Skip to Content

Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board

586 users have liked.

 Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board


The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board is constituted under “The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Act, 1964” [1]. The board came into existence on 2nd October 1964 (as per BWSSB website). By the end of 1964, both the water supply and sanitary component was transferred to the newly constituted board.


Originally, the head works and rising main of the water supply for Bangalore were under the control of the state government, while the distribution of water was managed by the Bangalore Municipal Corporation. The World Bank, which financed the first Cauvery Water Scheme required that both the water supply as well as drainage of water in Bangalore be entrusted to a separate independent and autonomous body [1].


Some proviions of the act are described in more detail below.  

According to the act, the board was to be constituted with not less than three and not more than seven members. Of these, one member was to have wide experience in commercial matters and administration, while another member is to be a civil engineering expert preferably with specialization in public health, water supply and sewage disposal while the third member is to have expertise in financial aspects and accounting in the context of public undertakings.


Consultative Committee:  The act envisages a consultative committee constituted by the state government consisting of the three members of the board (BWSSB) and three to nine other members to represent the interests of the erstwhile Bangalore Municipal Corporation, the Bangalore City Improvement Trust Board and the Consumers of Water. The functions of the consultative committee were to meet at least once every three months to advice the board on major policy matters and schemes and to review the progress and work of the board from time to time.  Another major function of the consultative committee is to review the annual financial statement of the board before the report is submitted to the government and tabled in the legislature.


General Duties of the Board (section 15): The main function of the board is to supply and improve general supply of water in the Bangalore Metropolitan area and to make adequate provision for sewerage and for the disposal of sewerage in the same area. The board is also charted with (a) Ascertaining that the water supply is sufficient and wholesome (b)preparing and carrying out schemes for wholesome water supply and (c)preparing and carrying out schemes for proper sewerage and disposal thereof.


Financials:  The board is tasked with getting sufficient revenue to cover operations.  Any excess amount is to be used towards an improvement reserve (meant to fund improvements) or depreciation reserve.  The board is expected to present an annual financial statement for the forthcoming year in the February of every year. This statement is tabled and discussed in the legislature, but there is no vote.  At any time during the year, the board is also authorized to submit a supplementary statement for discussion. Similarly, annual statements of accounts are to be audited and tabled in the legislature.  The government will prescribe corrective action, as necessary, if required, based on the audits.


Water Supply: The water supply portion of the act deals with various legal rights of the board and the citizens (including time given to respond to applications). Some interesting provisions are as follows.  Article 52 – specifies for a separation of six meters between the water pipe and any source of pollution such as drain, open channel, cesspool etc.


Sewerage:  On sewerage, section 65 restricts hazardous materials from being introduced into the sewerage stream that makes the sewerage hazardous and makes treatment of sewerage difficult and also introduction of garbage is also prohibited. Section 66 once more reinforces the fact that “trade effluents”cannot be discharged into sewrs ecept in accordance with the laws made in this regard. Section 72 requires that sewage and rain water be effectively drained separately while section 74 states that provision has to be made to treat the sewage and that sewage may not be discharged into water bodies without adequate treatment as required by the by-laws made in this regard (not sure where these are documented).


Rules and Regulations: The law provides in section 87 and 88 respectively, for the state government to make rules in order to add detail to the general provisions of the act while the board can make regulations that are consistent with the act and the rules.


BWSSB’s mission

The mission of the board as per the BWSSB website is listed as follows

1. Providing water supply and making arrangements for the sewerage and disposal
of sewage in the existing and developing new regions of Bangalore Metropolitan Area.

2. Investigating adequacy of water supply for domestic purpose in Bangalore
Metropolitan area.

3. Preparation and implementation of plans and schemes for supply of water for
domestic purposes within the Bangalore Metropolitan area to the required standards.

4. Preparation and implementation of plans and schemes for proper sewerage
and disposal of sewage of the Bangalore Metropolitan area.

5. Levy & collection of water charges on “no loss no profit basis.”


The Organisation

Board Members: There are 7 Board Members

1.      Chairman, BWSSB

2.      Principal Secretary Finance Departments-GoK

3.      Principal Secretary-Urban Development Department GoK

4.      Commissioner- Bangalore Mahanagara Palike

5.      Commissioner-BDA;

6.      Two Non-Official Members.

• BWSSB is headed by the Chairman,
• The chairman is assisted by an Engineer-in-Chief and five Chief Engineers- one each for

·         Project

·         Maintenance

·         Corporate Planning

·         Waste water Management

·         Quality Assurance and Borewells.

In addition, there are the

·         Financial Advisor

·         Chief Administrative Officer

·         Public Relations Officer.

