Understand Bengaluru’s water problems and solutions better, this weekend

That the State government may have to release water to Tamilnadu has been a cause of concern for many Bengalureans. While the Union government of India has been asked to set up a Cauvery Water Management Board, the nation itself is facing another water conflict – with the government deciding to take more water from the river Indus. Welcome to the new era of overpopulation and urbanisation, where public commons are going to be the cause of wars. Water conflicts are going to be common in the future.

In Bengaluru, the reality is that according to BWSSB, out of 22 lakh households in the city, only 8 lakh households, that is approximately 30% are covered by Cauvery water. According to BWSSB’s own confession, out of 1450 MLDs of water extracted from Cauvery, 43% gets wasted or unaccounted. The groundwater is nonpotable with nitrate contamination, with its level decreasing every day. The authorities have issued warnings asking the government not to permit extraction of groundwater anymore in the city – a warning that is not followed or taken seriously by anyone.

So what’s the solution? Bengaluru has seen many water-wise movements that have taken place silently. There have been many people doing different things starting from rainwater harvesting to water treatment to spreading water wisdom.

The emotive narrative on water-related issues has always sidelined the narratives on water wisdom we as citizens should be having. The need to set right the misunderstanding about the city’s water stresses, how they are being addressed and the implications for the future remains unaddressed.

Supported by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board, the Co Media Lab (a joint initiative Radio Active CR 90.4 MHz & Citizen Matters initiative) is organising a workshop on Bengaluru’s water problems and solutions. The event is also supported by Electronics City Industries Association (ELCIA), India Water Portal and Biome.

The event “Watershed Moment: Bengaluru’s Water Problems & Solutions” will be held at the KSPCB, Parisara Bhavan, Church Street, on 1st October. The day-long event will bring experts to answer key questions like:how much water do we really need? How much do we deserve to get from the Cauvery? What is the cost and impact of our current water management? And what is the role of Bangalore’s citizens?

The event includes films, talks and discussions with well-known experts and city leaders like MV Rajeev Gowda (Rajya Sabha MP), S Vishwanath (water expert), Nitin Pai (Takshashila Institution), N S Mukunda (Citizen Action Forum), Sridhar Pabbisetty  (Namma Bengaluru Foundation),  Kshitij Urs (People’s Campaign for Right to Water), Bhargavi Rao (Environmental Support Group), Priya Ramasubban (Mahadevpura Parisara Abhivruddhi Samiti) and others.

The discussions would include:

  • Primer on water
  • Governance and politics of Bengaluru’s water supply
  • Fixing Bengaluru’s water issues; Case studies and discussion on how to push those solutions

This workshop is open for all and free for all citizens interested in learning and working towards solutions to Bengaluru’s water issues.

There is also a free workshop for students/journalists interested in writing about environment issues on October 2, 2016 between 9.30 am to 1.00 pm and will be limited to 20 seats. The focus of this workshop would be on ‘Reporting on Water and Environment’.

You can register for the workshop here. Write to workshop@comedialab.in or check the Facebook page for more information about this workshop.