Mission Paani: With 23 out of 30 districts in Karnataka battling drought, Bengaluru stares at looming water crisis

  • Bengaluru residents are relying on private water tankers to tide over their water woes.

  • Bengaluru's heavy dependence on groundwater and Cauvery has precipitated the crisis.

  • The demand has exceeded supply and most residents are completely dependent on water tankers.

While Mumbai had a 2005 deluge re-run scare last week and Chennai continues to be parched, Bengaluru is staring at a looming water crisis. With 23 out of 30 districts in Karnataka battling drought and Bengaluru’s water resources fast depleting, the Garden City is beginning to feel the pangs of an acute water shortage. Residents are relying on private water tankers to tide over their water woes.

Consider the case of Bellandur, which is largely home to information technology (IT) professionals and the epicentre of a growing water crisis. This is evident in the constant movement of tankers.

The neighbourhood may be a one-stop destination for jobs in IT and IT-enabled services, or ITes, professionals, but when it comes to basic amenities like water, a lot is still left to be desired. Usually, a residential complex in Bellandur gets 6,500 litres for their daily needs.

Jitesh Midha, a resident, says: “Around 350 families live here. Even if we use about 400 litres a day, on an average, 1,20,000 litres are required that can, at best, be supplied by at least 25 tankers. The state government’s apathy has heightened our over-dependence on tankers. Besides, our Cauvery water connection application is being denied without any rhyme or reason.”

Swathi Jain, another resident, concurs. “We are spending about Rs 2,000 a month to buy water from private tankers. In a bid to keep expenses on our water bills down, pay per usage is a utilitarian approach that can work wonders.”

 Mission Paani: With 23 out of 30 districts in Karnataka battling drought, Bengaluru stares at looming water crisis

Most of Bengaluru's lakes have run dry. The rest are foaming, frothing and burning. Residents have taken it upon themselves to conserve water as the state government is battling to find a lasting solution to the crisis.

In concrete jungles like Bengaluru, grappling with rampant urbanisation and mass migration from India’s hinterland, the commonplace solution to end water woes is installation of rainwater harvesting pits to recharge groundwater. But a bountiful monsoon can only replenish groundwater.

Sadhna Agarwal, a resident, says: “The daily water supply at the peak of summer is reduced to a bare trickle. We are totally dependent on RO water for our daily chores. When my children brush their teeth in the morning, I can only give them a mug of water.”

Bengaluru's heavy dependence on groundwater and Cauvery has precipitated the crisis. The state government is acutely aware of Bengaluru’s water woes. In fact, Karnataka deputy chief minister G Parameshwara has recently announced that the government is considering a ban on construction of new housing complexes because the builders have been unable to provide basic amenities.

Amit Jain, a resident, supports the state government’s latest move. “I welcome the ban on construction. When I moved here 10 years ago, civic amenities were never an issue. But, that’s not the case any more because of a total infrastructure collapse.”

Bengaluru is experiencing an unprecedented rapid growth and development. Consequently, the demand has exceeded supply and most residents are completely dependent on water tankers. Rainwater harvesting appears to be a viable option. But soon, it could be the only choice for harried residents of a city that’s bursting at the seams amid crumbling infrastructure.

Updated Date: Jul 10, 2019 19:37:35 IST