For the people of Bangalore, water has literally become a burning topic now! Thanks to the fire in the Bellandur lake! At this level, a quick dip into the crisis makes sense for all who love the 'Garden City' of India! It is also worthwhile to explore IT enabled smarter options for water management and reuse, as the city being the IT hub of India. Greenvironmentindia, is currently working on such a smarter option to fight the water woes of the city as part of the Grand Challenges Karnataka Call - an initiative by Government of Karnataka.
The Burning Lakes : Wait for it's Recurrence During Coming Summer
The Bellandur lake, which caught fire thrice in the recent past, hints to the severe toll the development has had on the natural water-bodies. The lake, which was one among the many fresh water reservoirs of the city was on fire for nearly three hours on, in the latest incident. The odour from the lake has been giving warning signals to the civic bodies and citizens for quite some time, there by pinpointing to the immanent problems. The water quality in the 3.61 sq kms lake was getting deteriorated due the dumping of debris and discharge of untreated sewage water during the last one and half decades!
But beyond the burning lakes, alarming signals are many at times, for anyone who looks around. Dirty foam bubbles flowing from water bodies, the flash floods, drowned apartment complexes and the depletion of the already polluted water table of Bangalore, have been summoning the intervention of authorities. NGOs did warn that about 52 percent of bore well water and 59 percent of tap water in Bangalore, is not potable as it contain 8.4 percent and 19 percent e.coli bacteria respectively. Such was the state of affairs of Bangalore, which had once the distinction of one of the best livable cities!
The Grand Challenge to Save Water & Real time Monitoring of STP/ETPs
Intimidated by the water crisis, off late, the government of Karnataka has come up with a number of measures to save water as well as for the safe management of sewage water and water bodies. This included the Grand Challenges Karnataka call- 6 which was exclusively for water. The challenge 6 launched this year, had sought technology based innovative interventions aimed at water conservation in Karnataka for prototyping,testing and scaling up. Under the call several start ups are working on innovative pilot projects to ensure water safety to the people of Bangalore.
Greenvironmentindia’s ‘SMART SEWAGE/EFFLUENT TREATMENT PLANTS (STPs/ETPs) THROUGH REAL TIME MONITORING (RTM)’ has got selected into the 1st round of the Grand Challenges calls . The introduction of the system as pilot in some of the worst environmentally affected areas is in its final stages. It has already started getting acclaims by experts, who are looking at smarter options to bring Bangalore out of the current troubled waters. We are readying for an era of smartly monitored treatment and reuse of water, as a measure to evade the present crisis.
Although magical remedies for the current water worries of Bangalore are not in the offing, the present state of water management is bound to change in the future. Otherwise the once Garden city, now with nearly 12 million population, would be reeling under severe water scarcity in the near future. Unofficial estimates in 2016 showed that over the next nine years, the city’s water demand is predicted to be three times more than supply!
Dying Water Bodies
The city’s sojourn as the IT hub of India has its toll on the environment and natural resources of the city. A study by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) revealed that the Bangalore has lost 79% of its water bodies while 98% the remaining lakes have been encroached upon. The remaining lakes tell the stories high toxic level of water. Sewage from residential townships and effluents from the industries are discharged to many lakes without proper or no water treatment! The wetland and lakes used shield the city from frequent floods and climate changes, are redundant now due to accumulation of dirt and toxins. The water bodies capture rainwater efficiently and help in ground water recharge.
According reports appeared in media, Bangalore wastes half the water it receives from various reservoirs. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB) admit that about 49% of water is lost during distribution through leakage or due to theft caused by unauthorised connections.
Depletion of Ground Water
As the climate change and shortfall of rains made reservoirs unfilled, the water flow from reservoirs also fell short in meeting the burgeoning needs of the city. Hence, the past three decades had witnessed enormous rise in the number of bore wells in Bangalore. Currently the city has more than 4.08 lakhs bore wells according to unofficial estimates. Several of them are dug beyond 1000 feet to extract the depleting storage of ground water. About, 40% of Bangalore is dependent on ground water. The city has 325 bore wells per square kilometre and 40–50 new ones dug every day!
Such optimal extraction of ground water, if goes on, would mean even the polluted water extracted from bore wells may not be available after 2018! It also summons urgent action to make recharging of ground water storage through rainwater harvesting system. Unfortunately, various studies about the present state of rainwater harvesting in the city, reveal that while 1.4 Lakh consumers are liable to install rainwater harvesting systems in their respective structures, only 62,000 have actually done it!
Extract Water, Return Sewage!
Bangalore is grabbing about 50% of Cauvery water given to the entire Karnataka. Now, let as ask, what is that the city gives in return to Cauvery? Recently, a report of CAG of India had exposed that “only 10 percent of sewage water is treated in Bengaluru”!. It means the 1080 million litres of sewerage water, which remain untreated in the city turnout to be the primary source of pollution for the Cauvery!
With the lakes getting depleted or polluted, the sewage water contaminates the ground water and percolates into bore well. Experts who studied the present state of the water crisis of Bangalore says that if sewerage water is treated and brought back into the system, there will be no shortage of water in the city!
Dream of Water Surplus Bangalore
Greenvironmentindia, envision that an age is not far where Bangaloreans can confidently boast that they are water surplus. But a change in mindset is imperative to bring in smarter moves in water management and water reuse. A wider initiative led by state, non-state actors, civil society and tech-smart entrepreneurs is the need of the hour. Resources and technology favours more to those who set their mind for change. Good luck.
No feedback yet
Form is loading...