Bangalore International Centre had arranged a Panel Discussion on “The Critical Water Situation in Bangalore – The Way Forward” on Friday, 21st June, 2013 at 6.30 PM. The lead discussant was Mr. V Balasubramanian, former Addl. Chief Secretary, GOK. Other Panelist was Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Chairman, BWSSB. The discussion was chaired and moderated by Justice M N Venkatachalaiah, Former Chief Justice of India.
Mr. Balasubramanian through a power point presentation made critical analysis of the water situation in Bangalore. He informed that the population of Bangalore at this rate of growth would be 1 crore by 2016, 1.25 crore by 2021 and 1.86 crore by 2031. Due to uncontrolled digging of bore-wells, the ground water is getting increasingly depleted. The lakes and the storm water drains have been encroached upon by several builders which have severely impacted the availability of water. In addition, decaying sewage lines have led to sewage water percolating into ground water and contaminating the Cauvery pipeline which brings Cauvery water to Bangalore. Rainwater harvesting which is a remedy for alleviating the water scarcity has not been seriously taken up. He informed that about Rs.26,000/- crores is required to change the present water pipeline and also address the water scarcity problem.
Mr. Gaurav Gupta, Chairman, BWSSB, in his presentation outlined several steps being taken by BWSSB to resolve this water problem. He lamented the fact that BWSSB is not getting any subsidy from the Government and that they have to raise funds on their own. At the same time there are equity and humanitarian issues which do not permit BWSSB to attempt a full cast recovery to cover all the costs of supply of water. He noted that the completely unchecked growth of building construction activities around Bangalore hardly ever take note of the present availability or likely availability of water to the people. He urged an integrated and planned approach to development.
The Q & A session after the talk was informative and interesting. Several Members offered their views about how the availability as well as contamination of water could be taken care of by a coordinated approach by all the stake-holders, including citizens.