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Bengaluru Faces Acute Water Crisis: Struggle for Sustainable Solutions

The IT hub of India, Bengaluru is facing its worst water crisis affecting education institutes, residential areas, making the city halt

Ahead of the summer season, Bengaluru is confronting an unprecedented water shortage, leaving apartment owners in a frantic search for water amidst depleted borewells and overwhelmed tanker services.

Despite the continuous rise in property prices within the city, experts argue that the strain of unplanned urban development and rapid infrastructure growth has exacerbated the water crisis.

Even residents who have invested substantial amounts, upwards of Rs 2 crore, in apartments within upscale gated communities are now facing severe water rationing, with access limited to specific time slots each day.

In complexes like Mantri Espana, residents received an email from the resident welfare association, accessed by Moneycontrol, highlighting the absence of water supply for the past 30 hours.

Anurag Kashyap

A software professional who relocated from Kerala, preferring to remain anonymous, expressed disappointment, stating, “We liquidated our family assets to purchase an apartment in Bengaluru with a loan of Rs 1 crore. Aside from escalating property values, there has been little improvement in the overall situation.”

As Bengaluru faces a severe water shortage, the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board has implemented penalties for wastage of drinking water to encourage prudent water usage.

In light of the crisis, the Board emphasizes the importance of economically utilizing drinking water. Residents are urged to refrain from using drinking water for activities such as vehicle washing, construction, entertainment purposes, and non-drinking purposes in cinema halls and malls.

Violators will face a penalty of ₹5,000, with subsequent violations incurring an additional fine of ₹500 for each offense, as per the board’s decision.

Bengaluru, with its population of 1.3 crore, is grappling with a significant deficit in its daily water requirements, facing a shortfall of over 1,500 MLD (Million Liters Per Day) against a demand ranging between 2,600-2,800 MLD.

Also Read: https://khabarelahar.com/ganga-river-declared-unfit-for-bathing-in-west-bengal/

The water scarcity extends beyond Bengaluru, as parts of Tumakuru and Uttara Kannada districts have also been flagged by the revenue department as vulnerable to shortages. With 236 taluks in the state declared drought-hit, 219 are experiencing severe consequences.

To address the crisis, the state government is exploring various solutions, including the utilization of recycled and treated water from residents’ associations.

Government helplines and control rooms are inundated with requests, while authorities are intensifying efforts to clamp down on unauthorized water tanker operations.

Tanker costs have also surged, prompting the Bangalore City District Collector to fix the rates for 200 privately operated tankers for a four-month duration.

Following the strain on apartments, gated communities, and industries, the water scarcity in Bengaluru has now begun impacting educational institutions.

Abheek Academy, a private home school located off Bannerghatta Road, decided to temporarily close its doors on Wednesday due to the water crisis. Indraa Raju, the founder of the academy, explained to indianexpress.com that the closure will extend until Monday owing to the water scarcity.

Raju stated, “The borewell has been dry for the past week, and despite numerous attempts to procure water tankers, we have been unsuccessful. Many tankers are now unavailable due to government regulations, making it challenging for us to access their services as we could before. Given that our homeschool relies on activity-based learning, we felt it was too risky to continue operations without water. Therefore, we decided to temporarily shut down until the issue is resolved.”

The Possible Measures that can be beneficial in tackling the crisis.

  1. Rainwater Harvesting: Encouraging and mandating rainwater harvesting systems in buildings and communities can help capture and store rainwater for later use. This practice reduces reliance on traditional water sources and helps replenish groundwater levels.
  2. Water Reuse and Recycling: Implementing water recycling and reuse systems in industries, commercial establishments, and residential complexes can significantly reduce water demand. Treated wastewater can be utilized for non-potable purposes such as irrigation, industrial processes, and toilet flushing, thus conserving freshwater resources.
  3. Desalination Plants: Exploring the feasibility of establishing desalination plants to convert seawater into potable water can provide an alternative water source for the city. While desalination is energy-intensive and expensive, advancements in technology may make it a viable option in the long term.
  4. Groundwater Recharge: Initiatives aimed at replenishing groundwater reserves through artificial recharge methods, such as injecting treated wastewater or surface runoff into aquifers, can help stabilize water levels and ensure sustainable groundwater availability.
  5. Policy Interventions: Implementing strict regulations and policies to prevent illegal groundwater extraction, promote efficient water use practices, and penalize wastage can help curb water misuse and ensure equitable distribution of available water resources.
  6. Public Awareness and Education: Educating the public about the importance of water conservation and adopting water-efficient practices in daily life is essential. Awareness campaigns can encourage behavioral changes and promote responsible water consumption habits among citizens.
  7. Integrated Water Management: Adopting a holistic approach to water management that considers factors such as land use planning, watershed management, and ecosystem conservation is crucial. Integrated water management strategies can enhance water resilience and mitigate the impacts of climate change on water availability.
  8. Investment in Infrastructure: Upgrading and expanding water infrastructure, including pipelines, storage facilities, and distribution networks, is essential to improve water supply reliability and reduce losses due to leakage and inefficiencies.
  9. Community Participation: Engaging communities in water conservation initiatives and involving stakeholders in decision-making processes can foster a sense of ownership and collective responsibility towards water resources management.

By implementing a combination of these measures and fostering collaboration between government agencies, private sectors, civil society organizations, and citizens, Bengaluru can work towards achieving water security and resilience in the face of growing water challenges.

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