Webinar: Bengaluru’s wastewater is polluting the Cauvery; users too must pay true cost of water

Bengaluru's untreated wastewater eventually enters the Cauvery river, which then reaches the city right back through its water supply network. A webinar looked at the problem and possible solutions.

Bengaluru city makes up only 6% of the Arkavathy river basin area, but is a major contributor to the river’s pollution. Similar is the case with Vrushabhavathi river. Wastewater from industrial areas like Peenya, along with domestic sewage, is choking these rivers.

Downstream, these rivers join the Cauvery, from which water is pumped up to meet the city’s needs. This effectively means that the wastewater dumped by the city comes right back to it. This was illustrated in a presentation made by Nirmala Gowda, co-founder of the paani.earth website that maps the rivers of Karnataka.

Nirmala was speaking at a webinar organised by Citizen Matters in collaboration with the Bangalore International Centre on April 29th.

Read more: In pictures: Where the Vrushabhavathy meets the Arkavathy

In addition to being polluted, the rivers around Bengaluru are also drying up. The government is building more dams despite this, said Nirmala.

Another panelist S Vishwanath, a civil engineer and urban planner, said Bengaluru has been consuming water from various river sources for over a century, and the demand only keeps growing. Two questions need to be considered, said Vishwanath. One, how much water from the Cauvery should Bengaluru be entitled to, and two, whether Bengalureans are ready to pay the true cost of supplying water to the city (Rs 95 per kilolitre). (For domestic consumers, BWSSB’s current water tariff ranges from Rs 7 to Rs 22 per kl.)

“Unless we pay the true cost of water, things won’t change,” said Vishwanath during the discussion on the issue of poor wastewater management in the city. “BWSSB (Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board) is too cash-strapped to invest in sewage management.”

Read more: Vrishabhavathi, Arkavathi, Cauvery, my mother

When stormwater drains in the city are revived through projects like the K100, all affected residents should be consulted, said Pinky Chandran, founding member of the citizens’ group SWMRT (Solid Waste Management Round Table). Pinky has been mapping the city’s stormwater drain network.

Watch the entire proceedings of the webinar below:

Also read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Study shows TNPCB ill-equipped to monitor the environmental impact of pollution

The scientific team of TNPCB is working at half its strength, affecting the Board's ability to carry out inspections in Chennai and other parts of the State.

The Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards are the primary custodians for preventing and controlling all forms of pollution in our country. Despite their significant role in environmental protection, the public is mostly unaware of the functions of these regulatory bodies, due to insufficient research. Therefore, we at Citizen consumer & civic Action Group (CAG) have attempted to understand the functions of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), through a study titled โ€˜The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in Retrospect: An Examination of Selected Parameters from 2017 to 2022.โ€™ Read more: Fisherfolk lament as environmental…

Similar Story

Why the national programme for clean air failed a gasping Mumbai

Mumbai has seen an alarming decline in air quality. A look at the limited impact of the National Clean Air Programme on mitigating pollution.

October 2023 was a shocker for Mumbai. The coastal city has historically recorded lower AQI levels as compared to Delhi, which is notorious for its poor air quality. But the tables turned in October 2023, with AQI in Mumbai reaching dangerously high levels of up to 300, surpassing Delhi for several days. This led to a slew of respiratory ailments, more so among the vulnerable populations. PM2.5 levels have, in fact, seen a consistent increase in Mumbai over the past three years. Dr Jui Mandke, a paediatric surgeon practising in Mumbai, says, โ€œIn October 2023, we encountered the maximum number…