So, what exactly is the source of drinking water in Bangalore? Does Bangalore have a water crisis? What is state of water supply in Bangalore? Let us find out answers to all your questions.
In early 2018, predictions that Bengaluru was on its way to running out of drinking water went viral. Thankfully, the city with a population of over 11 million still has enough water resources to meet its needs. However, if we are not careful, a day may come when the doomsday prediction becomes a reality.
According to a publication by the Centre for Science and Environment, encroachment and unplanned urbanization over the past 4 decades has cost the city heavily in terms of its water bodies. Today the number of water bodies in the city is just over 20% of what once existed.
So, Where Does Our Water Come From?
Bengaluru has two main sources of water:
- The River Kaveri (Cauvery)
The Kaveri meets most of the city’s drinking water requirements. Groundwater pulled up through bore wells is used for everything else.
Source Of Drinking Water In Bangalore – The Kaveri
Water from the Cauvery is collected in the Krishna Raja Sagar Dam in Mysore. From here, the BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) pumps water and transports it to over 660,355 BWSSB connections in Bengaluru.
According to their estimates, the city needs around 1125 million liters of water per day. However, it can supply only 900 million liters of water per day.
Source Of Drinking Water In Bangalore – Ground Water
Groundwater refers to the water that is collected in fissures between rocks deep beneath the surface of the earth. This can also be described as the rainwater that has trickled through the soil and rocks to be collected underground.
Interconnected fissures in the rocks that create a single body of underground water are known as aquifers.
There are two types of aquifers from where water can be extracted; unconfined and confined aquifers.
- Unconfined aquifers are found in the second layer of the earth. This is just below the soil and is made up of crushed rocks that can hold water. This is also known as the weathered layer. Open bore wells that go up to a depth of 80 feet can access this water.
- Confined aquifers are found below the weathered layer in hard rock fissures. The water here is stored under high pressure.
The aquifers contain a limited amount of water. Hence, they dry out over time. As the shallow borewells dry out, deeper borewells are dug to access water from confined aquifers.
There is no certain way to predict where underground water can be found. You may hit the water at 100 feet or 650 feet below ground level- the only way to find it is by trial and error.
Other Sources Of Drinking Water In Bangalore – Treated Water
Apart from river water and groundwater, used water may also be treated so that it can be re-used. Bengaluru has 14 Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) that can collectively treat about 721 million liters of water per day.
However, in reality, only about 302 million liters of water are treated every day. STPs are mandatory for all apartment buildings constructed post-2007.
Treated water can be used for gardening and landscaping, flushing toilets, cleaning, and many other ways. This type of water is cheaper to procure but that does not mean that it should be wasted.
When water undergoes high-quality treatment, it may be brought back to potable quality. In such cases, it may be used to recharge underground water supplies.
How Recharge Groundwater?
Recharging groundwater refers to replenishing underground water supplies. This can be done in two ways. Water can be put back directly into the aquifers or it can be poured down open wells and allowed to seep into the earth at its own speed.
One of the concerns of recharging water is maintaining the quality of water being added to the aquifers. If the water is even slightly contaminated, directly recharging an aquifer will contaminate the entire water body.
The scenario is slightly better in the case of recharging water through open wells. In this case, some of the bacteria may be killed as the water percolates through the earth.
Tips To Minimizing Water Wastage
Water is a finite resource and hence must be used wisely. Thus, it is essential to minimize the wastage of this natural resource at every level. Some of the ways you can do this are:
Do not ignore leafy taps and showers. What may seem like only a few drops can quickly add up to many liters of wasted water.
Wash Utensils Wisely
The best way to wash utensils isn’t by holding it under running water but keeping it in a soaked basin. This minimizes the amount of water being used. Also, avoid washing one utensil at a time.
Showers vs Bucket Baths
If you really want to save water, stop showering and instead use a bucket and a mug to bathe. If you must shower, close the tap while soaping yourself and do not stand under running water unnecessarily.
When you give potted plants extra water, the water simply drains out from underneath. To keep from wasting water in this way, place shallow trays under your pots. The extra water will collect in these plates and can be soaked up by the plant when needed.
Reuse Wastewater From Filtering Machines
Water filters may be essential for drinking water but the water released as waste can be put to good use. Use this to water your plants, clean the car or even to swab your house.