Cancelled Holi pool parties spill out losses for businesses

BWSSB festival Top Story

On April 18 Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Bangalore was struggling with a shortage of 500 million litres of water every day, which is about a fifth of the city’s daily total demand.

Several resorts, porticos and hotels in the city say they are incurring losses as they have to cancel plans of hosting pool parties and rain dances on the upcoming occasion of Holi. This comes after BWSSB’s directions on banning the use of potable water for pool and rain parties on Holi.

Jadupati Bera, organiser of “Biggest Pool Rooftop Open Air Holi Party 2024” at the Kensho Rooftop Pub on Tumkur Road said the water events scheduled at the party, including pool activities have been called off due to the BWSSB’s order. “We have had to reduce our ticket prices from Rs. 299 last year to Rs. 99 this year. Perhaps because we are unable to offer water activities this time, we haven’t witnessed many takers yet,” he said.

He added that the rooftop swimming pool had to be shut down about five days ago because of insufficient water supply by the municipal corporation

Amit Ojha, event manager of “Holi Splash Pool Party, 2024” which was scheduled to be organised at the Davanam Sarovar Portico in Madiwala said that they have cancelled the event completely. “The government’s orders, however justified, have caused loss in our business,” he said. He added that they will not be able to offer swimming pool activities because of the BWSSB’s order.

Mehak Sah, organiser head of “Open Holi Rain Dance Pool Party” at Usiru Retreat which opened in November 2023, said they were looking forward to hosting their first ever Holi party, but had to abandon the plans. “We have received many queries about the party, and I think we would have seen a good participation if the event had happened,” Sah said. She added that due to the exceptional hot weather this year, pool parties could have been really profitable. She also said that the decision of a dry Holi party at the Retreat is still pending; and ticket pricesmay have to be reduced.

However, not all Bangalore hotels have cancelled water Holi plans. The manager of Lago Palms Resort in Bettadasanapura said, “We are planning a grand pool party here and we will not face water shortage. It is a big resort. We have recycled and stored enough water over the years,” he said.

With an objective to conserve rainwater in the city, the BWSSB had prohibited the use of drinking water in swimming pools. Mohit, staff member at the Aqua Splash Swimming Club, said the water crisis has affected their business. “We have had to close down the pools as we couldn’t get water for cleaning them. Additionally, swimming pools cannot use treated water either, for hygienic purposes.

Vinod Raj, junior Assistant Engineer at the BWSSB said “The order was passed keeping the residents in mind.” He added that in this time of acute water shortage, both Cauvery water and groundwater should be kept aside for the most important purposes only.

Martha, a student residing in Bangalore said she is happy with the step taken by the authorities. “Many people in the city aren’t even able to access free drinking water. Let’s not waste water on Holi celebrations,” she said.

Akshay Heblikar, Director of city-based NGO, Eco Watch said the water shortage this year is a final call for each one of us to be conscious about water usage. “Holi pool parties need to be banned, not just this year, but in the coming years too. If we do not take drastic measures, we will succumb to the crisis much earlier than we can think of,” he added.

A member of Center for Environment and Sustainable Growth, Bangalore said, “Unchecked urbanisation has caused the loss of our lakes which were the primary source of water for the city. Lesser rainfall has made the situation even worse.” Under these circumstances, we cannot afford to waste water, he added. He advised that hotels and resorts should confine themselves to organising dry Holi parties. “But there too, they’ll require water to clean up after, which will also cause wastage,” he added.