Stung by the lack of response to its ambitious Cauvery IV Stage 2nd phase project, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has now decided to cut off free borewell water supply to residents of new areas, who are yet to take metered connections.
Days before the project is to be commissioned by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar, BWSSB officials said they were worried that there were not many takers for the additional 500 million litres of water per day (mld) that the project will bring. So far, only 45,000 of the 2.2 lakh targeted new consumers have taken metered connections.
As of now, the board supplies 900 mld to the six lakh consumers in the core city areas.
Happy with free supply
BWSSB Engineer-in-Chief T. Venkataraju told The Hindu on Wednesday that people are not taking new connections because they are happy with the free borewell water supply to their areas. Repeated reminders and consumer-friendly campaigns initiated by the BWSSB have failed to attract consumers, he said.
“Now we have decided to cut off this borewell supply to those who do not take new connections by December. Following that, people will not only have to pay additional road-cutting charges to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), but also pay for the new borewell point, apart from the prescribed BWSSB fee for new connections. All this will not only mean residents will have to shell out more money but also face hassles (because of the time taken in getting road-cutting permission from the BBMP),” Mr. Venkataraju said. Following the acute drinking water shortage and hue and cry raised by the councillors from new areas, the BWSSB had drilled new borewells and set up 1.45 lakh borewell supply points there. “Areas in the erstwhile six city municipal councils (CMCs) and one town municipal council (TMC) that were included in the city limits when the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike was formed a few years ago were supplied free borewell water earlier. This continued even after their inclusion in the BBMP limits,” he explained.
BWSSB Chief Engineer (Cauvery) Narayan pointed out that although the commissioning of the new project would enable the BWSSB to draw 500 mld of additional water from the Cauvery, only 250 mld would flow for the first four months.
“This is because the project has been planned to supply water to the new areas. As the lines laid in the new areas have been connected to the project’s main feeder lines and with most people yet to take the connections, we can start supplying more water only if there is enough demand,” he said.
For normal supply
Although the BWSSB will start drawing 100 mld initially and later augment it to 150 mld, Mr. Venkataraju said it will take at least a month to ensure normal supply in the new areas.
“Most of the supply lines in the new areas were laid between 2005 and 2010, when Greater Bangalore Water and Sanitation Project (GBWASP) was planned. It will take at least a month for us to get the pipelines cleaned and make them functional,” he added.