Friday, April 20, 2007

Property boom faces low ground water hurdle

Property boom faces low ground water hurdle
Deccan Herald

With borewells on the verge of drying, Residential areas, especially in Bangalore North and East, are among the ‘most critical’ areas as far as ground water is concerned.

Planning to invest in property in Bangalore? Make sure that there is adequate surface water supply and a provision for rain water harvesting because ground water resources in the entire district are already in the red.

In several residential areas, especially in Bangalore North and East, borewells are dry or on the verge of drying. Ironically, the areas, recording meteoric land price hike, are among the ‘most critical’ areas as far as ground water is concerned.

“Though in the entire Bangalore district ground water is in a critical condition, the worst hit are Devanahalli, Doddaballapur, Nelamangala, Bangalore East (Whitefield and adjoining areas) and Hoskote,” said a senior officer from the Department of Mines and Geology Department.

Over use

“In these areas, ground water utilisation is more than 100 per cent of annual recharge and there’s no further scope for exploitation. People have drilled borewells but these are not going to be sustainable sources of water,” he said. One of the signs of sinking water table is the depths at which borewells have been drilled. In some areas borewells have been drilled up to 1,200 feet, he added.

Bangalore’s future commercial nerve centre – Devanahalli is virtually sitting on a dry water table. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is currently supplying five lakh litres of non potable water per day to Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL).

Long term measure

“For potable water they will require another five to ten lakh litres per day, which we will try and feed through Cauvery water. But for the Devanahalli industrial township, we will have no option but to supply treated and recycled waste water, after obtaining the permission from the government,” he said.

“For residential areas in Devanahalli, people will have to ensure rainwater harvesting and the government will have to set up a reverse osmosis (RO) plant as a long term measure,” he said adding that the BWSSB is insisting on property developers and builders to ensure rain water harvesting in their masterplan.

“The situation has worsened in the last three years. The average annual rainfall in the district is only 600 to 700 mm per year. In 2001, 2002 and 2003 because of the drought, ground water recharge has been very low. Bangalore is entirely dependent on rainfall because it is built on a plateau, on different hydrological basins of South Pinakini and Cauvery,” said an officer from the department of mines and geology.

“It’s time that the government declared a five-year holiday for exploitation of ground water,” he added.


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