Members of Peoples' Campaign for Right to Water – Karnataka have opposed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board's (BWSSB) Integrated Leakage Reduction (ILR) project that is being taken up with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
While welcoming any move to conserve water, the members have rejected any “leak reduction project which may actually undermine the right to water of all residents”. “It is the State's responsibility and obligation to provide safe and sufficient water to all without discrimination of any kind,” a press release said.
BWSSB Minister S. Suresh Kumar recently announced an ILR project covering 52 sq. km in Bangalore South Zone. Every individual connection would be mapped and faulty meters replaced to plug all sources of leaks, the Minister had announced. The State Government should understand that the right to water and sanitation is a human right, equal to all other human rights, which implies that it is justifiable and enforceable, the release said.
“While we support the need to reduce water leakage from BWSSB's piped water network, we stress this should only be advanced with due consideration to the issues of equity, accessibility, and most fundamentally, all people's intrinsic and fundamental right to water,” said activist Kshitij Urs.
“We are worried that the leak reduction project is part of a larger project which aims to not only reduce piped water leakage but also to remove the availability of safe (treated and potable) water through public taps. The reduction of ‘leaks' in piped water supply also entails the removal of public taps, on which most people are dependent,” Mr. Urs said.
The campaign stresses that leak reduction projects should only be carried out through democratic processes and with the primary objectives of upholding the human right to water and conservation of water for the coming generations.