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Sustainable water supply for Bangalore

Bangalore has always faced chronic water shortages.  Back in 1981 when the population was 2.9 million.  In 1991 when the population was 4.5 million.  And in 2008 when the population is some 7 million.   I don't think there ever has been a time when we have had daily water.   The past few years have seen a construction boom that has added to the strain on the water supply.

Our major water source is some 100 km away and heavily dependent on a good monsoon.  Per capita water consumption in Bangalore was 74l/day as per a benchmarking study.   Unaccounted water was a staggering 45%. 

Some more findings from that report (the defintion of Bangalore has changed since this report)

  • Water consumption (l/d) : Bangalore 74, Bombay 191, Jamshedpur 203, Coimbatore 109
  • Water supply (l/c/d) : Bangalore 185, Bombay 246, Coimbatore 286.
  • Metered connections % : Bangalore 95%, Bombay 75%, Coimbatore 100%, Chandigarh 79%
  • Average tariff (Rs/m3) : Bangalore Rs.20.55 (highest), Bombay Rs.4.60, Madras Rs.10.9. 

(Average tariff is defined as revenue/consumption and not directly the tariff.)

For the detailed report you can click on this link

Some questions

a. With virtually 100% metering why is there such a big difference between production and consumption.  We cannot store water to such an extent over time.  On a steady state basis production should equal consumption.  Either the production figure is badly off or the consumption (faulty/rigged meters?).

b. How are we going to sustain Bangalore's water requirements 5 and 10 years from now?  Can we continue exploiting the Kaveri till kingdom come

c. Is privatization of distribution (only) an answer?  There have been mixed responses worldwide.  There are some instances where the private provider banned rainwater harvesting!  Singapore also does not allow rainwater harvesting!!!

d. BWSSB keeps talking about sewage treatment and recycling.  What is the progress on this?

e. Rainwater harvesting is supposedly mandatory for all new constructions.  is this being followed?  why not be made mandatory for all dwellings over a 5 year period?

f. Look at the state of our lakes.  While using lake water directly might be tough, they can probably be used to recharge ground water.  Why is the LDA so lax on the protection of lakes




Ravi_D's picture

No money for LDA

Why is the LDA so lax on the protection of lakes

One of the reasons could be their budget allocation - Rs 3.15 Cr for 40,000 lakes in the state!

More here:


Naveen's picture

Water Questions, Our Dying Lakes

I think what they mean is that most of the homes in bangalore are metered, whereas cauvery water is pumped from some 100km+ away from the city. So, there might be "in-transit" losses, which are not included.

Water is going to become more & more scarce with the passage of time since our growth processes are skewed with excessive concentration on cities. Steps must be taken to discourage this - incentives must be given to create more jobs in smaller towns & cities so that they may grow instead of trying to take in more & more load into already large ones.

LDA needs much more funds than allocated as upkeep & maintenance of lakes is expensive.

I am very saddened to see the state of Hessarghatta lake - it used to be brimming with water during my school days, & had been a popular picnic spot then. Now, there's virtually no water with all the feeding rivulets cut off with construction activity & a general neglect of the lake.

Most other lakes have also shrunk in size.

zenrainman's picture

Water supply failures in cities

 Why can’t Indian cities get a 24-hour water supply?

The first and immediate failure is institutional. We have no democratically accountable institutions to give us 24x7, high-quality water. Because of these institutional lapses, we have financial failures; most water-supply institutions are broke — they don’t have money to invest in capital, repair or maintenance.

Water is also hugely subsidised and the subsidies are mistargeted. The subsidies go to the rich. Until you have a system that recovers costs, you cannot have 24x7 water. There are also very few water supply agencies that use metering or volumetric pricing. Without knowing how much water there is in the system, you can’t arrive at a price to recover cost. For example, they don’t know how much leakage there is or how much they should bill people for. If we can’t measure these things, we can’t manage them, and we don’t have a clue as to how much an average customer consumes per day.

Ground water is completely outside the purview of the existing water-supply institutions and most people in cities depend on ground water rather than on pipe water. If we don’t have ground water management, we cannot manage our total demand. comment guidelines

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