BWSSB trying to register all the borewells in Bangalore

BWSSB is getting people to register their borewells in March. Will this effort to monitor groundwater exploitation succeed before the aquifers runs dry?

With buildings trying to reach out to the sky, borewells reach down the other extreme. BWSSB is now trying to enforce the groundwater rules that came into force late last year. The Karnataka Groundwater Act, 2011 to track ground water exploitation calls for declaration of existing borewells/tubewells and mandates registration prior to digging any new borewells.

File pic

All commercial borewell drillers need to register themselves with BWSSB and proceed with drilling work after getting a consent letter from BWSSB. “Anybody digging borewells without prior permission from BWSSB will be subject to legal proceedings,” says Engineer-in-Chief BWSSB Venkata Raju.

“If people do not register and if it is found that they have an existing borewell then we have the authority to cut their power connection”.

While the above rule is valid for commercial borewells and drilling companies, domestic borewell users will also be notified. S Narahari, Executive engineer, BWSSB, says there will be a drive from March (the coming meter reading cycle) when water bill readers will distribute forms to people that notify them to register their borewells with BWSSB. He adds, “If people do not register and if it is found that they have an existing borewell then we have the authority to cut their power connection”.

How many borewells in Bangalore?

Narahari says that BWSSB has been updating their database on the number of borewells/open wells that exist in the city, around 1.75 lakhs. The investigation is based on the assumption that low meter readings of Cauvery water usage implies that a borewell exists on the property and additional verification. This information gathering started nearly six years ago, he adds.

According to data collated by S Vishwanath of Rainwater club and Arghyam, sourced from BWSSB (See Bangalore borewell data: Src:Praja) – “one out of every four houses in South Bangalore has a borewell plus a BWSSB connection and one out of every five houses in Bangalore has a borewell connection along with BWSSB connection”. This implies 1.05 lakhs, as of 2010. The study finds: This roughly translates to approximately 320 bore wells in every 1 sq km, in BWSSB serviced area. Approximately 40 new borewells are drilled every day in these areas.

Increase in borewell numbers over the years. Source: Bangalore borewell data report, Praja

Bangalore Urban Metabolism Project (BUMP) is a joint initiative of the Stockholm Environment Institute and the Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. It looks at a systems understanding of problems related to urban sustainability.

BUMP tracked borewell data and its graph shows more than 8000 borewells that exist in subdivision that covers Basavanagudi and Chamrajpet areas. You could find out how many borewells were there in your ward here. The data was collected from BWSSB by Rimi Goswami, Phd student at IIMB working under the guidance of Deepak Malghan, Professor, IIM,Bangalore in 2009-11.

The BUMP project shows the borewell density in each subdivisions. The inset graph shows the growth within a subdivision. You can see the tool here.

Registrations – a drop in the ocean

The Karnataka government issued the notification making registration of existing borewells and application for any new borewell (domestic and otherwise) mandatory on December 3, 2012. The data on domestic borewell registration applications received so far do not look promising.

BWSSB now has a record of about 135 borewells out of the estimated 1.75 lakh borewells in the city. Given the time limit of 120 days (from the date of notification) for registration, there is just another month to complete registration processes.

Most applications seeking permission and registration have come from South East division of Bangalore. About 30 existing borewells have been registered and 53 applications for new borewells received as of Feb 2013. The North East division of Bangalore has 27 existing borewells registered and 24 applications for permitting new borewells to be dug.

BWSSB will not permit a second borewell in any residential property. What if the first borewell has run dry? Narahari says BWSSB hasn’t come to a decision yet.

Registration Process

BWSSB say they will notify everybody in the next water meter reading cycle through their personnel, but you could go ahead start registering your borewell

The applications forms are available online here. Applicants will be charged Rs. 50 (drinking/agricultural) and Rs. 500 (commercial/ industrial) as ‘survey charges’ for new borewells and ‘registration fee’ for existing borewell. The registration charges are Rs. 5000 for drilling agencies.

New borewell applications ask for information like purpose of the new borewell and if there is an existing borewell. Existing borewell applications call for a more detailed description on the ‘type’ of borewell and ‘type and capacity’ of the pump in use. This information is tagged along with your BESCOM RR Number.

