With summer fast approaching, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board has decided that the Bengaluru civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) must use treated water from STPs in public parks managed by them.
KSPCB officials said that the decision was made as both BBMP and BDA are using tanker water from borewells for public parks they manage and the new move is to help conserve underground water.
â€śLast week, we had a board meeting and we realised that underground water is being used to water plants at public parks and also the trees and saplings that have been planted along the roads and pavements. This is drawing out a lot of underground water. During summer months, this can become problematic,â€ť the KSPCB official said.
KSPCB officials said that notices would be issued to BBMP and BDA this week, after which the rule would be implemented. "We are asking them to implement it without delay," the official said.
KSPCB officials further said that the move is being made after water scarcity issues cropped up in the suburban areas of Bengaluru in the summer of 2019. They added that the residents had complained of having to pay huge amounts for tanker water services.
Currently, there are 3,961 apartments in Bengaluru that have Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs). In addition, the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has 27 STPs, where a large chunk of the treated water is not being utilized at all, KSPCB officials said.
BWSSB figures state that 1,112 MLD of treated water is being produced at the 27 STPs across Bengaluru, out of which only 315 MLD of water is being sold for construction purposes. BWSSB officials said that around 10 tankers of treated water are being sold daily and this is resulting in a large portion of the water being let out into the storm water drains.
Data from BWSSB shows that there are 8,550 borewells in Bengaluru that have been dug after obtaining permission from the BWSSB. Of these, around 7,900 are functional. â€śThese are only the approved borewells. In areas like Bellandur, Mahadevapura and Sarjapur, there are many people who have dug borewells illegally. There are about 1 lakh illegal borewells in Bengaluru and it is important to conserve groundwater, at least until BWSSB can ensure there is Cauvery water supply for all homes in BBMP limits,â€ť the official said.
KSPBC officials said that a lot of the treated water is getting wasted as many people constructing homes and commercial buildings are not following the rules and are using a lot of ground water. â€śIn order to ensure that the treated water doesnâ€™t get wasted and also ensure that ground water levels donâ€™t get depleted, we have decided to make it mandatory for BBMP and BDA to use treated water only for watering plants and trees on the roadside and also managing parks and public spaces. There is also a need to monitor those private entities that are not using treated water for construction activity,â€ť the KSPCB official added.