As underground water levels drop, several RO plants go dry in Bengaluru

In R.R. Nagar, scarcity of water at the RO plants has led to water rationing

March 15, 2024 10:38 am | Updated 11:44 am IST - Bengaluru

A long queue of people waiting to collect drinking water at an RO plant in Bengaluru.

A long queue of people waiting to collect drinking water at an RO plant in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

In the midst of Bengaluru’s prevailing water crisis, authorities have been planning diverse measures to alleviate the summer water woes. However, several reverse osmosis (RO) drinking water plants set up by the civic body have become inoperative, and private RO drinking water plants are closed due to the unavailability of water. Most of these plants draw water from borewells attached to them, which have either gone dry or water levels have depleted.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has established over 600 water plants in Bengaluru to offer subsidized drinking water to the public. Here, residents can avail of 20 litres of water for a mere ₹5.

Manoj Kumar, a resident of Pattanagere, said, “For the last few days, the RO plant in our area has not been working. It’s disheartening to see the RO water plants set up by the civic body lying idle. We desperately need access to clean drinking water, and the non-functioning plants add to our woes.”

In R.R. Nagar, scarcity of water at the civic body’s RO plants has led to the implementation of water rationing. A poster has been put up with the message, “One Can (canister) Only For One Person.”

“Earlier, they used to provide more than three water cans, but starting last week, they have restricted it to only one can per person. Attempts to bring additional family members for water collection are denied, as they permit only one can per family,” K.V. Vijay Prasad, a resident of R.R. Nagar, said.

In areas where government-operated plants are non-functional, residents are relying on private RO plants. However, residents report that most private RO facilities have closed, and those still open are charging exorbitant amounts for water.

Lavanya Rao from Sarjapur said, “The closure of RO water plants due to water scarcity is a double blow. We’re caught between the inefficiency of civic-run plants and the unavailability of water in private RO plants. It’s a tough situation for us residents. The private plants are charging ₹80 to ₹100 for 20 litres.”

Residents also complained that most of the plants where there is water available have long queues.

“When we go to collect water, there is a substantial crowd, and taking a can of water may take an hour or even longer at any time of the day. Given that many of us are employed waiting for such extended periods is not feasible, leading us to purchase water cans from private suppliers. With limited alternatives, urgent action from the authorities is necessary to alleviate this critical situation,” Umashankar R., a resident of Chikkabanavara in North Bengaluru, said.

Meanwhile, a senior BBMP official stated that necessary actions will be taken to restart the RO plants if they have been shut down.

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