Namma Bengaluru is facing its worst ever water crisis, and the BWSSB’s idea to sell treated water from their Sewage Treatment plants is a much-needed and welcome move. Under this scheme, BWSSB is selling about 6000 litres of water (one tanker), for Rs 360, to large apartment complexes, private establishments and IT Parks, to reduce the dependence on Cauvery supply. The million dollar question here: Is BWSSB prepared and committed enough to follow through?
As per available records, there are four sewage treatment plants (STPs) at Cubbon Park, Lalbagh, Vrishabhavathi Valley and Yelahanka. These are capable of treating 21.5MLD out of 75.5 MLD of wastewater. Out of this, BWSSB sells about 10 MLD. BWSSB treats about 1/3 of available waste water and sells less than 50% of this treated amount. No prizes for guessing what happens to the remainder! It’s let out into the same raja kaluve that carries waste water to lakes! About 1,440 MLD of waste water is produced everyday in the city, out of which the BWSSB treats 1,057 MLD. According to experts, none of the existing 24 sewage treatment plants can treat waste water according to the norms prescribed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
It’s very unfortunate that neither the BWSSB nor the state government have considered, over the years, enhancing the capacity and quality of STPs to manage waste water. Due to this apathy and carelessness, Bengaluru has turned into one big septic tank. It’s so sad that even after even after 110 villages have been added to the BBMP limits, these areas lack sewage connections. It is only of late, after the Rs 2,500 crore they received from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), that BWSSSB has started adding sewage networks to these villages. The said work is expected to be completed by March 2021, as per the written statement submitted by BWSSB to the Hon’ble Lokayukta of Karnataka in United Bengaluru’s effort in saving Bengaluru lakes and water bodies.
BWSSB is also constructing 14 new STPs to take care of sewage generated in those areas. These are expected to be completed by 2025, provided there are no accidents or mishaps at the project site. They will be fully functional by 2030. With this, it is very clear that not even God can save Bengaluru before 2030.
The writer is CEO, Namma Bengaluru Foundation...