‘Water famine' likely by 2020

Anticipating a “water famine” by 2020, the Centre for Policies and Practices has, in association with Bangalore Environment Trust, come up with a seven-point Rs. 24,000-crore action plan to meet the crisis.

A day-long conference to discuss the issue resolved here on Sunday to urge the State Government to get a Bangalore Water Supply and Water Recovery Plan prepared by a competent agency.

This plan would help the Government in availing itself of the required financial assistance from international funding agencies such as the World Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) or the Asian Development Bank, said the former Additional Chief Secretary V. Balasubramanian.

Addressing presspersons after the conference, Mr. Balasubramanian and Centre for Policies and Practices director P.G.R. Sindhia said that they would soon meet Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda to apprise him of the plan.

“With increasing population, the problem of water availability is getting worse. Analysing the prevailing situation, we can expect a ‘water famine' by 2020 if the government and the public do not wake up now,” said Mr. Sindhia.

Pointing out that the action plan had been proposed to meet the impending “water famine”, Mr. Sindhia said that measures to conserve, recycle and reuse water were of utmost importance.

“The city's requirement of drinking water will increase to 1,425 million litres of water per day (mld) from this year itself. Although the Cauvery IV Stage 2 Phase project, which will bring an additional 500 mld of water to the city, will be completed by this March, this will not meet the growing demand for water, if leakage is not plugged and water reuse is not made compulsory,” he explained.

Rejuvenation and restoration of the existing 180 lakes in the city, prevention of ground water contamination and depletion of groundwater table, removal of encroachments on storm-water drains and rajakaluves, compulsory rainwater harvesting besides recycle and reuse of treated water are a must to meet the impending crisis, Mr. Sindhia said.

New law

Earlier, participating in the discussion, Minister for BWSSB and Law and Parliamentary Affairs S. Suresh Kumar said that a Bill aimed at legally empowering the Lake Development Authority (LDA) to discharge its mandate effectively would be soon tabled in the Legislature Assembly.

“We hope to get it passed after the budget session,” he said.

The Minister, who said that the water board was striving to complete work on Cauvery IV Stage 2 Phase by March, Mr. Suresh Kumar said: “It is not an easy task. Shortage of skilled labour is a major hurdle. However, all steps are being taken to tackle the situation.”