Private water suppliers hit pay dirt as water crisis worsens

With the drinking water crisis getting worse in the city, most Bangaloreans are forced to depend entirely on private water suppliers. Exploiting the situation, these suppliers are laughing all the way to the bank, with their charges per load of a 7,000-litre tanker ranging between Rs. 500 to Rs. 750, depending on the area and customers' pockets.

It is not just the residents of new areas who are struggling for water. Residents of old areas such as Railway Parallel Road in Srirampuram and even Rajajinagar 6 Block say they are fed up with the erratic supply.

BWSSB helpless

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) officials say they are helpless as they are not empowered to monitor private suppliers.

K. Lakshminarasimhan, a resident of Anugraha Layout in Akashnagar of Mahadevpura, spends nothing less than Rs. 2,000 a month on the five to six tanker loads he needs. Although he has a borewell, it has dried up, forcing him to buy water.

The bad news is that private suppliers are so much in demand that most take two to three days to deliver. “We have to keep a tab on the levels in our underground sump and overhead tank and place the order at least two days ahead. Moreover, we are not sure of the quality of water. I add a little potassium permanganate in the sump every time I get it filled up. This has become a big headache,” Mr. Lakshminarasimhan said.

Pragati Suresh and her neighbours from V. Nagenhalli near Hebbal told The Hindu they have not seen a drop of Cauvery water in the last few months. “All of us are entirely dependent on private suppliers. We end up buying a tanker every other day.”

Sanganarayan of AECS Layout in Sanjaynagar faces similar tensions. He said he worries about the quality of water, which is mostly sourced from private borewells. “We have to fight with the driver every time to ensure that the entire tanker is unloaded.”

Liquid gold

Tanker rates, which were around Rs. 300 to Rs. 350 per load till January, have now gone up by more than Rs. 200. While regulars, especially apartment dwellers, get discounted rates at Rs. 200 to Rs 250 a tanker and are privileged to get the precious liquid within two hours of a phone call, others have to wait for at least a day.

When this reporter, posing as a customer, contacted the offices of a few suppliers in Rajajinagar, Kengeri, Thippasandra and Sanjaynagar, she was promised water only a day later. “We are [overwhelmed by] orders. Though we charge Rs. 500 per load, we can give it to you for Rs. 450,” said a spokesperson for a supplier in Sanjaynagar.

According to V. Satyamurthy, president of Sanjaynagar Residents Welfare Association, this supplier — as several others — sells 50 to 60 tanker loads every day. It is unfortunate that the civic authorities and the Government are doing nothing to check such exploitation of natural resources.

T. Venkatraju, BWSSB Engineer-in-Chief, said the Board was doing its best to ensure equitable distribution. Frequent power cuts and rise in demand during summer had affected regular supply, he said.

Cauvery wait gets longer

Residents of new areas, who were promised Cauvery water from March, will have to wait for two more months.

Cauvery IV Stage Phase II, which will enable the BWSSB draw an additional 500 million litres of water per day (mld) will be commissioned only in June.

BWSSB is now drawing 870 mld from the Cauvery and 30 mld from Tippagondanahalli reservoir.

BWSSB Minister S. Suresh Kumar, who reviewed the progress of the project's work on Friday, said supply will start on a trial basis in June.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 12:33:49 AM |

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