How to apply for a new borewell

Chief Engineer Venkata Raju clarifies the application procedure for new borewells as involving two steps. First you have to get permission from BWSSB for digging a borewell and present it to the commercial driller who is registered – make sure you ensure that he is a registered borewell driller with the Karnataka Mines and Geology Department.



Registration of existing users in the notified areas.- (1) Every existing user of groundwater in the notified area shall within a period of one hundred twenty days from the date of declaration as notified area by the Government shall apply to the authority for grant of a certificate of a registration recognizing its existing use in such form and in such manner as may be prescribed.

Then if the borewell drilling is successful, you are supposed to register your borewell with BWSSB. “We can only trust people to come forward to register their new borewells and existing borewell. We will not be tracking them proactively.” he says.

Discussion amongst the Karnataka Ground Water authority committee chaired by the Director of Mines and Geology is underway about the steps to be taken against those who do not register their borewells. Venkata Raju said they should have some enforcement rules by end of March 2013.

Narahari says that the authority to register drilling agencies has now been transferred to Karnataka Mines and Geology department because they are better equipped to make the required checks while registering commercial drillers and the drilling equipment.

Why this process

The Act tries to ensure that drilling is not against public interest, permission will be granted, only after providing for artificial recharge structures. The onus to build recharge structures is on the applicant within the period specified by BWSSB.

BWSSB needs to track groundwater dynamics with the quantity and quality of water being drawn. They also need to check for availability and conservation of groundwater resources.

Is BWSSB really checking prior to granting permission as per the Act? Raju says, the priority as of now is to get people to come forward and register their borewells, the required checks can happen later, he feels.


  1. S.Ramanujam says:

    BWSSB should take over the Commercial Borewells by paying compensation and monitor services from BWSSB directly. Secondly, the residential borewells can be allowed areawise rating subject to monthly payment of bill for which a tariff has to be worked out. and they should not be given BWSSB water conncections.

  2. v s ramamurthy says:

    Since many years BWSSB is collecting Rs.50 as sc for borewell for domestic use.It means such borewells are already registered in the documents of BWSSB What is the necessity for such borewell owners to register again? What is the procedure for dried out borewells?

  3. Harish says:

    I dont understand what is the logic behind, WE at Gottigere on Banerughatta road, dont have Public water from last 1.5 years, this is the fastest growing housing areas, with many apartment complexes coming up, I am not sure why BBMP can give permission for new apartments when they dont provide water, neither they have any plan as of now to provide water in near future, in last one year nearly 300 bore wells were drilled Gottigere in just 1 square KMS area, most of 80% bores dried up again, when the hell they will provide solution for these people ,, the area has added 4 times the population in 3 years!!!!! the Govt is busy in power struggle….

  4. Rohan M says:

    Apartments on my lane have not had public water supply for the last 6 years. Most have 3-4 borewells. Yet most apartments depend on water tanker supply for 90% of the needs. Money has been spent to upgrade sewage treatment plants to recycle as much water as possible. Water suppliers are running a monopoly where no new suppliers are allowed. Prices are being fixed in a random fashion where apartments end up paying much higher than stand alone houses. On top of all this the BWSSB has come out with the mandatory registration of borewells. On approaching the BWSSB office nearby, they officials said they are unaware of such a drive and do not have any forms for collecting our data. As usual, the consumer is at the receiving end.

  5. D K Pathak says:

    This is another hi handed approach from BWSSB. No body ever gives a thought to ensure water supply before sanctioning the high density residential complexes in given location.People have made their arrangements through borewells but most of them are dried up. In Bellandur area our 99% needs are met by private water suppliers who charge exorbitantly for this service.A very simple solution to keep the ground water charged is to rejuvenate all lakes in the city and increase their rain water storage capacity by making them deep and not letting city sever-age in to them.Expenses to do this will be much less than any piping supply system.

