B'lore water board to identify unauthorised borewells

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Bangalore, March 29: The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has planned to launch an drive to identify unregistered borewells by visiting individual houses. The BWSSB will take this move to check unauthorized drilling of borewells in the city to deal with acute water crisis.

Bangalore is suffering from acute water shortage and diminishing groundwater levels. The state government had made it mandatory a few months ago that people digging wells or borewells in the city and 11 other districts of the state must have the authorization. The directive applies to Bangalore east, north and southern areas and 32 talukas spread across 11 districts. The government warned that the owners of illegal wells and borewells in these areas would be penalized by means of disconnecting their electricity supply.

The new rule also makes its compulsory for the existing borewell owners as well as those drilling new borewells or open walls for domestic and commercial purposes, to pay a fee and register names. Failure to comply with the norms can attract a fine of Rs 10,000 or even imprisonment upto three years.

Not many are, however, aware of the rule. An official said the government did not do enough to publicise the rule and now plan is underway to send officials to visit each household to educate people about the law. Officials also said that there is a lack of awareness among residents a only 100 households from the city have registered so far.

The government notification of December 3, 2012, made borewell registration mandatory under the Karnataka Groundwater (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act, 2011. The existing borewell-owners have been given time till March 31 to register.

Nearly 4,000 of the 13,000 borewells that have been drilled by the BWSSB in Bangalore city have gone dry, said BWSSB sources. Over 300 borewells run dry every month in the state capital.

A study conducted by the department of mines and geology has said that nearly 2.5 million people in Bangalore will face severe water shortage in the near future.

The total water supply to Bangalore from the Cauvery river and groundwater sources is 1,023 mld (million litres per day), which is much less than the amount required for the increasing population.

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