Bengaluru water crisis: Shivakumar directs officials to take over irrigation, commercial borewells

‘As water is property of the state and not of any individual, the state has the right to take over in the time of water crisis’

March 04, 2024 11:46 pm | Updated March 05, 2024 12:06 pm IST - Bengaluru

Karnataka is likely to have a warm summer as the season will witness above-normal temperatures during March, April, and May. 

Karnataka is likely to have a warm summer as the season will witness above-normal temperatures during March, April, and May.  | Photo Credit: File photo

As water crisis looms large in Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural, Deputy Chief Minister and Bengaluru Development Minister D.K. Shivakumar directed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to take over irrigation and commercial borewells to supply water to parched areas.

Speaking to the media after chairing a meeting on drinking water crisis, Mr. Shivakumar said he has directed BWSSB and the zilla panchayat to identify irrigation borewells used for farming and commercial ones and take them over. “We are planning to compensate for taking over irrigation borewells. As water is the property of the State and not of any individual, the State has the right to take over in the time of crisis. The law pertaining to water also allows the State to rope in borewells to ease the crisis.” 

Mr. Shivakumar said these water sources will be identified soon and water will be supplied through tankers. He further informed that of the 14,781 borewells in Bengaluru, 6,997 are dried up and 7,784 are functional. The crisis may worsen as already, close to 50% of borewells have dried up.” 

Unregistered tankers

Meanwhile, with private water tankers having to mandatorily register now, so far, only 219 water tankers have registered in the BBMP limits. According to estimates, there are 3,500 tankers and this also includes oil tankers.

Mr. Shivakumar said it is mandatory for the tankers to register and the vehicles which are not registered will be seized. The police and the RTO have also been informed about this. A portal - bbmp.oasisweb.in - was opened for registration on March 1 and registration should be done before March 5. 

WATCH | Why is Bengaluru staring at a severe water shortage?

Mr. Shivakumar said tanker operators are now charging exorbitant prices and the government will soon fix prices based on distance from the source to the household. Mr. Shivakumar added that KMF and other departments who have empty tankers have also been asked to keep them on standby. 

He said he had directed the officials concerned to identify areas where there are good watertables to drill borewells, including in Ramanagara, Devanahalli, Kanakapura, and others. Contractors from Tamil Nadu will also be roped in for drilling borewells. He said a meeting of the Water Tankers Association will also be called on March 7 to listen to their concerns. 

“For the 110 villages of Bengaluru, from May end, Cauvery water supply will be commenced under Cauvery State 5. The next two months will be crucial but the State is fully prepared to handle the crisis,” he added. A total of ₹556 crore has been allocated towards drinking water crisis. In every ward, a contact number will be provided for citizens to register complaints.

Above-normal temperatures this summer

Karnataka is likely to have a warm summer as the season will witness above-normal temperatures during March, April, and May. There is a high probability of above-normal rainfall over a few districts of north interior Karnataka and south interior Karnataka also during March.

According to the IMD, the normal temperature for Bengaluru during March, April, and May are 33.4°C, 34.1°C, and 33.1°C, respectively. There is a possibility that the temperatures could go up to 35°C for a few days in March.

A. Prasad, scientist, India Meteorological Department (IMD), said that in some parts of the State, there is likely probability of heat wave during three summer months

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