Without water life simply comes to a standstill. Nearly, half a billion of the world population faces water crisis around the year. However, the gravity of the situation is not yet understood by people.
Water is genuinely undervalued as produced in abundance and wasted like anything.
It’s high time that we get a reality check done and start using it more judiciously.
The Global Picture
70 percent of the Earth’s surface contains water but only 2.5 percent of it is fresh water. Even then, the bulk of it is trapped in glaciers and snowfields and we have access to only one percent of the resource. In reality, only 0.007% of the planet’s fresh water is actually available to us.
Instead of effectively managing these limited resources, we have been exploiting them. The fast declining of groundwater level across the globe clearly indicates the reckless usage of the resources rendering most of the hi-tech cities water starved.
Water Crisis Looming Over Bangalore
Quite recently Bangalore has also joined the league with nearly half of the population depends on tankers to meet the water needs. Reportedly, the garden city has been ranked second among top 11 metropolitan cities to face acute water shortage in coming years.
Even a decade ago, the water scarcity in the city wasn’t that grave to hit the panic button. With consecutive droughts in the last four years, the water tanks in Arkavathi river basin, Hesaraghatta Lake and Thippagondanahalli Reservoir accounting for more than half of the water supply in the city have hit the lowest levels.
But the question is, do we genuinely have a water shortage or is it man-made?
Factors To Have Contributed To The Crisis
Over Exploitation of Groundwater Table
The proliferation of more than 7, 900 bore wells within the city limits alone has led to massive depletion of the groundwater table. The water tankers supplying water to most of the peripheral areas in the city are primarily dependent on these bore wells. Almost three and a half times more water is taken from these bore wells.
Polluted and Dying Out Lakes
The garden city that originally brimmed with evident number of lakes is now left with less than a quarter of them. Half of these lakes are polluted and susceptible to froth, fire with garbage and sewage water continuously seeping into the sources and choking the inlets.
More than 850 km long storm water drains have been constructed to transfer surplus rainwater to the lakes. Ironically most of these drains are filled with effluents from industrial wastes, garbage, and sewage water; discharged to the lakes. Consequently, it has reduced the storage capacity of the lakes.
Initially, the lakes used to store up to 35 tmcft of water. Now that the majority of the lakes have disappeared, the current storage capacity is less than even 2 tmcft of water.
Inadequate Rainwater Harvesting
The garden city receives a decent amount of rainfall every year which can be utilized to get rid of the water woes in the city. Rainwater harvesting, the most effective and sustainable solution for water scarcity has not been implemented properly.
Bangalore is hugely dependent on Cauvery River. The garden city alone consumes 50 percent of the Cauvery water reserved for domestic use in Karnataka. As much as 49 percent of this water is supplied for what is called “non-revenue water” or “unaccounted for water”, i.e. water lost in distribution, according to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) data. The primary reason for the loss is found to be water leaking from distribution mains, service pipes and stand posts.
The Way Around
Restoration and revival of the remaining water sources is the dire need of the hour to save Bangalore. The state and central agencies along with the residents should holistically work towards effective management of the available water resources before it’s too late. The mantra for the citizens should be to reuse, reduce and recycle water.
The best way will be replenishing the groundwater table through rejuvenation of lakes. Simultaneously long-term solutions like rainwater harvesting and prohibiting illegal encroachments also need to be sincerely implemented. The watershed programs alone can generate 15 tmc of water.
The state agencies need to put a strict vigilance on water wastage through leaking pipes or by the residents. Massive clean-up initiatives of the lakes, storm water drains (SWDs) and setting up of decentralized sewage plants should be the topmost priorities. The treated water can generate 16 TMC and additional 15 Tmc from rainwater is enough to provide relief to the citizens.
As an alternative method, eco-friendly flats promoting minimal usage of water are in high demand in the city. The real estate owners have started resorting to environment-friendly measures to create a better and more sustainable future for their customers.
One of the best real estate firms in Bangalore, CoEvolve Estates has come up with premium eco-friendly apartments (CoEvolve Northern Star) with advanced plumbing fixtures, ensuring optimum water conservation in toilets.
CoEvolve Estates strongly advocates its buyers to abide by the rainwater conservation laws. The complex has deep rechargeable wells to store enough rainwater and refill the groundwater table. The rainwater harvesting reservoir has a storage capacity up to 50,000 liters i.e. ideally it can store rainwater which would last long for 4 days.
The real estate owner has a dedicated app (backed by IOT technology) to curb unnecessary water wastage within the complex. It incorporates live TDS monitoring, keeps a track of all the incoming water sources, optimizes bore well usage, measures recycled water and more, presented through real-time data streaming on the app.
Co Evolve has set an ideal example in the city with constructing separate sewage and grey water treatment plant for the residential complex. These plants are 100 percent eco-friendly in the sense that they don’t use any electricity and function in an anaerobic biological process. The best part is that these plants don’t have any mechanical moving parts and require minimal maintenance with zero breakdowns.
Sustainability is the only key to keep the city alive. A perfect house can be the first step to start with.