The burgeoning number of apartments in Bengaluru has thrown up a huge challenge for the state government — meeting water needs of the residents.
According to developers and builders, there are about 75,000 small and big apartments in the city. This means that about 70% of apartments are either dependent on borewells or private tankers for their water needs.
Most apartments that lack Cauvery water supply are located in Banaswadi, Bellandur, Varthur, Mahadevapura, Whitefield and Hennur, among others. The Hebbal-KIA corridor in north Bengaluru, where a huge number of apartments have come up in the last few years, is another stretch of concern. With groundwater table fast depleting, residents of these units are paying through their nose to get water.
Recently, alarmed by the water crisis, deputy chief minister G Parameshwara said the government is planning to deny permission to build new apartments for the next five years.
BC Gangadhar, chief engineer, maintenance, BWSSB, said the board is providing Cauvery water to about 575 sq km of the 709 sq km under BBMP limits. “Most of the areas in eastern and northern periphery of the city, primarily the 110 villages added to the city limits, are yet to get Cauvery supply. Not just apartments, even individual houses here don’t have Cauvery water connections. The point to be noted here is that many of the apartments have come up in east and north Bengaluru areas owing to employment and other opportunities here,” he added.
‘Govt and citizens should act together’
Srikanth Narasimhan, general secretary, Bangalore Apartment Federation, said when it comes to dealing with water crisis, there is a need for the government to get its act together. “The situation we are in is mainly due to the government allowing so many apartments to come up without any guiding principles. Though rain water harvesting is mandatory, the implementation is poor. There is a need to create more awareness and be stricter with enforcement. The second thing is fixing pilferage of water, which the government should be more serious about. Finally, the government should go for decentralised sewage treatment plants and reuse this water for non-potable purposes,” he added.
Srikanth said: “We from the federation are encouraging apartments to go for recharge wells, harvest more rain water, have efficient STPs, instal aerators for taps and reuse water from RO purifiers. We are also doing campaigns such as the half-bucket challenge. If the government and citizens can fill these gaps, we can, in fact, reduce our dependence on Cauvery river itself.”