Only pre-monsoon showers can prevent it from becoming completely dry
BANGALORE: The ground has cracked under the intensity of the pitiless sun. Much of the vast expanse is bone dry. It is not a restful sight. Not even the Sangameshwara Temple standing in ancient majesty as the water around it shrinks. The boats have been docked away from the reservoir in anticipation of the low water levels.
The sight of the parched Thippagondanahalli reservoir, 35 km from Bangalore, bodes ill omen for a water-starved metro.
Yet every day, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board pumps 55 million litres from the reservoir to quench the city's endless thirst. "We have increased it in view of the festivals. But we will bring it back to 35 million litres per day," says BWSSB Chief Engineer Venkat Raju.
The reduction is inevitable because the water at T.G. Halli needs to be stretched till the middle of May, after which hopefully it will rain.
The city and its surrounding areas have not received the sporadic March showers nor has there been the normal quota in September and October.
"It should have rained just after Ugadi," says a veteran of several summers who has been working at the reservoir for many years. The result is the alarmingly low levels of water at one of Bangalore's earliest sources of water.
The dog-eared records maintained by the BWSSB office show that on Wednesday, the water level stood at 17 feet and eight inches. Last year on the same date, it was 54 feet and 104 million litres supplied to the city every day.
But since then, pumping has reduced considerably. In October, after the abysmal rains, it was cut to 72 million litres every day and hit a depressing low of 38 million litres per day by February 25 this year. Built in 1933 by Sir M. Visvesvaraya, the dam is situated 2,500 ft above sea level. The idea was to harness the Arkavathi waters and provide potable water to Bangalore, which was earlier dependent only on its numerous tanks and lakes. It was built to pump 135 million litres per day to Bangalore. But with failing rains and reduced pumping over the years, it would appear to be wishful thinking to expect the reservoir to be used to its fullest capacity.