Sunday, March 2, 2008

A million litres of water daily to airport The Hindu : Front Page

The Hindu : Front Page : A million litres of water daily to airport: "While a cloud of uncertainty hangs over several issues concerning the international airport at Devanahalli — road connectivity and the date of the airport’s opening, for example — there is one critical requirement that appears to be on track: round-the-clock potable water supply.

Transporting water 22 km away is no mean feat and the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is confident of achieving that. The board is due to sign an agreement with Bangalore International Airport Ltd., to provide one million litres of potable water to the airport every day when it starts functioning.

Although this falls sorely short of nine million litres that the BIAL asked for three years ago, it is nevertheless a major commitment for a public utility that must first serve the water needs of Bangalore’s residents.

Thus, the water supply to the airport, which is located in Bangalore Rural district, will be contingent on whether the board receives adequate water from its river source. “In case we cannot pump water from Cauvery for some reason, then we will not be able to provide water to the airport.

There is no penalty for this in the agreement,” Latha Krishna Rao, BWSSB chairperson, told The Hindu.

All agreements that the BWSSB enters into with industries are subject to water availability and pressure. “We will not make an exception in the case of BIAL,” Ms. Rao said.

For the BIAL, water from BWSSB is critical as there is a blanket ban that the Mines and Geology Department has imposed in the area on drilling borewells for groundwater.

“As the groundwater in the area has been classified as overexploited, no borewells can be drilled for any purpose, be it industrial or agricultural,” said N. Chandranna, senior geologist at the Mines and Geology Department.

The water is crucial in that it can service the hotels and other passenger facilities on the BIAL campus.

Hotels outside the campus are facing problems with regular water supply as the area falls outside the jurisdiction of the BWSSB. For every kilolitre the BWSSB provides, it will charge the BIAL Rs. 66, which is 10 per cent more than the commercial rates.

This is in addition to the Rs. 1,20,000 that the BIAL will have to pay the water board every month as infrastructure maintenance charge.

While insisting that water supply to BIAL will not affect supply to the northern or western parts of Bangalore, Ms. Rao said water would be supplied to BIAL from the 100 million litres of additional water that is being drawn from the Cauvery to cater to the 72 newly added wards in the city.

The water is being supplied through a 22-km pipeline that the BWSSB laid from Hegganahalli near Nagarbhavi to the airport campus.

The water will have to be additionally pumped at Hegganahalli and from the reservoir on the University of Agricultural Sciences campus. "

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