Bengaluru: The city celebrated on Friday as the Supreme Court not only gave Karnataka an additional 14.75 tmc from the Cauvery river but also increased Bengaluru’ share by 4.75 tmc to meet its drinking water needs. The city, which draws 19 tmc of water from the river, will on completion of the Cauvery 5th Stage in 2023, be able able to draw another 10 tmc for its drinking water needs. The additional water allocated by the Supreme Court on Friday is a bonus.
Responding to the verdict BWSSB chief engineer, Kemparamaiah, explained it was left to the state to decided how much of the additional 14.75 tmc allocated to it by the court, should go to the city. "We welcome the Supreme Court judgement as it has considered the drinking water needs of the city. After both Thippagondanahalli and Hesaraghatta failed to meet the needs of Bengaluru’s growing population , the Cauvery 1st Stage was inaugurated in 1972 and every decade has seen the commissioning of the next stage of the project. The last was Cauvery 4th stage, phase 2 in 2012. And By 2023, when Cauvery 5th stage will be completed , the city will be able to draw 29 tmc from the Cauvery,” he added.
Water expert, S Vishwanath observed that with the court increasing the state’s share by 14.75 tmc, Karnataka would now be able to draw 284.75 tmc from Cauvery every year. “And of the 14.75 tmc it can internally decide however much to give Bengaluru," he agreed.
“The court has taken into consideration the exhaustive study done by the Cauvery Water Tribunal. And now both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, instead of boasting about who has won or lost, should work together to reviving the Cauvery,” he stressed.
In his view, a River Basin Institution must be set up for each Cauvery tributary and to monitor its fast shrinking catchment area. “The government should avoid construction of roads or rail networks in the catchment area and rebuild it by planting saplings," he suggested, pointing out that the Cauvery was listed as one of the most polluted rivers in the country due to the discharge of industrial pollutants into it and the quarrying and sand mining rampant around it.
“On the agriculture front, farmers must be educated to avoid water guzzling crops like sugarcane and shift to others,” Mr Vishwanath underlined.
‘SC verdict is'
Managing Trustee & CEO, B.PAC
The B.PAC, which had petitioned the Supreme Court on how drinking water is a fundamental right, welcomes the Supreme Court judgment where Karnataka is getting an additional 14.75 TMCft of water. The verdict is an extremely positive one for Bengaluru as the SC has specifically allocated 4.75 tmcft for “drinking and domestic purposes including such needs for the whole city of Bengaluru”. This judgment will set a key precedent for inter-state water sharing disputes in future.
‘No major problems for city in next 10-20 years’
Captain Raja Rao former irrigation secretary,
The Cauvery verdict is good for the city as the Supreme Court has taken into consideration the 20 tmc of groundwater used by Tamil Nadu and awarded 14.75 tmc more to Karnataka. Now Bengaluru gets an additional 4.75 tmc of water.
The city and the rest of the state will have to make do with this allocation for the next 15 years and then explain to the court about the prevailing conditions when the time comes to place their fresh demands.
With the Yettinahole project another 2.5 TMC of water will be pumped to Hesaraghatta for supply to the city for meeting the people’s drinking water needs. So we don’t see any major problem for Bengaluru for the next 10 to 20 years. But that doesn't mean the officials can sit back and relax . They need to work on recharging the groundwater and recycling waste water. There is lot we can do with rain water harvesting and to recharge the falling groundwater levels of the city. It has to become a mass programme with installation of rain water harvesting structures in every park, playground, empty site, and road junction.
And to do away with the stigma attached to use of treated sewage water, right from the Chief Minister to the MLAs should make use of it. Celebrities too should be roped in to dispel the myth....