City stares at drought-like scenario
Bangaloreans, prepare to face severe water shortage in the coming weeks. The existing live storage level at the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam — which stood at 1.03 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) as on Wednesday — is just enough to meet the city’s drinking water needs for the next 20 days.
Following plummeting levels, water drawn by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) from the Cauvery has also fallen by 100 million litres per day (mld) in the last 24 hours as of Wednesday evening. BWSSB was drawing 1,150 mld till Monday. “We had to cut the drawing limit to maintain the levels in our reservoirs. This is the first time we are facing such a severe scarcity since BWSSB’s inception in 1964. Only rain can help resolve the situation,” said a top BWSSB official.
Following BWSSB’s request, Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. has been releasing an average 800 cusecs for the last few days so that the storage level at KRS can be maintained. “As this too is not enough, a total of one tmcft has also been released from the Hemavathi in the last four days. But all the water has not reached the dam because of sand mining and encroachments along the river line. Although we had requested more water, the Irrigation Department stopped release of water from Wednesday,” said an official in charge of Cauvery projects.
Although water shortage is routine every summer, the official said the release of 2.4 tmcft water to Tamil Nadu following the Supreme Court’s directions in February has turned out to be disadvantageous to Bangalore.
Predicting that the city will plunge into unprecedented water crisis if it doesn’t rain in the next few days, the official said at least 2.6 tmcft water is needed to cope till the monsoon arrives. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has also been briefed, the official said.
“If more water from the Hemavathi is not released, we may have to draw water from the dead storage. This requires preparation and precautions as it will be the first time that the dead storage will be touched,” the official said.
Pointing out that Bangalore needs 1,250 mld, he appealed to people to use water judiciously. “We also want people to come up with suggestions on how to manage the situation,” he added.