Each Chief Engineer is assisted by Additional Chief Engineers, Executive Engineers, Assistant Executive Engineers and Assistant Engineers. There is an Additional Chief Engineers for Vigilance and Quality Assurance. There are 66 Service Stations and 2610 employees working in BWSSB (the numbers are from BWSSB website and may be outdated since the website appears dated).


Water Supply


The per capita water supply at present in Bangalore is about 100 to 125 (gross) liters per capita per day (LPCD) which is below the National Standard of 150-200 LPCD for a city of the size of Bangalore. The per capita availability of water for vast majority of poor people in Bangalore is only about 40-45 LPCD. With 150 LPCD as standard, the current demand is 900 MLD for a population of 6 million. However BWSSB is able to supply only about 810 MLD.


Cauvery Water Supply Scheme

A majority (90% [3]) of the water supplied by the BWSSB comes from the river Cauvery. The project involves supplying water from the river Cauvery for consumption in the city of Bangalore.  Water is pumped over a distance of about a 100 km over a significant gradient to the city of Bangalore.  The scheme nominally supplies 810 MLD (Million Liters/Day of water to Bangalore.  The construction of Cauvery Stage IV, Phase II is in progress which is expected to further enhance the water supply by another 500 MLD. A summary of all Cauvery phases to date is recorded in the table below.  

Table: Summary of Cauvery Project (Ref. [4])


Capacity(MLD) Million Liters/Day

Year of Completion

Cost (Crores) Not indexed for inflation

B’lore Population(approx)





16,00,000 (1971)





29,20,000 (1981)






IV Phase I




57,01,446 (2001)

IV Phase II





Notes: Population numbers are from various sources [5-7]. The 1981, 1991 and 2001 population is reported for the Bangalore Urban Agglomeration Area which extends beyond the old BMP wards.  In 2001, the old BMP accounted for about 75% of the population of Bangalore. Also note that Cauvery water is not yet supplied to all areas in the Bangalore UAA. The population numbers are only for reference.

 Collection and transport of water: 

The Karnataka government has allocated about 19 TMC per year (600 cusecs or 1470 MLD) of Cauvery water to Bangalore (TMC is a Thousand Million Cubic Feet, cusecs is cubic feet per second) [8, 9 need better ref.].   Water is extracted from the Cauvery at the Shiva Anicut (Anicut – a dam or structure made to regulate flow of water – from Tamil Anai Kettu), about 90km to the south west of Bangalore.  This water flows by gravity to the Netkal Balancing reservoir [8,10], 8.8km from the Anicut. The Netkal balancing reservoir carries the flow for Bangalore water supply as well as flow from the hydro power station at Shimsa. Netkal is the head works for water supply to the city.  From the Netkal balancing reservoir, water is transported to Torekandanahalli or T K Halli, located in Malavalli taluk of Mandya district, a distance of 9.6 kms through large steel pipes.  The water is treated at TK Halli, at the 425 acre facility, before pumping to Bangalore.

The first three stages of Cauvery water supply uses a conventional treatment process while phase IV uses a French process consisting of pulsators, clarifiers and Aquazur V filters. Water is then pumped in three stages, each accounting for 160m head. This water is then supplied to various reservoirs in the city for distribution. Pumping is done at TK Halli, Harohalli (34km from city) and Tataguni (26 km from city).

For stage IV, Phase 2, the plan is to lay separate pipelines to the bifurcation point at Vajarahalli (70 km from TK Halli), from where part of the water goes to the Gandhi Krushi Vignana Kendra (GKVK) reservoir on the eastern side of the city for distribution and the remaining to the Jambusavarigudda Ground Level Reservoir in the eastern part of the city. Phase II also involves laying the largest (3000mm diameter) water pipeline in the country [11].

Arkavathy water Supply:


The river Arkavathy was identified as a water source in 1896. Some details are available in Praja itself [12]. Water was pumped from the Hesarghatta lake located at a distance of 24km to the west of Bangalore city. The Hessarghatta lake used to be an irrigation tank which originated when a bund was constructed on the river Arkavathy around 1532 [13]. Subsequently, the bund was refurbished in 1894 in order to draw water to Bangalore. Water was drawn and pumped to the jewel filters at Malleswaram prior to supply to the citizens of Bangalore. Thirty six (36) MLD of water could be supplied from the Hesarghatta reservoir.  Unfortunately, due to poor management of the catchment areas and uncontrolled growth, the Hesarghatta reservoir no longer fills up (last year of filling was 1994).  No water is supplied from the Hessarghattta today. Reviving this reservoir and the Arkavathy river will not only benefit the local ecosystem at large, it could also function to provide water supply at a much lower cost to supplement that which is brought from the river Cauvery.


