‘Current protests are a good excuse to procrastinate additional supply’
The ongoing Cauvery protests are likely to take the fizz out of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s (BWSSB) prestigious Cauvery IV Stage 2nd Phase project.
Although the trial runs began mid-September, the BWSSB — which was all set to commission the project in the first week of October — is now keeping its fingers crossed before deciding on the inaugural date. The project has been executed to augment the city’s supply of 900 million litres of water per day (mld) by another 500 mld.
Meanwhile, residents of new areas, who are eagerly waiting for the Cauvery IV Stage 2nd Phase to be commissioned, are worried the water-sharing row may further deprive them of the precious commodity.
The long wait
“All these years we have been waiting for Cauvery water. Some of us paid the beneficiary capital contribution way back in 2003-2004 when the Greater Bangalore Water And Sanitation Project (GBWASP) was planned. Now [with all this trouble], we are doubtful whether Cauvery will actually come to our homes,” said A.V. Shama Rao, president of Ramamurthynagar Residents’ Welfare Association.
Residents of new areas, who have been depending on borewells and tanker supply all these years, were hopeful of getting Cauvery supply when their areas were included in the city limits when the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was formed.
“But when this did not happen, we were told Cauvery IV Stage 2nd Phase will solve our problems. Now we don’t know whether this will actually happen,” Mr. Rao said.
Kenche Gowda, general secretary of Nagarika Hitarakshana Vedike in T. Dasarahalli, said even if the Supreme Court pronounced a favourable verdict, the government would give preference to farmers in the Cauvery basin.
“The officials have been extending deadlines for commissioning the project. None of them are able to give us an exact date for the commissioning. The Cauvery protests are a good excuse for them now,” Mr. Gowda said.
V. Satyamurthy, president of Sanjaynagar Residents’ Welfare Association, said supply to his area had been cut down to hardly an hour now. “We were hopeful that the Cauvery IV State 2nd Phase will give us adequate supply. But if the water-sharing issue impacts Bangalore’s water supply, we fear our supply will be further reduced,” he said.
‘No need to worry’
Allaying such fears, BWSSB officials in charge of Cauvery project said the additional 500 mld coming through was well within the tribunal’s allocation limit for drinking purposes. “At the most, the inauguration date may get a little delayed. But water supply will definitely start. There is no need for people to worry as the project has been completed and water is flowing through the pipelines on a trial basis,” a senior official added.