Friday, March 19, 2010

Lifeline for rivers to solve city water woes

Lifeline for rivers to solve city water woes

Lifeline for rivers to solve city water woes

First Published : 11 Nov 2009 10:34:23 AM IST
Last Updated : 11 Nov 2009 12:50:32 PM IST

BANGALORE: Two high-level committees headed by principal secretaries of the Urban Development and the Forest, Environment and Ecology departments have been formed to revive and maintain the ecological equilibrium of Arkavathi and Kumudvathi rivers. One committee, headed by principal secretary of Urban Development D Thangaraj, is working on enhancing water flow into these rivers by clearing obstacles and the other, headed by principal secretary of Environment and Ecology, Meera Saxena, is trying to make the rivers pollution free.

Nearly 14 departments including BWSSB, Mines and Geology, Revenue, Watershed and Minor Irrigation, and zilla panchayats, deputy commissioners, BESCOM and town planning authorities situated along the courses of the rivers will be involved in reviving them. Therefore, the heads of all these departments have been made the members of the committees.

Till the first Cauvery water supply project was commissioned in 1974, drinking water was pumped into the city from Hesarghatta reservoir and Thippagondanahalli dam (TG Halli dam). Till recently, Arkavathi used to fill around 200 small tanks and the Hesarghatta reservoir before reaching TG Halli dam. Though there has been no major difference in rainfall, according to the meteorological department, neither the tanks nor Hesarghatta reservoir are filling up and water from the catchments beyond the reservoir is not reaching TG Halli dam.

BWSSB has stopped pumping water to the city from Hesarghatta reservoir since 1986 as it is not getting sufficiently filled and it is more than 11 years since the water level in TG Halli dam reached its full capacity. Encroachments, increase in dryness of the top soil due to borewells and many check dams constructed by the watershed department are major causes that impede the water flow in these rivers.

The committees also plan to initiate a process to desilt all tanks in the course of the Arkavathi river. The water that flows to TG Halli dam through Arkavathi is polluted due to the discharge of waste and effluents in the rivers catchment areas. They will also ensure the implementation of pollution control norms and guidelines issued by the government to regulate activities in the catchment of TG Halli dam in a notification in 2003. BWSSB chairman PB Ramamurthy said, “We are exploring every means to increase the water flow in these rivers and thereby maintain the ecological equilibrium in the region. If the Hesarghatta reservoir too gets some water, as expected, it will help us meet the ever increasing drinking water needs of the city.’’


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