Some of the residential and commercial complexes in the peripheral Whitefield area of Bengaluru are likely to see better times. They will get water supply once the second phase of Hoodi reservoir is completed, probably by August or September this year, an official with BWSSB has said.
Rapid growth, no water
“There is no pipeline connection in this area itself, then how will we get water? We are using outside water (paid water), not even bore wells as the norms do not permit to borer bore wells,” says a site manager at the Prestige Shanthiniketan residential complex, who spoke under condition that he not be named.
The situation is not different at Phoenix Market City (PMC), a newly opened massive mall complex Mahadevapura, on the same road. Simon David, Senior Manager, Operations, said that they use BWSSB certified private water tankers and borewells, with the latter yielding less water. PMC also uses reverse osmosis for drinking water and for water at the food courts, says David. “We have applied for the BWSSB connection, but still waiting”, he adds.
On another leg of the KR Puram-Hope Farm-Hoskote triangle is the Safal Market near Kadugodi, a few kms south of the NH4, on the Whitefield-Hoskote Road. A Safal staffer who did not wish to be named said they have a BWSSB water connection but received water only once till date.
On the same road, closer to Kadugodi, lies Chaithanya Samarpan, a quiet residential community with around 200 homes, of which around 160 are occupied. “Without a BWSSB water connection we are forced to rely on private water tankers”, says Raghavendra Rao, Chaithanya Samarpan Owners Association President points out. Some of the layout’s borewells are dry, Rao adds.
Developer Chaithanya Projects Private Ltd (CPPL) has applied for BWSSB connections both for Samarpan and for Smaran, a sister gated community coming up nextdoor, says Sudarshan, Public Relations Officer at CPPL. Smaran has around 130 luxury homes coming up.
Directly opposite Samarpan is a new army housing complex, being rapidly built by the Army Welfare Housing Organisation (AWHO). “We are completely relying on borewell water. As of now we have not applied for the BWSSB water”, says Nishanth A S, a supervisor at the project. A massive 1092 flats are coming up the AWHO complex.
Further down the road, back towards the Whitefield Railway Station is Golden Blossom Apartments. Vandana Kaul, Secretary for the 112-flat complex, says things have gone backwards for them. “We used to get water before, but for the past one and half years we are not getting it. We do not know why.” Vandana surmises that this might because they stopped greasing the palms of local BWSSB staff.
“Completion of the second phase of Hoodi reservoir will put an end to this problem”, says B Murali, Asst Executive Engineer at BWSSB in Hoodi.
As a part of second phase, a 12 million litres-reservoir is under construction for the area. “Current capacity at Hoodi water reservoir is nine million litres from which water is pumped to many areas like ITPL, Marathahalli, HAL, KIDB, KR Puram etc.” he says. Water is also available in BEML layout, the area from ITPL to Kundalahalli and around the Hoodi circle itself, says Murali.
However, Murali is quick to add that new connections from the 12MLD are not for everyone. “BWSSB is planning to extend connections to only areas that fall under the BBMP jurisdiction”, he adds.
While the KR Puram and Mahadevpura areas are in BBMP limits, Kadugodi-Belthur is the BBMP boundary for the Hoskote direction. Communities like Chaithanya Samarpan, Army Welfare Housing, Sterling Villa Grande and others on the Whitefield-Hoskote road are all just outside BBMP limits. Their chances of getting BWSSB water now appear unclear.
Citizens want clarity
Despite the bleak situation, these communities are asking for clarity from BWSSB once and for all.
Even if a connection was given, Rao of Samarpan wonders about how regularly water would come. “Would we then join the already long list of disenchanted consumers who have no choice but to pay their monthly bills of ‘minimum water charges’ in the fond hope that some day they shall get more than just drops of water?” he asks pointedly.
The only note BWSSB’s Murali offers is that the water board has already laid down a precondition that rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems would have to be implemented for applicants to be eligible for a new connection this year. (Even as new connections will only be made within BBMP limits, says BWSSB).
Rao agrees with the RWH thrust. “It is sensible to invest in rain water harvesting schemes within the housing community itself to collect the abundant annual rainfall efficiently and re-charge ground water resources or sub-surface wells for drawing out water on a perennial basis”, he says.
Samarpan has over a dozen rainwater harvesting recharge pits currently. The owners’ association has plans to expand the RWH infrastructure further to create new underground wells for water supply, and to improve maintenance of existing recharge pits.
The sister project Chaithanya Smaran is getting started on a major RWH project through a combination of infiltration and sub-surface wells to capture the maximum possible rainwater, confirms a senior official at Chaithanya Projects planning department.
“The government should encourage communities which invest in such alternative methods of sustainable water supply by offering attractive incentives along with relief in property taxes”, argues Rao.