In its submission to the Karnataka High Court, the state government said that the quality of treated water supplied as part of the Koramangala-Challaghatta (KC) Valley Project meets the surface water norms prescribed under the Environment (Protection) Rules of 1986.
A division bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) over the issue, filed by activist Anjaneya Reddy of the Shashwatha Neeravari Horata Samiti from Chikkaballapur. In the petition, Anjaneya argued that the project was taken up without conducting a scientific study, and that the treated water supplied via the project contained industrial effluents.
Advocate Uday Holla, appearing for the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), informed the High Court that the water released as part of the project was as per norms prescribed under the Environment (Protection) Rules of 1986 and that it was used to recharge groundwater levels in Kolar and Chikkaballapur, and not for irrigation. The KSPCB collected test samples on September 16 and analysed them on September 20, and found the pH level of the water to be 7.8 which is within the 5.5-9 range prescribed. Faecal coliform matter was also found to be below the permissible limit of 1600.
The KC Valley Project was inaugurated on June 7. It provides treated water from Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Bellandur to 126 irrigation tanks in Kolar and Chikkaballapur. The project was initiated as a way to solve the water woes of typically dry districts by recharging groundwater levels and making water available for irrigation.
But ever since the project was launched, activists have repeatedly questioned the quality of water transported through the project.
On July 23, the High Court asked the government to stop the supply of partially treated water as part of the project. The decision was taken after residents in Kolar observed that frothy water was being supplied.
The High Court further pulled up the state government for squandering public money on the project and gave it time till September 11 to formulate a response. The court also extended the stay on the project till September 20, asking the government to conduct tests on the treated water samples.