In the 1932-33 timeframe, a larger reservoir called the Chamarajasagar (CRS) was built at Thippagondanahalli,(TG Halli) across the river Arkavathy, to meet the growing needs of Bangalore. TG Halli is downstream of Hessarghatta lake and located about 35km from Bangalore on Magadi road. The water, up to 140 MLD, was extracted, treated and pumped to Bangalore. According to the BWSSB website, the Arkavathy supplies about 20% of Bangalore’s water needs. However, more updated data indicates that only about 50 MLD of water is available from TG Halli [14].

Water Quality

The BWSSB treats water at its various pumping stations.  The following steps are used. Aeration, pre-chlorination, coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration and disinfection. In Cauvery Stage IV, a pulsator is used in addition to the steps mentioned above. At the city reservoirs, rechlorination of water is done in order to maintain residual chlorine level in the city water. The water supplied meets all CPHEEO (Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organization) standards. The drinking water standards as per the BWSSB are [14]


Desirable Limit

Total Solids

500 mg/litre


5 units






0.3 mg/l


0.1 mg/l


75 mg/l


200 mg/l


200 mg/l


7.0 – 8.5

According to the board, the BWSSB regularly samples raw as well as treated water and tests the physical, chemical as well bacteriological parameters of water at the plants.  Further, more than 40 samples are collected everyday from distribution system in the city and tested. [14].


Disposal of sewage

Waste water from households and other establishments is collected through a network of small underground drainage pipes that are connected to larger pipes which carry waste water to the three sewage treatment plants located in three valleys. Viz, Vrishabavathy valley on Mysore Road (180 MLD) Koramangala-Chellaghatta Valley near the HAL Airport (163 MLD) and Hebbal valley on Bellary road (60 MLD). In addition BWSSB has recently constructed mini sewage treatment plants at Madivala and Kempambudi tank. These treatment plants are constructed and maintained by BWSSB. However, in many areas, the sewerage system is incomplete. Hence sewage is either simply let into the storm water drains (meant to carry only rain water) or lakes. This water is not fit for human consumption.


  1. (last accessed June 19, 2009)
  2. last accessed June 19, 2009
  3. “2007 Benchmarking and Data Book of Water Utilities in India,” Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India and Asian Development Bank , published by the ADB, Phillipines, 85 pages, 2007. Accessed at  Last accessed July 26, 2009.
  4. Times of India, dtd 13Nov 2004, “Cauvery project gains momentum”
  5. Bangalore Development Authority Website “” Last visited: Aug 01, 2009
  6. Census of India “” Last visited: Aug 01, 2009
  7. Narayana, M. R., 2008, “Globalization and Urban Growth : Evidence for Bangalore (India),” Report No. CIRJE-F-544, University of Tokyo, Institute for Social and Economic Change, 43pp.
  8. Varghese, M., and Miglani, R., 2008, “Privatization of Water in Karnataka: Special Focus on Bangalore,” CCS Working paper No. 190, Centre for Civil Society, New Delhi, , 15 pages.
  9. Drying Kabini Triggers Alarm,   accessed Aug 01, 2009.
  10. Lalitha, S., “Long Journey of the City’s Water,” Deccan Herald, 30 July 2008.
  11. Madhusudan, N. R., “A Peep into BWSSB’s pipeline plan,” 09 July 2009,
  13. Vishwanath, S., “Lessons from a Reservoir,” The Hindu, 28 June 2008, last accessed Aug 01, 2009
  14. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board “Change Management Initiatives in BWSSB”, undated presentation made to Senior Officers of Kerala Water Authority –possible 2007-2008 timeframe. URL not available. Located July 26, 2009




sanjayv's picture

Thank you zenrainman sir

Thank you for your kind words.  Since the words come from  an expert like you, I am really thrilled.

Do you have a source to cite for the calculation for the water and sewage subsidy.  As I expand this book of gyan in the future to a final chapter with analysis, I would like to include numbers like this.


zenrainman's picture

Great writeup

 Excellent work done on this writeup.

One more interesting fact , subsidies that a household gets if it consumes 25,000 litres water in a month

On water - Rs 400/-

On sewage Rs 600 /-

Total Rs 1000/- a month ...Geez

sanjayv's picture

help - bolded out

 The revised part of the post is all bold and I am unable to unbold it.  Can someone help fix it? Sorry... I am normally not this tech unsavvy.

... ah never mind... was able to go into the html and fix it. comment guidelines

Posting Guidelines apply for comments as well. No foul language, hate mongering or personal attacks. If criticizing third person or an authority, you must be fact based, as constructive as possible, and use gentle words. Avoid going off-topic no matter how nice your comment is. Moderators reserve the right to either edit or simply delete comments that don't meet these guidelines. If you are nice enough to realize you violated the guidelines, please save Moderators some time by editing and fixing yourself. Thanks!

about seo | book