New consumers await water supply as BWSSB flushes out pipes caked with years of dirt
Having waited for decades for Cauvery water, Bangaloreans are now bemused by the flushing of water from pipelines even as their taps remain dry. Officials say that the river water is being currently used to clean the pipes caked with years of filth in the seven new zones created as part of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
Water for cleaning
From November, when the Cauvery IV Stage Phase II was commissioned, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has been flushing out lakhs of litres of water every day. For the last two months, BWSSB has been drawing an extra 150 mld (million litres of water a day) and most of this is being used for cleaning the pipes.
This “wastage” is apart from the 34 per cent of the 900 mld that goes unaccounted for thanks to illegal and free connections. BWSSB officials said water was being used to flush pipelines laid seven years ago but lying unused. The 3,500 km of pipelines were laid prior to 2005 when the Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Project (GBWASP) was planned. The project was shelved midway and the pipelines lay in disuse. Now with the launch of Cauvery IV Stage Phase II project, the board is cleaning these pipelines using Cauvery water.
Even as the BWSSB is busy with this, parched Bangaloreans, who have not been informed of the process, have been watching with outrage water gushing on to the roads and house service connections yielding nary a drop. A resident who noticed water spewing from a pipe joint near Sir C.V. Raman’s statue in C.V. Raman Nagar earlier this week called the BWSSB to complain. The officials then explained to her it was not a leak but a cleaning process. BWSSB Engineer-in-Chief T. Venkataraju said the flushing was necessary as the GBWASP pipelines had become rusty and mud had settled in them. “Unless we clean these pipelines, we cannot start supply of Cauvery water.”
Pointing out that 70 per cent of the 3,500 km of pipelines had been cleaned so far, he said the remaining would be completed in a fortnight.
No more free supply
While 1.4 lakh citizens have been given the house service connections under GBWASP, only 50,000 have applied for meters so far. “This is because most people are contented with the free borewell supply (that was started during the tenure of the erstwhile city municipal councils). We plan to start a borewell disconnection drive from January 21. We appeal to people to apply before that and obtain metered connections,” Mr. Venkataraju said.
Meanwhile, some residents who have started getting the Cauvery IV Stage Phase II supply are complaining of turbid and brackish water. Mr. Venkataraju advised them not to drink it before boiling. “The supply will be muddy for a few more days after which it will become normal. However, it is safe if the water is boiled.”