In the two-day BBMP council session on water, as each corporator spoke about the water problem in their wards, they all had one demand in common. Borewells. And more borewells.
"I need 20 borewells in my ward", said one. "Give me 10-15 borewells", said another. At the end of the session, as BWSSB Chairman P B Ramamurthy announced the various projects taken up by the Board, the corporators requested him to mention the immediate plan of action to address the water crisis and demanded a response to how many borewells were going to be installed immediately.
Ramamurthy announced that the water board will instal three borewell in new wards and two in old wards. Similarly, Mayor S K Nataraj announced that four borewells will be installed in new wards (erstwhile CMC areas) and two each in old wards.
All this much to the chagrin of the corporators who waited two days to listen to an announcement from the Board, hoping for some good news.
Through the two-day session, Corporators expressed their anguish about water-related problems in their ward. Dr M S Shivaprasad, BJP, Aramane Nagar (Ward 35), said that even after digging borewells, motors and pipelines were not attached. "It is difficult to contact the engineers with regard to this borewell problem", he said.
Another corporator, K Poornima, Congress, Basavanapura (Ward 53) said that out of the 65 borewells in her ward, only 30 are in working condition. "Another ten have very little water", she said. In Ward 71 (Hegganahalli), Govindegowda M B (Independent), said that out of the 55 borewells, only eight are functional.
Corporators also complained that borewells were disconnected because electricity bills weren’t paid. They requested the BWSSB Chairman and the Mayor to look into this as well.
Gangadhar H N, BJP, Rajgopal Nagar (Ward 70) said there is not a single BWSSB borewell in his ward. Shivakumar K (Independent), Shantala Nagar (Ward 111) said that despite promises made by officials to drill borewells in his ward, not a single one had been installed so far.
Others like Lavanya Ganesh Reddy, Congress, Lingarajapura (Ward 49) said that out of the 20 borewells in her ward, only eight are in working condition. This is also the same ward where, last year, eight-year-old Abhishek was washed away in a storm water drain. Lavanya reminded the officials about the incident and appealed to them to not allow a repeat of this again, by being prepared for the monsoons.
Borewell water only source for outer areas
The requests for more borewells came from corporators of newly-added wards where Cauvery water is not supplied. K N Anjaneya Reddy, Congress, Kadugodi (Ward 83) said he does not even receive water through tankers in his ward. "Water level in the borewells have gone down", he said. In Singasandra (Ward 191), half of the borewells have dried up, said corporator Kavitha Babu Raj (Congress). Neither does the ward receive Cauvery water.
BWSSB Chairman Ramamurthy said the new areas will continue to be dependent on borewells till the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012 when the Cauvery IV stage II phase project is completed.
Ramamurthy also said that repair works of borewells will also be taken up, division-wise, within the next few days wherein the water board’s Assistant Executive Engineers (AEE) and Executive Engineers (EE) will contact the respective ward corporators to identify the borewells.
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Genuine leadership appears to have gone AWOL on a basic human need.
It would be good to see the authority take the bull by the horns and forcefully implement long-range plans for adequate water supply. Sad that the Silicon Valley of India is plagued by lack of adequate water.
Deep wells are acceptable only if they are seen as interim steps.
Is it unpatriotic to suggest that maybe the time has come for city leaders to learn lessons from experience of Israeli efforts at water supply and conservation?
Borewells are not the answer. There is also no good solution in the short time frame. Instead of these band aid solutions, it is important we invest the money required and do good, fundamental things which have been articulated in many places.
However,I can understand this demand for borewells. Without water, that is the only immediate solution people can think of. It is the responsibility of the BWSSB to also educate these corporators.