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Updated: March 21, 2010 16:16 IST

Precious drops

MARIANNE DE NAZARETH
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Unaccounted water loss: Plugging leaks is important. Photo: M. Periasamy
The Hindu
Unaccounted water loss: Plugging leaks is important. Photo: M. Periasamy

WORLD WATER DAY - If we do not take conservation of water seriously, we are likely to have a dry future

How often have you walked down a road and seen a pipe with fresh water bubbling up and flowing down into a drain? It is a common place occurrence, but how many of us will take the trouble of calling the BWSSB and informing them of the leak? Bangalore has the dubious distinction of being one of the primary cities in the country for wasting fresh water.

Population growth, climate change, pollution, and careless management of this scarce commodity is the cause of this escalating problem. On the occasion of World Water Day today, nd and with a hot and difficult summer looming ahead, it's time we took water conservation seriously. Waste water from sinks, showers, toilets according to figures off the BWSSB website equal the three stages of the Cauvery water projects.

This is a mind boggling and frightening scenario.

Shivkumar from the Karnataka Council for Science and Technology says: “Bangalore has a peculiar problem. Water has to be pumped 95 kms from the river Cauvery to the city and up the gradient of 500 metres. This is why 300 crores of the BWSSB funds go on electricity to pump this water. However, Bangalore is lucky to have a natural undulating gradient to be able to collect rainwater and we do have good showers periodically. So instead of planning mega projects it's better to conserve ground water and harvest rain water for the city. There is a 41 per cent loss of fresh water and we do not know where it goes, 16 per cent is the water supplied in unmetered water fountains across the city, so 57 per cent is a very large figure of unaccounted water loss. The water pipes in the city are over 100 years old and with road expansion, they are now almost in the middle of the road. Huge amounts of money will be required to change the entire piping system. Some sort of accountability is being brought in by the BWSSB Chairman in each locality.”

The Director of the India Water Portal, Vijay Krishna says that on the occasion of World Water Day or any day, as citizens we have to make sure that regulations concerning rainwater harvesting are taken seriously.

“We have all taken fresh water supplies for granted and we need to plug leaks and conserve water seriously today. The Cauvery Water supply is in its fourth stage. There is no more water left to tap and Bangalore cannot sustain this huge growth in population. Large companies must also look at waste water treatment where waste water can be used for flushing, cleaning and use outside in the garden, rather than using fresh water supplies.”

Explaining the new system which the BWSSB has come out with where the engineer of every layout is responsible for the outflow of water, Shivkumar says, “There are meters in individual homes, but there are also meters attached for bulk supply so the inflow and outflow is being monitored. Plugging of leaks is taken seriously and hopefully with citizen participation and awareness, fresh water is being carefully used.”

Both officials warn that if the citizens of Bangalore do not take cognizance of the problem of pressure on fresh water supplies and help themselves with rain water harvesting, Bangalore is heading for a massive problem with regard to lack of fresh water in real time, today, now, and not in 2015.

Tighten those taps, check leaks , have bucket baths and avoid hosing down your cars and lawns from today onwards. Check out http://www.bwssb.org/water_conservation.html to see the various methods of conservation of water that the BWSSB suggests.



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