Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Dry & dark days

Dry & dark days
No power, no water. This is what the summer holds for the state. The dreaded unscheduled load-shedding is back in Bangalore and other parts of the state. Reason: lack of power availability. On the water front, too, the scene is rather grim: once-in-six days supply in some areas and absolutely no water in others.

The Times of India

Bangalore: It’s ‘pani’ Bangaloreans want. But that is what is proving to be a mirage.
It’s worse in the erstwhile CMC areas. No groundwater, no tap water.
On Sarjapur Road, a new apartment built by a known developer comprising four blocks of nine floors each is waiting for buyers. On the other hand, a few who have bought the flats are in a hurry to dispose them of. The buyers discovered that it is lack of water supply in the area which is the major reason.
Though the developer has sunk 18 borewells in the apartment premises, he has not struck water!
For Greater Bangalore’s new entrants — residents of erstwhile seven CMCs, one TMC and 110 villages — the only hope from the new administration is good quality drinking water supply. But little do they realise that Cauvery water is a distant dream as the BWSSB cannot channelise water from its present reserves.
For the residents in city’s periphery, dried up borewells, erratic drinking water supply has become a part of life. So much so, in their monthly household expenses, a sizeable amount is reserved for buying water — mineral water for drinking and cooking and tanker water for other purposes.
Says Krishnamurthy M C, a resident of KHB apartments in Yelahanka New Town: “We had mini water supply schemes but the Yelahanka CMC failed to pay power charges to Bescom. As a result, power was disconnected. Hence, the mini water supply scheme does not work. A few pockets get Cauvery water which is not adequate and so people depend on tankers. We have booked a local water tanker owner who supplies two tankers every day at a discounted price: Rs 180 per tanker as against the normal price of Rs 250.’’
Compared with its “poor cousins’’, the areas in Bangalore are a luckier lot. As of now they get water supply on alternate days and some once in three days. However, during the crucial summer months, water will be rationed. Since the Tippagondanahalli reservoir has dried up, right now only 35 MLD is being pumped as against the normal pumping of 135 MLD, which is supplied to Bangalore West areas.
The BWSSB plans to reduce the quantity of water during summer — the water supply might come down from 22,000 litres to 20,000 litres per household. Now, the supply varies from 25,000 to 40,000 litres per connection, Venkataraju, BWSSB chief engineer, water supply, explains.
“As of now we do not see a major problem except that not much water can be pumped from TG Halli reservoir. But the BWSSB is not connected to the new Greater Bangalore areas as of now,’’ he adds.
In the coming months, BWSSB may restrict water supply from once in three days to once in six days depending on the area.However, Bangalore North areas continue to have erratic water supply due to disturbances in the lines and so BWSSB is trying to channelise water from South areas to these affected places.
But less said the better about the former CMCs. In Somasundrapalya, behind Chinmaya Vidya Mandira next to HSR Layout, there is no BWSSB water and residents depend on borewells. Due to depleting water table, even the borewells have started drying up. Despite digging for a depth of 700-800 ft, residents do not strike water.
The groundwater table scene is alarming. In 1930s the depletion was only 30 feet, which began to increase year after year. Now the situation is that in the East of Bangalore, even after digging up to 500 feet, there is no sign of water. The Western part of the city has a level of about 350 feet and experts feel that the South is at present safe — with a depletion level of about 180 to 200 feet.
Another important reason for the drastic depletion is the absence of channels to replenish water. In the country side, water seeps into the ground easily as the cemented surfaces are considerably less. Due to the greenery, muddy roads and lack of shoulder drains, water pilfers into the ground without any effort.
Water supply may be rationed in the coming months - once in three days to six days - depending on the situation.
Areas in the periphery are the worst hit - no Cauvery water. Residents are dependent on only borewells, which have started drying up.
Private tankers and mineral water suppliers are making a brisk business with people going in for tanker water, especially those in apartments.
Groundwater table depletes to alarming depths - at some places, even at 700 ft, water is not found.


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