Benda-kaal-ooru a.k.a. Bengaluru, has seen several transitions from being known as the Land of Thousand Lakes to the Garden City of India and presently the Silicon Valley of India. Bengaluru was also known as the City for Retired People because of its salubrious climate. But now, Bengaluru is known as the City of Dreams & Jobs. In the past decade, Bengaluru has seen a rapid development / change in terms of Infrastructure and Job opportunities with the already present public and private sector industries and the booming Information Technology & E-Commerce services. This has led to inorganic population growth over the last 8-10 years. Bengaluru’s population has grown from a sedate 30 lakhs in 1980 to over 110 lakhs now. Just in the last 15 years, the population has almost doubled. This has put a strong pressure on public utilities, especially on the availability of potable water.
Bengaluru has always been blessed with an abundance of natural water through a strong network of freshwater lakes and high rainfall. Bengaluru overcame the lack of a perennial river with a system of cascading of lakes and tanks which were fed through natural rain water. The excess rainwater would flow into four natural drainage valleys – Challaghatta, Koramangala, Hebbal and Vrishabhavati. A manmade lake at Hesaraghatta, the initial phases of the Cauvery Pipeline and constantly replenished groundwater were adequate for meeting the water demands before the population boom. But now, the situation has changed, forcing the civic authorities to take strong corrective measures to meet the rising demand for water.
Current Water Scenario:
The rise in demand of water due to growing population burdened BWSSB to increase water supply accordingly. The situation was worsened by the lakes drying up and getting encroached. This led to BWSSB having to source additional water from Cauvery and Arkavati rivers. Currently, Cauvery water is meeting the needs of atleast 60 – 65% of the households in Bengaluru. This water is being pumped from downstream 90 km away over an elevation of 1500 meters. This is a costly but required process. The figure below gives us the exact picture of supply and demand of water in Bengaluru as of 2014. The impact of the current water shortage if forcing citizens to depend on private water tankers, unregulated expansion of private borewells and in some places, low or no water supply. This could lead to slow-down in economic and residential development.
The demand was 1650 MLD and the supply was 1400 MLD through Cauvery alone and rest with illegal bore wells of about 200 MLD followed by 105 MLD by private borewells and 35.6 MLD of BWSSB Borewells. Though there was enough supply, because of losses and illegal borewells, there is a deficit of approx. 400 MLD. [MLD- Million Liters a Day]
Future Prediction from CloverMark:
BWSSB has come up with several plans to mitigate the supply-demand gap and a few are already in implementation stage. BWSSB has undertaken the following projects, along with the Government of Karnataka, to address the growing water demand: Expanding Cauvery Pipeline with the 4th Stage, 2nd Phase, Yettinahole project to bring Nethravati river water to North Bengaluru, Restoration of lakes & Mandatory rain water harvesting to replenish groundwater, Water kiosks to increase water supply points to the masses & regulate illegal brawls, More STPs and WTPs for recycling wastewater. Bengaluru, the Start-up Capital of India, is the Engine of Job Creation and that high paying white collar jobs. It is imperative that the infrastructure issues of the city are systematically and rapidly addressed. The civic agencies are doing their bit, but it’s also time for the citizenry to be socially aware and help tackle the water deficit. Together, it is possible for the water situation to be handled well and make Bengaluru the Garden City of India.
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Photo Caption: Bengaluru Water Report- Supply and Demand