In­dia’s Sil­i­con Val­ley parched due to mis­man­age­ment

The Star Malaysia - - World -

bAN­GA­LOrE: In­dia’s Sil­i­con Val­ley is brac­ing for yet an­other thirsty sum­mer.

Taps are run­ning dry and the lakes that once nur­tured the south­ern city of Ban­ga­lore and its nearly 10 mil­lion res­i­dents are ei­ther parched or fetid with in­dus­trial waste and toxic ef­flu­ents.

Much like Cape Town in South Africa, Ban­ga­lore’s wa­ter woes have been in the mak­ing for some time. Years of un­planned ur­ban­i­sa­tion, rapid pop­u­la­tion growth and poor man­age­ment of wa­ter re­sources have now reached a crit­i­cal point in the south­ern In­dian metropolis.

A 2016 study by the En­ergy and Wet­lands Re­search Group at the In­dian In­sti­tute of Science in Ban­ga­lore showed that the city’s wa­ter bod­ies de­clined by as much as 80% be­tween 1973 and 2016.

Over that same pe­riod, the con­crete area in the city, once known for its gar­dens and lakes, went up by more than 1,000%.

T.V. Ra­machan­dra, the sci­en­tist who led the study, said mis­man­age­ment of both land and wa­ter re­sources has led to the cur­rent cri­sis, in which the city is now crit­i­cally de­pen­dent on the Cau­very river and the an­nual mon­soon rains as its prin­ci­pal sources of drink­ing wa­ter.

The lakes that once pro­vided nat­u­ral rain­wa­ter reser­voirs and helped recharge ground­wa­ter have largely given up the fight against ram­pant en­croach­ment. The few that have sur­vived the on­slaught are strug­gling.

Images of Bel­lan­dur Lake, the city’s largest wa­ter body, cov­ered with a foamy mix of filth, rou­tinely make the head­lines.

An­other ma­jor lake, Ul­soor, is choked with garbage and con­struc­tion waste and is gasp­ing un­der a blan­ket of thick wa­ter­weeds.

And as the thirsty city looks des­per­ately for wa­ter, borewells are dig­ging deeper and deeper, each year de­plet­ing what re­mains of the city’s ground­wa­ter.

Large wa­ter stor­age tanks line the rooftops of Ban­ga­lore’s new com­mer­cial and res­i­den­tial build­ings, which are al­most en­tirely de­pen­dent on pri­vate wa­ter sup­pli­ers.

A study re­cently pub­lished in a lead­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal mag­a­zine, Down to Earth said Ban­ga­lore could go the Cape Town way – and face acute wa­ter scarcity in the not-tood­is­tant fu­ture.

The study said the wa­ter ta­ble in Ban­ga­lore has fallen from 10-12 me­tres to 76-91 me­tres be­low the sur­face in the last two decades as the num­ber of ex­trac­tion wells soared.

Mo­bile tankers have be­come the wa­ter life­line for the city’s poorer res­i­dents, who line up every day to fill buck­ets and pots.

“There is se­vere cri­sis. The ac­tual suf­fer­ers are the poor peo­ple liv­ing in the slums,” said rain­wa­ter har­vest­ing ex­pert Ayyappa Masagi. — AP

— AP.

Tap­ping any source: A man fetch­ing wa­ter from a con­crete tank in an up­com­ing res­i­den­tial neigh­bour­hood due to the wa­ter short­age in Ban­ga­lore.

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