Bengaluru’s peripheries – the 110 villages that were added to the city in 2008 – have long depended on private tankers for water supply. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) had promised them water supply by 2023 through its Cauvery Stage V project.
Cauvery Stage V project aims to bring in an additional 775 MLD (Million Litres per Day) water from river Cauvery into Bengaluru city. As per the final project report in 2017, the total demand for the 110 villages was calculated to be 350 MLD as of 2024. The report says demand is expected to go up to 800 MLD in 2049, and additional requirements at the time can be met through borewell water supply.
With only two years left to the 2023 deadline, what’s the status of the project?
Many works are at very early stages
B M Somashekar, Engineer-in-Chief (Addl) says work on the distribution lines within the 110 villages have been nearly complete. In early June, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa also announced that the pipeline-laying work in the villages had been completed.
However, work on the main transmission and trunk lines are in the very early stages. S V Ramesh, Chief Engineer (Kaveri)(Addl), who is in charge of these works, says tenders have been awarded for all the components of the water supply project, and they are in different stages of progress. He added that work had lagged due to COVID lockdowns over the past year. “Work didn’t happen for three months last year, and three months this year. But we are getting additional labour to complete the work on time.”
As shown in the image below, Cauvery water is first treated at the 775-MLD water treatment plant (WTP) at TK Halli outside Bengaluru. From TK Halli, the water is pumped to Harohalli and then Tataguni pumping stations, before it reaches the city at a point named Vajarahalli, near Banashankari 6th stage.
Ramesh says the conveyance line that brings water up till TK Halli already exists. But construction of the water treatment plant at TK Halli has just started; as of early May, only 4% of the work had been completed, according to him.
The transmission line that carries water from TK Halli to Harohalli pumping station is 43 km long. As of early May, 14.7 km (34%) of this work had been completed. Further, the transmission line from Harohalli to Vajarahalli (the entry point to the city) is around 28 km long. Of this, only 5 km (18%) had been completed in early May.
BWSSB is also supposed to build Ground Level Reservoirs (GLRs) at the three pumping stations – TK Halli, Harohalli and Tataguni. Only 4-5% of works on these GLRs were complete as of early May.
BWSSB’s trunk lines supply Cauvery water east and west
Once the water enters the city at Vajarahalli, two trunk lines carry the water into the peripheral areas – one towards the east and the other towards the west. The trunk main along the eastern direction takes the water to the Ground Level Reservoirs (GLRs) in Gottigere (off Bannerghatta road), Doddakannalli (off Sarjapura road), and Kadugodi (near Whitefield). This trunk line spans a total of 54 km, of which only 7 km (13%) had been done as of early May. The diameter of this trunk line ranges between 800 mm and 2300 mm, says Ramesh.
In the western route, the trunk line starts from Vajarahalli and goes towards the GLRs in Lingaderanahalli (near Sunkadakatte and Nagarbhavi), Singapura (near Jalahalli), Vasudevapura (near Yelahanka) and Chokkanahalli (near Jakkur). Ramesh says the GLR planned at Vasudevapura has been shifted to Sir MV Layout because of a property dispute. The line spans a total of 56 km, of which 15 km (27%) had been completed as of early May. The diameter of this pipe ranges between 1500 mm and 2600 mm.
Other than Vasudevapura, the land for some other proposed GLRs were also under dispute, and their works have just started after resolving those. Progress of works vary – for example, work on Gottigere GLR has just started, while that on Singapura GLR has progressed to 20%. In the case of Kadugodi GLR, the land is still under the Forest Department; talks are going on, and the land would be transferred to BWSSB in 2-3 weeks, says Ramesh.
With works progressing slowly, it’s unclear if residents in outer areas will indeed get Cauvery water in 2023 itself. Many residents in these areas have been skeptical of taking Cauvery connections even otherwise. In Part 2 of this series, we explore why.