Updated March 14th, 2024 at 17:15 IST

From Paper Plates to Alternative Day Showers, B'luru Residents Find Ways to Tackle Water Crisis

Citizens of India's tech capital are trying every possible method to deal with an unprecedented water crisis that has gripped the city.

Water crisis deepens in Bengaluru. | Image:ANI
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Bengaluru: From exploring work from home (WFH) option and shifting to a place with better water facilities and taking bath on alternate days — citizens of India's tech capital are trying every possible thing to deal with an unprecedented water crisis that has gripped the city. The woes have become a serious issue of concern for Bengalureans , especially in Whitefield, KR Puram, Electronic City, RR Nagar, Kengeri and CV Raman Nagar.

Those staying in high rise apartments with water harvesting facilities are also now dependent on tankers for drinking water and many restrictions have been imposed.

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Eateries in Bengaluru are mulling over use of disposable cups, glasses and plates to avoid excess use of water.

Posters with catchy slogans — "no rain no water," "water water everywhere but not a drop to drink", "conserve water", among others have been put up at many schools and building associations.

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Educational institutions are also feeling the pinch.

Recently, a coaching centre in the city asked its students to attend classes online due to an 'emergency' for a week. Similarly, a school on Bannerghatta Road was also closed, asking students to attend classes online just like they did during the covid pandemic.

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Meanwhile, some residents of a layout in KR Puram have come up with plans to take bath on alternate days, order food twice a week instead of cooking at home, and restricting water supply to their tenants.

People say they are forced to pay more for the tanker water, although the rates have been capped by the government.

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With temperature rising, it is difficult to avoid a daily shower but they are left with no option but to take bath on alternative days, said Sujatha, also a resident of KR Puram.

"What to do? I have two school going children, plus we have to manage household chores. Clean vessels, cook food, wash clothes....so, we have started using paper plates, that way we have cut down on our water usage. And we order food twice a week. Since we can afford to do that, we are doing it and we are using the washing machine only once in a week now," she said.

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Deficit rains last year is being blamed for people's plight. "We do have facilities for rain water harvesting in our apartment but then we hardly got any rains last year. So, despite having facilities, we could hardly store any water. Now we have been asked by the building association to use water judiciously and one way of doing it was, we have been restricted to water supply at specified intervals," Shobha, a homemaker living in an high end apartment in Kengeri, said.

Lakshmi V, an IT professional living in Singasandra, has been requesting her firm to allow WFH option so that she and her family can temporarily shift to her native place in Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu until the situation becomes better.

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"Since the past few weeks we have been experiencing severe water shortage in our area. I have two kids and since we require more water, we have bought a drum to store water. Our apartment is providing water twice a day. There are four borewells in the premises but water is available only from two of them." Last week, it became a huge problem for her as even the water tanker suppliers weren't taking the apartment manager's call and it further led to commotion with residents struggling for water. This led to arguments with the building association.

"If the situation persists, we are thinking of seeking a work from home option. We are planning to move to our native place in Tamil Nadu temporarily till rain arrives here," she said.

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To create awareness and educate children about the water crisis, building associations and schools have started putting up posters in their premises explaining them about the urgent measures to conserve water.

"We have started having more discussions about water crisis, climate change, what can be done to curb global warming and carefree usage of water. Lakes and borewells drying up is a major issue of concern and we discuss that...we need to have such discussions from early on in classes so that students are aware and become responsible citizens. We need to catch them young," said Rekha Sharma, a science teacher at a private school in the Whitefield area.

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Some residents in areas of KR Puram and Whitefield said they have already started looking to shift to a place with 24 hour water availability.

Krishna, a software engineer living in KR Puram for the last few years said he has never faced such a water crisis. The apartment maintenance charge has gone up by Rs 1,000 due to dependence on water tankers. "I have started looking for a new house; might have to pay more rent but anything for better water supply," he said.

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Some malls in the city have also given access to employees of high end shops and buildings in the water affected areas to use their toilets in case of emergency, according to locals.

"Most of our borewells have gone dry and we are dependent on water tankers. If there is no rain around Ugadi festival (next month), then we will have to make alternative arrangements," Karnataka State Hoteliers Association president Chandrashekar Hebbar told PTI.

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The government is taking a slew of measures to address the situation. Civic authorities have decided to fill up the drying lakes with 1,300 million litres per day of treated water to replenish groundwater sources in the city, where about 50 per cent of the borewells have dried up.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) will also install filter borewells and construct water plants using an innovative technology near the restored lake beds to supply water after testing, the civic agency officials said.

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This initiative has been taken up in association with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), BWSSB Chairman Ram Prasath Manohar said. This is expected to add about 20–30 MLD of water into the system.

Except for the headline, this PTI story has not been edited by Republic. 

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Published March 14th, 2024 at 17:15 IST