  6. Balappa Muniraj says:

    Near my residence,one person has dug a commercial bore well and supply 30 40 tankers of water daily,it starts early morning at 5.30 am and goes on till late night 11.30 pm,due to this continuous movement of tankers,we have been very badly facing lot of hardships like,continuous vehicle sound,dust on the road,cemented road has developed cracks,childern cannot move on the roads,most of us are having throat problems,our house if full of dust,Any help for us ?

  7. Ramesh says:

    We live in North Bangalore where almost a 100 borewells are dug on an averege per day. I was living in USA for about 10 years and returned to bangalore and I now realise what a big mistake I have done. I am trying to go back at the earliest. Actually Bangalore is all good but there is nothing called governance or law and order. I actually tried building a house here since my friend told it was a nice place. but I have been through hell. We have to bribe all the Govt officials here. The bulders are your boss and you are at their mercy. The association here is run by some self interest people who do not pay association fees but demand it from others. They have got borewells and they do not have rain water harvesting. They ask others to do rainwater harvesting but do not do it for themselves and they have bores and no Govt agency bothers to question them. There is no able person who can control this. All govt bodies are just fake none of them are effective. I guess it will just collapse because of its own sheer weight.

  8. Anthony Lobo says:

    Taking it seriously I made the payment of Rs 50 at Canara Bank Bagalagunte branch, and with the paid up receipt went to BBMP office to register. Unfortunately no body knows anything about it there and they directed me to BWSSB office. There also the concerned person does not know how to go about and asked me to go to Malleswaram. By the time a day was lost and I have to find one more day to go to Malleswaram.
    I have a Borewell rarely used, but want to keep connection in case of emergency.


    I am staying in 5th Main HBR I stage. We are not getting corporation water since last 3 years. We have made several complaints and met the officers many time but all went on vain. We mainly depends on our borewell water. Is there is any kind of use in registering the borewell or is it a tricky game by the authority

  10. manjunatha says:

    What about the people living without BWSSB supplied water?
    those who depend completely on ground water?
    First thing BWSSB should do is to check the quality of ground water in and around the city and inform people whether to use it or not. Many citizens staying in outskirts don’t have sanitary facility and they depend on Pits and most of the borewells not far away from these pits. think about them.

  11. a p suresh babu says:

    There is nothing wrong in making registration mandatory for new borewell connections. But for existing users(I mean domestic), BWSSB charges Rs 50/- per month. They started charging Rs 50/-PM only after verifying that the property has a borewll. This makes them automatically registered. Why then, existing users are asked to register again. This means, BWSSB, do not have proper arrangement to monitor the data. It is imperative for them to rethink on this issue.

  12. SUKUMARAN. V says:

    good site

  13. krishnakumar kuppusamy says:

    Is it right to allow the commercially selling of water from resedential areas?
    If the under water supply is good, they sell to tankers round the clock.
    Advantage? The dry neighbouring areas of houses & flats get fasster supply of water.
    Disadvantage? The entire area is sucked till they become complete dry like a desert and every house in the viccinity is forced to depend on commercial water supply cartel.
    What is the solution? Is there no control over commercial water sellers from resedential areas?

  14. S.Gunashekaran says:

    sir,we have a cauvery water connection since 2006,in the beginning we were getting the very little water ,after some time that also is not coming we are run to bwssb board,Koramangala,Bangalore several times & request for water supply
    they are telling so many reasons which we are able to understand the,hence we are request you to help us in this matter & solve water problem in our street, Address is # 14,15,16,4th cross 100 feet Ring Road, Srinivagilu,Viveka nagar Post,Bangalore-560047.

  15. Vilaisni says:

    Can anyone please tell from when they started charging for borewell because I got my BWSSB bill after 15months of my house construction and they charged this from day one(2012).

  16. shubha says:

    Need help in differentiating the commercial and domestic bore-wells. Am a resident of JP nagar I phase. The problem is some people have been using the bore well at home to fill the tankers used for supplying water commercially. This dries up the ground water in the adjacent bore-wells also. How to go about this? Are there any norms differentiating the commercial from the domestic borewell?

  17. subramanya says:

    With whom to register the existing Borewell where there is no water supply from Bwssb or CMC?

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