BWSSB imposes three-month moratorium on new borewells in areas served by Cauvery

However, residents complain new borewells drilling continues unabated even in the core city

Updated - March 26, 2024 01:08 pm IST

Published - March 24, 2024 08:25 pm IST - Bengaluru

At least three borewell-drilling firms that The Hindu spoke to on Saturday said they were not aware of such a ban on digging new borewells in the core city areas

At least three borewell-drilling firms that The Hindu spoke to on Saturday said they were not aware of such a ban on digging new borewells in the core city areas | Photo Credit: file photo

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has imposed a moratorium on drilling new borewells in areas served by the Cauvery water till May-end. However, residents complain that despite the temporary ban, drilling of new borewells continues unabated in the core city. 

A copy of the circular issued to all BWSSB engineers across the city by the Chief Engineer, BWSSB, who is also the Chairman of the BBMP sub-committee of Karnataka Groundwater Development Authority on February 29, is available with The Hindu.

According to the circular, it was decided to not even take applications for new borewells in areas served by the Cauvery water till May and only exempted government buildings from this moratorium. The decision was taken to prevent further depletion of groundwater levels, the circular said. 

Also read: Water woes | BWSSB commandeers all borewells at construction sites of projects of over 20,000 sqft built-up area in Bengaluru

However, many complain that new borewells continue to be drilled even in areas served by the Cauvery water and the enforcement of the moratorium has been lax. “Despite a ban on new borewells in the core city areas for three months, we have had cases where influential people have dug new borewells even a few days ago in Indiranagar and we have raised complaints with the Karnataka Groundwater Development Authority and even the Minister of Minor Irrigation,” said Sneha Nandihal, a resident of Indiranagar. 

At least three borewell-drilling firms that The Hindu spoke to on Saturday said they were not aware of such a ban on digging new borewells in the core city areas. “The demand for new borewells is huge. Though most of them are being dug on the outskirts of the city, many are also being dug in the core city areas. Nobody is aware of such a ban,” said a borewell contractor. 

“We have decided to give priority to new borewells in the outer zones where we do not supply water and discourage digging of new borewells in the core city areas,” said V. Ramprasath Manohar, Chairman, BWSSB, adding that the board would act on any complaint violating the norm and drilling illegal borewells. 

However, sources said that the BWSSB has little manpower to enforce such a rule on the ground, even as it is firefighting the drinking water crisis. “There is no practical way on the ground to check illegal borewells and this has been the case for years now,” a senior official conceded. 

The BWSSB made taking permission to dig borewells mandatory from March 15 and launched an app “Antarjala” for the same purpose. The app has seen 49 applications till date, sources said.

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