Residents of areas on Bengaluru outskirts say they are being held to ransom

Residents living on the outskirts of the city where there is no piped water supply are the worst affected as they are solely dependent on borewells that are fast running dry and private water tankers have increased their rates.

Sudhanshu Mohanty, a resident of Whitefield, said their apartment complex of 450 units was taking around 15 water tankers of 10,000 litre capacity each every day. “A tankerload of water, which used to cost ₹750 a month ago, now costs ₹1,050, and this has resulted in the maintenance cost going up by around 30%,” he said.

While private water suppliers express helplessness, residents allege that they are being held to ransom. “Earlier, the industry was competitive. If one charged more, we used to call other suppliers. But now the suppliers have clearly divided the area into turfs. When we call other suppliers they refuse to serve in our area, essentially establishing a monopoly of players and prices. You either pay or you don’t get water,” Mr. Mohanty said. The 110 villages on the city’s outskirts are also facing a similar situation. Vinod Babu, a resident of Horamavu, said that though there were many borewells dug by the panchayat in the area, many of them had run dry, leaving them at the mercy of water tankers.

A senior official of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) said the rampant development that had increased demand for water by many times and the resultant overexploitation of underground water in the absence of piped supply on the city’s outskirts was a vicious circle yet to be broken. “Private tankers also source water from borewells in the same area, leading to further exploitation,” he said, and added that they had no regulatory control over private water suppliers.

Water rationing

There also a threat of the Cauvery water being supplied in the city being rationed soon, which will hit the core city and further increase the tanker water prices.

Kemparamaiah, engineer-in-chief, BWSSB, said that as of date, water supply was not being rationed.

On Sunday too the city received 1,356 mld of water, he said. “We can continue like this only till April-end, by when we hope there will be some pre-monsoon showers. If that fails, there will be rationing of water from May as that will be inevitable then,” he said.

E.T. Ramesh, a water supplier in north Bengaluru, said that if the Cauvery water supply was rationed, the price of tanker water was likely to be see another round of steep hike and may even touch ₹1,500 for a tankerload of 10,000 litres, as the demand would jump manifold.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 1:57:24 PM |

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