Water crisis hits Bangalore


Due to depleting groundwater, BWSSB has narrowed down the approvals on applications to drill borewells in the city.

By Swati Ekka

Number of ‘No objection certificates’ (NOCs)  issued by Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for drilling borewellshave gone down by 20 percent in last five years. This is a result of the depletion in groundwater levels.

Deepankar Mohanty, a resident of KR Puram, said, “In our apartment, borewell is the only source of drinking water. Sometimes we don’t get water supply as the groundwater level depletes and then we have to buy water from local agencies..”

Sunita, another resident of KR Puram, said that they used borewell water earlier. However,three years ago, when groundwater level went down, they applied for Cauvery water connection. Even that was stopped two years ago. Now they buy water from local agency, fill their tank and use it daily.

BM Manjunath, Public Relation Officer (PRO), BWSSB, said, “It is mandatory for people to install rainwater harvesting system to get Cauvery water connection. Many people do not get it as they don’t have rainwater harvesting system installed. They only rely on groundwater. This is one of the main reasons for groundwater depletion.” 

He further said, “We have penalized 68,000 Cauvery water connection users and have collected approximately Rs. 1 crore .”

In 2018-19, out of 2554 applications for drilling borewell, 863 were approved. Whereas in 2019-20, 252 have been approved out 1198 applications.

There are 2.5 lakhs legal borewells in Bangalore. BWSSB supplies 10,450 Million Litres per Day (MLD) of Cauvery water to fulfillthe city’s water demands.

Reports show that, groundwater level in south Bangalore is 0.39Meters Below Ground Level (MGBL) which is least among all the zones in Bangalore. The average level should be 5 MBGL and above.

The senior geologist of Ground Water Authority, said “Most people depend on groundwater. They do not want to build a rainwater harvesting in their houses to get Cauvery water. This leads to illegal borewell drillings and ultimately causing overutilization of groundwater.

“Our annual reports show that groundwater level in Bangalore south has already depleted and in north Bangalore and east Bangalore,  it isdecreasing day by day.”

“The main problem is the policy made by the government is not being implemented properly.

“The Demand for water in Bangalore is double than what BWSSB supplies and thus people have to depend on groundwater. The government should have preserved natural lakes and rivers instead of importing water.

“The concerned department is notpreserving naturally available water and thus Bangalore might run out of water very soon.The government makes these contractual policies.It only gives business to contactors for building rainwater harvesting and does not benefit the people and environment,” said Sandeep Anirudhan, anenvironmentalist.