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Bengaluru's worst water crisis leaves country's IT capital high and dry

Bengaluru's worst water crisis leaves country's IT capital high and dry
Bengaluru, A coaching centre in Vijayanagar in Bengaluru asked its students to attend classes online due to an 'emergency' for a week. Similarly, a school on Bannerghatta Road in the city shut down, asking the students to attend classes virtually.

The 'emergency' is the acute water crisis.

Karnataka, especially its capital, is facing one of the worst water crises in recent years due to poor rainfall in 2023.

The Indian Meteorology Department has attributed the scanty rains to El Nino effect.

One can gauge the grim situation from the fact that water tankers were seen inside Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's office residence on Kumarakrupa Road in Bengaluru.

Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar said the borewell in his house in Sadashivanagar in the state capital has gone dry for the first time. This happened despite the fact that Sadashivanagar is located next to Sankey Lake.

Water tankers running frequently on the Bengaluru roads have become a common sight now.

On normal days, the water suppliers used to charge Rs 700 to Rs 800 per tanker but due to excess demand, they are charging somewhere between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,800 per tanker, according to Shivakumar.

The office-bearers of the Residents' Welfare Associations (RWA) in the city are facing the brunt of its members for doing nothing to save them from water crisis.

"We are a family of six members. A tanker of water lasts for five days even if we use it judiciously. It means we need six-tankers of water a month, which will cost us about Rs 9,000 a month. How long can we spend money like this?" Sharaschandra, a resident of Uttarahalli in Bengaluru, said.

Deputy CM Shivakumar, who is in charge of Bengaluru Development, announced taking over private tankers and private borewells to meet the water demand in Bengaluru. Even milk tankers will be used to supply water.

The government is also mulling over fixing the rate for water per tanker.

According to Siddaramaiah, out of 136 Taluks in Karnataka, 123 Taluks have been declared drought hit and 109 are severely affected.

The Karnataka government has also decided to set up Taluk level control rooms and helpline to address water woes.

Taluk level task forces led by the area MLA have been set up to ensure water supply and an adequate supply of fodder for cattle.

According to IMD scientist A Prasad, there was an El Nino effect last year, which is moderate this year too but is likely to decline.

Its effect was evident as summer set in the third and fourth week of February, which otherwise happens only in March in Bengaluru, he explained.

Bengaluru recorded 36 degree Celsius temperature on Wednesday (March 6), the officer said.

"36 degree Celsius was not the highest. There were occasions when temperatures went up to 37.3 degree in March, 1986 but that happened towards the end of the month. We still have 24 days to go this March," Prasad pointed out.

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) as well as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike are under pressure to provide water to people.

A BWSSB official said the situation is grim because the Krishnaraja Sagar Dam in Mandya district from where Cauvery water is supplied to Bengaluru does not have adequate water due to summer.

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