BENGALURU: STARING AT THE WATER CRISIS
Posted on Oct 23, 2015 at 10:24 AM
As a city, we find ourselves in a grave situation with too many factors causing a negative impact on our freshwater resources while the solutions proposed and acted upon are minimal. The Garden City, the Silicon Valley of India – Bengaluru, is situated at an altitude of 3000 feet above sea level which means that the water we use here has to be pumped up. This makes the water here the most expensive in all of India and Asia. Bengaluru’s water costs the government a whopping Rs. 82 per kilolitre while Delhi’s water on the other hand, costs its government only Rs. 28 per kilolitre.
But how safe is the water here? In the tests conducted by the Public Health Institute along with the Department of Mines and Geology of the Karnataka government, the results revealed that 52 per cent of the borewell water and 59 per cent of tap water in Bengaluru is not potable, and contains 8.4 per cent and 19 per cent Ecoli bacteria respectively.
In 1790, Bengaluru was described as the land of a thousand lakes. Less than 200 of those 1000 lakes have managed to survive. If you are wondering what happened to the remaining 800-odd lakes, the answer is the biggest magic trick – they disappeared! Did you know that JP Nagar 4th Phase was in fact the Sarakki Agrahara Lake? Kanteerava stadium now stands on what was once the Sampangi Lake. Banakshankari 2nd stage replaced Kadirenahalli Lake. Kempegowda bus terminal took care of the Dharmabudhi Lake and the list goes on.
The 850 km of storm water drains which should ideally be carrying surplus water from higher elevation lakes to lower levels in a system of natural rainwater harvesting are now polluting the few lakes left with the city’s sewage.
Considering that only 30% of the city’s sewage is treated before releasing, 70% of untreated sewage from the city is being dumped into what is left of our lakes.
RISING DEMAND BUT FALLING SUPPLY
Adding to the ‘dirty picture’, in just a decade, the city’s population rose from 53 lakhs in 2001 to 87 lakhs in 2011. The figures are projected to reach one crore by 2016. Sadly, the amount of water provided by Cauvery River hasn’t increased at the same pace. The sewage water contaminates the ground water and percolates into the borewells.
WHAT CAN WE DO?
As freaky as all this might sound, we still have a sliver of a chance to change things for good.
We have to be aware of this situation and accept that Bangalore is facing a severe crisis. Each one of the informed citizen should try to bring about the change. If we decide not to waste water, the intended impact is bound to follow. All that is required is taking small steps towards the restoration of the green grandeur of our city.
Estimates show that 35% of water pumped to the city is wasted. Reporting leakages and avoiding wastages can go a long way in saving some of that and reducing the percentage of wasted water.
Rain Water Harvesting along with conservation efforts could vastly improve the availability of freshwater. If communities of independent homes could come together and set up rainwater harvesting systems, it could make a huge difference!
Let us all pledge to do our part in helping the city overcome its water crisis.