Bangalore, officially called Bengaluru, is one of India’s fastest-growing cities.
This city was once known as India’s garden city and was built among a scattering of lakes that made for a very lush and fertile environment.
However, with the economic boom that brought many of the city’s estimated 10 million inhabitants came a desperate need for housing.
Because the city expanded so quickly, many lakes were concreted over to build housing. The few left, like Lake Bellandur, are so polluted with toxic waste that they have begun to catch fire. Bellandur itself burned for 30 hours last year.
The Straits Times article, “India’s Silicon Valley faces man-made water crisis“, reports that every day many citizens of Bengaluru line up to collect their share of the water that arrives on tankers shipped straight from giant borewells. These borewells have caused a severe decline in groundwater levels.
This solution was implemented when the city began growing faster than the main infrastructure could keep up with, and many people could not get water without it.
This heavy dependence on tanker water has sparked many predictions that Bangalore could soon be the first Indian city to run itself dry.
According to the article:
“The city is dying,” says T.V. Ramachandra, an ecologist with the Indian Institute of Science who has predicted the Karnataka state capital could be the first Indian city to follow Cape Town in the running out of water.
“If the current trend of growth and urbanisation is allowed (to continue), by 2020, 94 per cent of the landscape will be concretised.”…
Most of the city’s municipal water is supplied by the Cauvery river, whose waters flow through Karnataka and neighbouring Tamil Nadu state before emptying into the Bay of Bengal and have been bitterly disputed for more than a century.”
There is, however, a ray of hope for the bustling Indian metropolis.
The article notes that the city has enough annual rainfall to provide water for its estimated 10 million residents without relying on borewells or rivers – if only the city and its residents find a way to capture and store the water.
A.R. Shivakumar, a senior scientist with the Karnataka State Council of Science and Technology, lived in the city and his family for 23 years but hasn’t used a single drop of piped water.
Instead, his household depended entirely on rainwater collected through gutters which they stored in large tanks under their house.
Shivakumar’s rain harvesting solution that he set up around the city has been a hit, prompting city officials to require all new housing developments to have the system.
“This crisis will force everyone to take measures like rainwater harvesting and water conservation measures,” Shivakumar says.
With the predictably heavy monsoon season every year – this stormwater collection approach could save the city from finding itself at ‘Day Zero” and a possible solution that Bangalore infrastructure asset management professionals could consider.