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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Severe drinking water crisis in 110 villages on outskirts of Bengaluru

The delay in the onset of monsoons this year has led to severe drinking water crisis in 110 villages on the city’s outskirts, and the recent rains are yet to have an impact on the ground water table. As a result, many borewells in these villages have gone dry and are under repair. 

The city’s civic body has decided to drill additional borewells in these villages to solve the drinking water crisis in these villages. This comes even as Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is all set to miss another deadline for completion of the Cauvery V Stage. 

“The drinking water situation has worsened in the 110 villages. Most of us are dependent on water tankers paying up hefty prices. Many borewells are dry. The poor are unable to bear the cost of tanker water and the civic body is doing little to help better the situation,” said Jagadish Reddy, of Varthur village. 

Rakesh Kumar, a water tanker businessman from Bangalore South assembly constituency, said compared to the last two years, demand for tanker water had shot up over the last two months and the prices have also gone up marginally. A 12,000-litre tanker load now costs up to ₹1500 while a 6,000-litre tanker load costs ₹900, the same tanker loads cost ₹1200 and ₹750 respectively, three months ago. 

To address the situation, BBMP has earmarked ₹5 crore for supplying water through tankers to some of these pockets where the poor live, it has earmarked another ₹5 crore for drilling new borewells. “We have asked the zones to do a survey of the gaps in water supply in 110 villages, the only area in the city where the civic body is still responsible for providing drinking water. We will drill new borewells in these villages as per requirement. This will be a medium-term solution and in the short term, I have directed officials to provide water in tankers and we have earmarked ₹5 crore for the same,” Chief Civic Commissioner, Tushar Giri Nath said. 

However, many residents of these villages complain that the water being provided in tankers is not only insufficient, but also marred by partisanship. “There is no record of per capita water distribution. You need to be politically influential and side with the local MLA to get this water,” Mr. Reddy said, adding completion of Cauvery V Stage was the only sustainable long term solution. “It has been 16 years since we joined BBMP and still the city is yet to give us drinking water,” he said. 

Cauvery V Stage misses another deadline

Cauvery V Stage was set to be completed by October 2023. However, N. Jayaram, Chairman, BWSSB said there have been some delays due to change in alignment in Kanakapura town, which had to be approved by the union government as it passed through national highway and a contractor was underperforming. “We are mulling giving the contractor a notice, and if need be change the contractor,” he said, adding they were working towards a year end deadline. 

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