Friday, August 20, 2010

DRY DAYS

DRY DAYS
Drinking water supply to most parts of Bangalore will be reduced by half as water level drops alarmingly at TG Halli reservoir
Manasi Paresh Kumar manasi.pk@timesgroup.com


Bangalore is heading for a major drinking water problem. With the Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir, one of the city’s two drinking water sources, likely to stop pumping in a week’s time, drinking water to entire west Bangalore will have to come from south Bangalore, thus creating a shortage there. West Bangalore will get an average of four hours of drinking water every day, but the drinking water supply to south Bangalore will come down from the current 12 hours to six hours daily.
TG Halli reservoir, which is the main water source to areas like Malleswaram, Rajajinagar and Vijayanagar in Bangalore west, has just eight feet of water left and its capacity has come down to eight MLD from its original capacity of 160 MLD. According to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) sources, this is the lowest water level in the reservoir in the last two decades.
WAITING FOR DASARA RAINS
The BWSSB is now banking on Dasara rains in October in the catchment area around the Arkavathi Lake for the TG Halli reservoir to get going again. But given the poor showing of the monsoons in Bangalore, that hope seems far-fetched. Figures from the MET department are worrisome - in 2008 August, Bangalore saw a rainfall of 309.8 mm, in August 2009 it was 345.8 mm and in 2010 August there has alarmingly been only 8.6 mm rainfall in the city.
Bangalore already has a deficit of about 300 MLD of drinking water. “We supply about 960 MLD of water to the city everyday, while the daily requirement is 1300 MLD,” said BWSSB Chief Engineer maintenance Venkataraju. With TG Halli drying up, the pressure of supplying the city with water daily is now fully on Thorehakodanhalli (TK Halli) canal that gets water directly from the Cauvery river.
TG Halli is equipped to hold about 74 feet of water but over the last few years, this level has been coming down quite drastically. In 2005, there was 61.7 feet, in 2006 it fell to 50.5 feet, it was 32.3 feet in 2007, 43.4 feet in 2008 and 33.6 feet in 2009. The last time this reservoir was filled to the brim was in 1993. The situation is so grim that the BWSSB is considering completely stopping all pumping activity at the TG Halli reservoir. “The discussions have been going on in the last fortnight because at eight feet you really can’t pump water because there are a huge number of fish in the reservoir as well,” BWSSB officials said.
FEWER OPTIONS
There are not many options. The second stage of Cauvery IV phase will be completed only in 2012. For now, the BWSSB has put a water management plan in place where it is re-routing water from south Bangalore to west Bangalore. “Parts of South Bangalore get water for close to 12 hours. Now that has been cut down to six hours. We changed pipelines near Vani Vilas Hospital and Ulsoor and saved some water being lost to leakage. We are managing for now,” a BWSSB spokesman said.

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