Wednesday 4 September 2013

Ground water in court

The State Government is yet to formulate a policy to tackle contamination of ground water in Bangalore and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and other authorities are yet to put in long term measures and take remedial steps to tackle the issue.
Ground water contamination has for long been the bane of Bangalore and there have been surveys by several agencies, including the State Government itself, the Department of Mines and Geology, BWSSB, CGWB, Bangalore University, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) on ground water, its contamination and depletion.
The issue of contamination of ground water on Monday reached the portals of the Karnataka High Court and the first court (This is so called as it is the court of the Chief Justice) took up the issue.
A Division bench comprising the Chief Justice, D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagaratna, were hearing a suo motu petition on water contamination n Bangalore.
The Bench has ordered the State Government to convene a meeting of officials from civic agencies on the supply of potable water to 110 villages under the jurisdiction of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike.
It has said that the meeting should be chaired by the Principal Secretary, Urban Development Department and that the Commissioner of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) and the Chairman of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) should participate in the meeting.
The Bench asked the Karnataka Ground Water Authority to explore the possibility of treating ground water in 169 borewells, found to be contaminated and recharging the dried up borewells.
Besides, the State Government was directed to submit a report by next date of hearing.
The case is now likely to jog the authorities into taking remedial action. Though the water supply system of Bangalore is more than a hundred years old, problems of supply, contamination, leakage of water, quality continued to dog it.
Bangalore holds the distinction of  getting the country’s first filtered water supply scheme from Hesarghatta which was commissioned during August 1896.
It was also the first city to get piped water supply and also lay and extensive underground drainage network. When Hesarghatta proved inadequate and dried up, the Arkavathy scheme was put in place between 1933, leading to the creation of TG Halli. When this too proved  inadequate, the BWSSB went in for Cauvery water supply and it commissioned Cauvery schemes in Stage – I,II,III and Stage IV Phase I.
The City’s present drinking water supply is just over 860 million liters per day (MLD). Out of the current 860 MLD water supply to the city a lion’s share of 95 per cent is provided by the Cauvery. The BWSSB has 6.23 water supply connections.
Yet, the thirst for water remains. With sources of surface water becoming scare, the only option is ground water but latest reports highlight the deplorable condition of groundwater.
One of the many reports by the Department of Mines and Geology (DMG), Karnataka, reveals the appalling condition of groundwater in Bangalore. The study found that groundwater, which meets more than 40 per cent of the  domestic potable water needs, is rich in iron, nitrate and coliform. It is also rich in Radon and other pollutants.  
Apart from this, there are plenty of other studies and scientific papers that prove that Bangalore’s ground water is highly contaminated. There are studies that talk about depleting ground water levels and others that warn of a serious epidemic if the chemicals and pollutants are not brought under permissible limits.
Moreover, the impact of garbage, debris and landfills around Bangalore on the ground water needs sustained study.
The Environment Support Group has studied the effect of the  landfill at Mavallipura on the ground water.
It says the rainwater dripping into the landfill may contaminate major water sources of the region like the Arkavathy river and Tippagondanahalli reservoir.
 Mavallipura is located in the centre of the catchment area of Arkavathy river which leads to Tippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir.
The contamination of  TG Halli reservoir will impact the city directly as parts of Bangalore such as Rajajinagar still depend on it for drinking water supply. 
As of now, ESG survey shows that residents of Mavallipura and surrounding villages like Mallappanahalli and Kurubarahalli are already affected by the contaminated water. Moreover, many diseases, including malaria and typhoid, are being regularly reported.
By the way, Mavallipura and other villages do not get Cauvery water. They depend on the well and lakes for their purposes. All these water bodies have high level of chemicals. 

Though dumping of waste has stopped, the already contaminated underground water needs to be treated and rejuvenated  The 40-lakh tonne garbage in the landfill needs to be scientifically segregated and disposed off if it is to cause no further harm.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Sir/Madam,

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    Borewells in Hyderabad