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World Water Day: Bengaluru may soon run out of water

(G.N.S) DT.22
New Delhi: Bengaluru, India’s tech hub, may soon run out of water like Cape Town in South Africa, a statement from the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Wednesday.
The report came in just a day ahead of World Water Day which is observed on March 22 each year, to highlight the importance of freshwater. It is also used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Cape Town is currently facing a severe water crisis and CSE officials believe that Bengaluru may soon be on the same path.
“Bengaluru is one of the 10 metropolitan cities in the world that are quickly moving towards ‘Day Zero’ (when the cities will completely run out of water),” said the statement quoting a study by the CSE’s “Down To Earth” magazine.
The study mentioned nine other cities that too may face a water shortage soon. The list includes Beijing (China), Mexico City (Mexico), Sanaa (Yemen), Nairobi (Kenya), Istanbul (Turkey), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Karachi (Pakistan), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Kabul (Afghanistan).
While the number of water bodies in Bengaluru has reduced by 79 percent due to unplanned urbanization and encroachment, the built-up area has gone up from 8 percent in 1973 to 77 percent, it stated.
According to the study, the city’s water table went down from 10-12 meters to 76-91 meters in 20 years, while the extraction wells have gone up from 5,000 to 4.5 lakhs in 30 years owing to increasing population.
The more than 10 million population of the city is expected to reach 20.3 million by 2031, growing 3.5 percent annually, the study said.
“Bengaluru uses only half of its treatment capacity to treat waste and a substantial amount (of waste) is dumped into its waterbodies,” it noted.
Cape Town, one of the richest cities in South Africa, has been facing an extreme water shortage since 2017, with a below-average rainfall since 2015 that has dried up the city’s reservoirs.
Experts estimate Cape Town will reach “Day Zero” within a few months, when the city’s taps will go dry, forcing citizens to collect water rations from trucks for daily use.
Bengaluru, too, has been facing water shortage in several of its suburbs with severely polluted lakes.
Bellandur Lake, the largest in the city’s southeast suburb, has seen frothing due to toxic substances flowing into it through an untreated sewage system from chemical factories and housing colonies around it.
The study also found that 200 cities in the world are fast running out of water.
“Thirty-six percent of cities in the world will face water crisis by 2050, with urban water demand expected to go up by 80 percent,” it added.
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