For the past several months, Belagavi is facing severe water scarcity, though we have had enough and more rainfall, even till December 2022. The corporation’s filtered water comes once in 7 – 10 days and citizens are compelled to store it in pitchers and cans. In areas where this is the only source of water, things are turning critical.
Tankers have become ubiquitous, something we should not feel good about. Belagavi was known for its cool climes, sweet water, and tasty vegetables. Cool climes we still experience, but the water, though sweet, is becoming scarce.
· Belagavi had always had a dense network of wells, with water striking at anywhere between 25 to 60 feet. In rocky areas, borewells were the only option but those too gave good results. However, one can spot several buildings in areas like Shahapur, Vadgaon, and Tilakwadi opting to buy a tanker of water because the well water is just not enough anymore. Surprisingly, many wells in Tilakwadi and Shahapur areas have gone so deep that the water pumps have come above the water levels forcing the residents to either de-silt the well or lower the pump.
Experts say that the spurt in construction activity in the suburbs could be the reason for the lowering of the groundwater table. They also raise the issue of not allowing construction projects to use groundwater at all. One can spot 3 to 5 construction projects going on in any street in the suburbs, each drawing thousands of liters of precious groundwater, drying up the wells in the vicinity.
The pre-monsoon showers have eluded the city this year. A couple of heavy showers always replenished the wells to some extent. With the weather getting chilly in the evenings and Meteorological reports suggesting yet another year of the La Nina impact, it could be possible that rains would be delayed or less than average this year. More reason to use water judiciously.
Another reason is the scarcity of corporation water. Many houses and residential complexes would store corporation water which would last at least 2 days. This was viable when they got tap water once every third day or so. Now with tap water coming once in 7 to 10 days, these buildings have to rely solely on well / bore well water.
· Belagavi had plenty of open spaces, plots, gardens, and even fields bang in the middle of the city. Today you would have to struggle to find open areas. This means open spaces where rainwater could percolate into the ground have drastically reduced. All storm-water drains simply dump the water into the bigger nallahs and the same goes into the rivers and tributaries.
Think about solutions
· For years, it has been urged to de-silt the Rakaskop reservoir and make space for more water to be stored during the monsoons. The Belagavi population has grown so much that just Rakaskop will not suffice. The Hidkal dam waters do not reach all parts of the city for some reason
· As reported earlier in Allaboutbelgaum, a network of connected wells in the city can solve the city’s water problem to a great extent.
· All buildings must make it a point to harvest rainwater, reuse the water from kitchens and bathrooms as much as possible and dig percolation pits in the vicinity.
· We all see around us people using hose pipes for washing cars and two-wheelers, to clean their driveways using high-pressure pumps, gardening, and fountains in their gardens and in private swimming pools. If you see any building with overflowing overhead tanks, immediately call the watchman or owner and ask them to shut the motor and set up an automated switch. In view of the current scenario, this amounts to criminal use of water. Request them to avoid such usage, or simply report with a photo to Mandar Kolhapure’s Stop the Drop campaign.
· Avoid showers and use buckets instead for bathing
Never feel entitled to natural resources; they are for everyone and not just one person. Think about people who struggle to get a pot of water to even drink. The world has woken up to water problems and they say it could be the reason for wars in the future. That problem of the world has now come to our doorstep. Let us try and keep it away.