Most of Bengaluru groundwater not potable

Over hundred families in Aatmajyothi Nagar in Nayandahalli are drinking toxic water, with nearly 12 times the acceptable nitrate levels, from borewells. "The permissible limit of nitrates per litre of water is 45 milligram. But in the underground water in Nayandahalli, the nitrate level is 554 milligrams per liter, which is very high. It can cause various health hazards," said M V Shashirekha, water researcher and former official of the mines and geology department.

Pic: Sankar C G

There is a further shortage of safe drinking water due to delay in the completion of the Cauvery Fourth Stage Second Phase water supply project, leaving people with little choice but to drink contaminated groundwater.

Residents complain that protests have not made any difference. "We protested in front of the BWSSB office in 2005 as the borewell water we have been consuming causes joint pain, vomiting, skin problems and other health hazards," said Seethamma, a resident of Aatmajyothi Nagar.

The BWSSB installed pipes in the area in 2006 with an assurance of immediate water connection, but the residents are yet to receive drinking water supply.

Test results from various localities


Nitrate, Iron and Flouride levels

Permissible limit

Sanjay Gandhi Nagar and Old Yelahanka

335 mg nitrate / litre

45 mg / litre


5.32 mg flouride / litre

1.5 mg / litre


4.49 mg flouride / litre

1.5 mg / litre

Kariammana Agrahara

48.5 mg iron / litre

5 mg / litre


39.5 mg iron / litre

5 mg / litre

Study finds high nitrate levels

The situation in Aatmajyothi Nagar is not unusual in Bangalore. A recent study done by Shashirekha of various parts of the city revealed excessive amounts of nitrate, fluoride and iron in groundwater.

The places of study included , Anjananagar, Bellandur, Bidarahalli, Chatram Road, HBS Layout, Hoodi, Kariammana Agrahara, Nagasandra, Nayandahalli, Old Yelahanka, Sanjay Gandhi Nagar, Santhammanahalli and Yeshwantpur.

"All the people here have joint pains. Doctors are saying it is because of adulterated water," said Manjunath from Yeshwantpur. "If we keep the water overnight, a white coating appears on it," he added.

BWSSB says wait for Cauvery 4th phase

"We can provide water to them from Cauvery Fourth Stage Second Phase. Because of some technical issues, the work got delayed," said Yashanth B, junior engineer at BWSSB. "We will finish the work soon and will provide water supply in Aatmajyothi Nagar and in other places by December."

This article comes to Citizen Matters as part of an arrangement with Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM). Versions of this article originally appeared in The Oberver and


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About Sankar C G 35 Articles
Sankar C G is an Associate Staff Journalist at Citizen Matters

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