citizens pay water rent by the hour in dry zones

BANGALORE: After house rent, it's now water rent. That's what desperate residents of Rajagopalnagar, Peenya second stage, pay their more fortunate neighbours to access drinking water.

"Our borewell dried up five years ago and we don't get Cauvery water supply on this street. The house beside mine has a borewell which still yields good quantities of water. So we have a mutual agreement - we pay the owner Rs 150 per hour as rent to get drinking water from their well," said Choodamani Chikkegowda, homemaker and resident of 6th main Rajagopalnagar.

This is nothing new here. A helpless Choodamani has been paying her neighbour for drinking water for about a year now. The house, which is not occupied by the owner, has been put to commercial use. The tenant, a hardware shop operator, refused to speak to TOI.

The whole street depends on this borewell for drinking water. Another resident of the same area, Chandramma R pays Rs 2 per pot of drinking water from private tankers, apart from the rental she pays the neighbour for non-potable water. "I've lived here for 25 years, expecting that some day I'd get a water connection. But I fell prey to false promises during elections all this time. I spend around Rs 300 on water tankers and Rs 2 per pot of drinking water from select tankers, apart from the water we get from the house with the borewell," she said.

Peenya and Dasarahalli are known to be dry zones in the city and most borewells have either dried up or yield very little water. While some residents started getting water supply from BWSSB recently, others are paying water rent; this is illegal, but who cares.


Regular water supply is still a dream in some interior places in Mahadevapura too. Parvathamma S, a shopkeeper and resident of Mahadevapura told TOI, "We've received no Cauvery water for the past year. The only water we get is from the government borewell, that too once a week. This water is not potable so we're forced to buy water cans. No tanker has come here for almost eight months now." She earns Rs 300 a day and spends Rs 1,200 a month on water cans of 20-litre capacity. "The only thing I can start doing is to drink less water during the monsoons to save," she adds.

BWSSB is perhaps clueless about how citizens have adjusted to this water-scarce situation but the pictures are scary. Even in core areas of KR Puram, Marathahalli, Bellandur, Electronic City, Ramamurthynagar, HRBR Layout, Mahalakshmi Layout, Magadi and Rajarajeswarinagar, residents are spending thousands of rupees on private water tankers, and their only question is 'for how long?'

"Vijaynagar now forms a core area of the city but why is there such civic callousness?" questioned Anand Ram, a resident. "Private tankers are the only easy way to get water anytime we want. The cost of tanker water is also going up but if there's no water in the underground table or KRS dam, how long can we depend on tankers?" is homemaker Parvathamma M's worry. She lives in Binny Layout, west Bangalore.

On an average, water tankers with a capacity of 6,500 litres cost Rs 400-500 a week for a single household of four to five members. However, during the summer, tanker rates go up to about Rs 1,000 a week.

Source - Times Of India (TOI).