15/03/2019 2:35 PM IST

Bengaluru Is Facing A Terrible Water Crisis, And Only Tanker Mafias Are Gaining

Water mafias are making money, as residents of Bellandur in Bengaluru grapple with a crisis that everyone knew was coming.

MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images

Several areas in Bengaluru are facing a severe water crisis, leaving the residents of the city worried and wondering what their options are. News reports say that this has allowed water tanker mafias to charge exorbitant amounts to deliver water to the door steps. 

The New Indian Express reports that in Bellandur, an area with many high-rise buildings, people are trying to outbid each other to ensure they have adequate water supply. 

The locality is home to people who work in Bengaluru’s booming IT sector. 

A report in The Hindu says that the price of supplying a 6,000-litre tanker of water has shot up from Rs 800 to Rs 1300-1400.

The water prices are also likely to surge in the next three months. Vishnu Prasad, president, Bellandur Development Forum, told The New Indian Express, “The borewells have all dried up two weeks ago. So, water tanker operators are now auctioning the water supplied by them to whichever apartment is willing to quote the highest price. The price we paid for a tanker last week was Rs 1,200 for 6,000 litres. It will surge in the next three months.”

Reports say that Bellandur is home to more than 1,000 apartment buildings that right now have no water supply. 

Bengaluru has faced water problems for a long time, and reports had earlier warned that a severe water crisis was likely in the city. However, officials say that a solution to the problem is not likely before the end of this year. 

Why is there no water in Bellandur?

Unlike other parts of the city, peripheral areas like Bellandur are reportedly not connected to the water supply through Cauvery. The still growing area of Bellandur is not connected to the piped water supply in the city. Now, as summer approaches, borewells have also dried up, leaving residents scrambling for water. 

The News Minute reported an anonymous official of the Department of Mines and Geology as saying that groundwater tables in the area had gone below 1,400 feet, affecting areas like Bellandur, Bommanahalli and 110 villages in the outskirts of Bengaluru. 

Authorities are not doing much

While areas like Bellandur are reeling under the severe water shortage, places that get their water from the Cauvery through Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) aren’t facing a shortage, The Hindu reported.  

And officials say that the crisis may not be solved this summer. “The project to supply water to 110 villages of Greater Benglauru began in May 2017. It has a May 2019 deadline, but could take a few more months. By December 2019, the water problem in these newly added areas will be solved,” BWSSB Chairman Tushar Girinath told The New India Express

The crisis was in the offing

A Niti Aayog report in 2018 had warned that Bengaluru could be one of the cities in India that would run out of water by 2020. 

The BBC said in a report that because of its booming population, water pollution and old plumbing systems, Bengaluru could be one of the 11 cities in the world that would run out of clean drinking water, like Cape Town. 

Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator for South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People, had told HuffPost India during the Shimla water crisis last summer that several cities in India may face the same problem because of drying water tables across the country. 

“Earlier, during deficit monsoon, ground water used to be our back up, now it has become our mainstay. This is unsustainable. The government must come up with the policy to sustain ground water levels that are running low across the country. Each place gets its water from different resources, the government must identify such resources and formulate a policy to protect forests, water bodies and reserves ― the ground water recharge systems that face destruction,” Thakkar had said. 

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