in a phased manner,” Gowda said.  

The universal drinking water scheme will require the creation of infrastructure to connect water sources to the villages. “Existing multi-village drinking water schemes will ensure 20% coverage. For the rest, we will look at hybridisation of the existing infrastructure since local, reliable water sources are available in many places,” a source with direct knowledge of the proposal said.

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Karnataka plans mega universal drinking water project

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