Friday 5 July 2013

How Cauvery came to Bangalore

When Indian attained Independence, the Civil and Military Station or rather Cantonment area which was controlled by the British and the Pettah or Pete area of Bangalore came to be merged under a single entity called Bangalore City Corporation.
The State Government passed an act merging both the municipalities of the Civil and Military Station and the Pettah areas. One of the first acts of the now undivided Municipality as also the Government was to come up with a viable, fool proof and long term water supply to Bangalore.
Then, Bangalore was being supplied water from the TG Halli, Hesarghatta and several tanks and lakes. By then, the Dharmambudhi tank had already dried up and the erstwhile municipality had allotted sites to people on its tank bed. The dry tank was being used as an open ground where national leaders like Gandhi, Nehru gave speeches and exhibitions and circuses were being held.
The British had constructed Millers and Sankey tanks to supply drinking water to Bangalore. Constructed in 1882, Sankey tank then cost Rs 5,75,000. It was linked to the Miller's tank and also Dharmambudhi tank.  The Millers tank was really huge. It too was supplying drinking water and residents preferred this water to Sankey as the quality was much better.
The Government decided to go in for a more reliable source of water to Bangalore. Even as discussions were on about which source of water to tap and how, the State Government in 1958 constituted an Expert Committee to go into the issue.
The committee was also asked to study which of the following sources would be the better to tap. The sources were: 1) Arkavathy river downstream of  T.G.Halli reservoir 2) Hemavathy River c) Shimsha River and d) Cauvery River.
The committee felt it would be better to tap the Cauvery as it had better potential in meeting Bangalore’s needs. It also said the Cauvery could be depended upon for further tapping of water as against the limited capacity of the other three rivers. The Government accepted the proposal and on April 1964 granted administrative approval for bringing Cauvery to Bangalore.
This was how the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme (CWSS) commenced and the first stage was estimated to cost Rs.22 crores.
Work on the first stage commenced during 1969 and it was completed in five years. On January 24, 1974, Bangalore received its first drop of Cauvery water.
However, the first stage barely quenched the thirst of Bangaloreans and the Government then along with the BWSSB decided to go in for the second stage to augment water supply. The work on the second stage costed Rs. 65.50 crores and it was taken up and completed during 1979 to 1982.
When even the second stage failed to bridge the growing demand for water, the BWSSB decided to go in for the third stage. Work began in 1985 and it was completed in May 1993. The total cost of the third stage was Rs. 240 crores and it brought in an additional 270 MLD of Cauvery into the City’s taps.
The total water supplied to Bangalore by all the three stages put together was 540 MLD but this too proved inadequate, forcing the BWSSB to go in for another stage to get more water.
Bringing Cauvery to Bangalore from the source at TK Halli in Kanakapura is an expensive proposition. The distance is about 100 kilometres and the Cauvery has to be pumped over a gradient in three stages of 500 feet each. The cost of pumping so much is about Rs. 400 crores, which forms a substantial chunk of the water board’s finances.
Today, the State cannot draw any more water from the Cauvery to supply water to Bangalore, It has to look at alternatives and there are plenty. Apart from tapping fresh sources, water conservation techniques such as rain water harvesting, recharging ground water, recycling waste water, segregating water for domestic and non-domestic uses, plugging leakages, modernizing the water supply and drainage system would go a long way in ensuring better water supply.   


  1. Very informative blog about Bangalore. I came across your blog when I was searching for information about Turahalli forest. Incidentally we had an afforestation drive on 7th July 13 (Sunday) in Turahalligudda, RRNagar a state reserve forest in cordination with the Forest department ... and I was looking for history of this place for writing about it & about our afforestation effort in my blog .

    I will be visiting your blog often to learn more about Bangalore.


  2. Thank you, We are happy that the blog had information that is useful to you. Please feel free to visit anytime you want.