’Bengaluru water crisis to worsen if there is no...’: Here’s how the city is dealing with half-bucket baths

Bengaluru water crisis has taken a toll on one of India’s bonafide metropolitan cities. Residents of the city have been left scrambling with exorbitant rates of water tankers

Written By Fareha Naaz
Updated6 Mar 2024
Bengaluru residents wait for their turn to fill their gallons with running water for their basic needs after the Silicon City area faces a severe water crisis on Tuesday, March 5.
Bengaluru residents wait for their turn to fill their gallons with running water for their basic needs after the Silicon City area faces a severe water crisis on Tuesday, March 5. (ANI)

Bengaluru water crisis has taken a toll on one of India’s bona fide metropolitan cities with a population of above 13 million. 

What caused the water crisis?

Residents of the city have been left scrambling due to a problem caused by rapid, untrammelled growth and complete disregard of the city’s natural water bodies. However, this water crisis is a result of failure of both the southwest and the northeast monsoon in Karnataka. 

Also read: Bengaluru water crisis: Housing society in Whitefield introduces 5,000 fine for misuse, deploys guard

Emergency measures

The authorities are taking emergency measures amid the extreme water crisis situation. These measures include taking over all irrigation and commercial borewells and mandating the registration of every private water tanker in the city. Meanwhile, residents are implementing emergency measures of their own and are issuing instructions to stop washing cars and balconies, bathe with half a bucket of water and use a “half flush” after daily ablutions, use of economy cycle of washing machines and use waste water from aquaguard filters to mop the floor and bathrooms.

Also read: Rameshwaram cafe blast: New CCTV visuals shows suspect entering, leaving Bengaluru eatery - Watch video

Deputy chief minister and Bengaluru development minister DK Shivakumar issued directions to the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) on March 4, acknowledging the gravity of the situation. He instructed the water management bodies to take charge of all irrigation and commercial borewells in the city while stating that water did not “belong to individuals”.  

Also read: Bengaluru water crisis: ‘Water doesn't belong to any individual,’ Shivakumar explains plan to tackle shortage

“Of the 16,781 borewells in our records, 6,997 borewells have dried up. The remaining 7,784 are operational. The government will be drilling new borewells,” HT quoted DK Shivakumar as saying. 

Shivakumar further said that the government was stepping in to control the “tanker mafia” and asked private contractors to register themselves with the municipal corporation by March 7, so that the government can ration water effectively. For several days, tankers laden with water charging exorbitant rates ranging from 500 to 2,000 for a tanker have been addressing the residents daily needs.

Also read: Bengaluru Prison Radicalisation case: NIA conducting searches in 17 places across 7 states

Following a series of emergency meetings on Tuesday, March 5, another decision was taken that involved tankers owned by the Karnataka Milk Federation to be cleaned, and deployed to supply water in the city.

Moreover, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday, announced a series of decisions that included decisions about taluk-level control rooms, helpline numbers, emergency task forces headed by local legislators. 

Also read: Bengaluru to face 24-hour water supply cut from Feb 27 to Feb 28, amid water tank prices hike. List of affected areas

How bad is the situation?

Among the 236 taluks in the state of Karnataka, 223 have been drought-hit, with 219 severely affected. An official informed that dry spell affected water supply both from the Cauvery, and borewells that are two of Bengaluru’s principal sources of water. 

“The crisis may worsen if there is no good rain in the coming days as already close to half the borewells have dried up,” HT quoted another official as saying.

A hospitality sector executive, Dipali Sikand who lives in Koramangala and has been paying increasingly high rates for private water tankers said, “Since the BWSSB water supply is erratic now, I buy water every other day. I have to make a separate budget for water. And even then, the quality that is supplied is terrible, and some days, I found worms inside,” reported HT.

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