Even as the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is coming under increasing fire for the acute water scarcity in the city, it has decided to supply water through tankers to all the 198 wards of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
After listening to the complaints of several councillors on Tuesday evening, BWSSB chairperson P.B. Ramamurthy said that if the BBMP paid for the tankers, BWSSB would bear the water charges. Following this, the BBMP decided to deposit Rs. 5 crore with BWSSB towards the purchase of 62 new tankers. Already, BWSSB has been supplying water through 83 tankers to the newly added CMC areas and 42 tankers in the core areas.
Power supply blamed
Mr. Ramamurthy said that the city gets 900 mld (million litres per day) from Cauvery and 20 mld from T.G. Halli reservoir. As many as 2,671 new borewells have been drilled this year. He attributed the problems in water supply, especially in the east, to the disruptions in power supply. “If we get quality supply without any disruptions, 90 per cent of problems with water supply can be solved,” he maintained.
BWSSB had already held discussions on the issue with Ministers S. Suresh Kumar and Shobha Karandlaje and Managing Director of Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. Lata Krishna Rao. BWSSB had requested KPTCL to provide for a switch over system at the various pumping stations.
Earlier in the day, the Council discussed the drinking water crisis at length. Even Yelahanka MLA S.R. Vishwanath joined in and offered some suggestions to the water crisis.
He claimed that the northern parts of the city were more affected what with next to nothing storage in T.G. Halli reservoir. He said borewells only provided temporary relief and added that lakes were also drying up in the city. He suggested that the treated water be pumped into the dry lake beds.
BBMP Commissioner Siddaiah said that councillors had requested for 1,511 borewells and water supply through 1,676 tankers. “This will cost the BBMP Rs. 92 crore. However, past experience has shown that the failure rate of borewells to be as high as 40 per cent. We need to rethink about drilling so many borewells,” he said.
He said that it costs Rs. 1,650 to rent a privately owned tanker a day, while the BWSSB charges Rs. 250.
No change at all
Unconvinced, JD(S) Floor Leader Padmanabha Reddy stated that despite assurances, there was no change on the field. Mohammed Rizwan, Gurappanapalya councillor, said BWSSB did not have sufficient tankers to supply water to satiate the thirst of the city.
He suggested that BBMP commandeer all private tankers during summer.
Senior councillors claimed that earlier 10 tankers each were deputed to each ward and that the same system be employed now.
In response, the Commissioner clarified that all areas did not experience similar water problems. He stated that water tankers could be used only based on the demand/ requirements. “We will check if we have the power to take over the private tankers. We can still negotiate the prices with the private operators,” he said.