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In the wake of Cauvery Issue, Bengaluru wastes 50 Percent of water it gets from the river

Over the next nine years, the city's water demand is predicted to be three times more than supply

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Migrant workers in Mysore. Flickr

KARNATAKA, September 16, 2016: As Karnataka continues its legal battle over the Cauvery, the state’s capital- almost entirely dependent on the river- wastes half the water it receives, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of water-use data.

The only Indian city that wastes water at a greater rate is Kolkata. And the situation in Bengaluru will only worsen.

Every Bangalorean- 8.5 million people live in India’s third-most populous city- should get 150 litres of water per day. But what she gets is 65 litres, the equivalent of four flushes of a toilet. Water is supplied, on average, thrice a week.

Over the next nine years, the city’s water demand is predicted to be three times more than supply.

Its population density 13 times higher than Karnataka’s average, Bengaluru consumes 50 percent of Cauvery water reserved for domestic use in Karnataka. As much as 49 per cent of this water supplied is what is called “non-revenue water” or “unaccounted for water” — i.e., water lost in distribution — according to the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) data.

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“Inequitable supply to different parts of the city — ranging from one-third to three times the average per capita daily supply — makes this worse,” Krishna Raj, associate professor at the Institute for Social and Economic Change (ISEC), Bengaluru, and author of a 2013 paper on the city’s water supply system, told IndiaSpend.

Bengaluru’s water loss is the second-highest among Indian metros: Kolkata leads at 50 per cent. The wastage figure for Mumbai is 18 percent, New Delhi, 26 per cent and Chennai, 20 per cent. Across the world, cities lose only about 15 to 20 percent of their supply, said the ISEC study, which pegged Bengaluru’s losses at 48 percent three years ago.

Former BWSSB chairman, T.M. Vijay Bhaskar, admitted to a loss of about 46 percent water at a conference in February 2016. “Of 1,400 MLD (million litres per day) of water pumped to the city, 600 MLD goes to waste,” he said.

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The ISEC paper attributed the wastage to two types of distributional losses: First, damages, and leakages in the water supply system and, second, unauthorised water connections.

“Water leakages largely take place at distribution mains, service pipes and stand posts and together account for 88.5 percent of water spillover, the rest being low leakages at the main valve, meter joint stop valve, ferrule, air valve and others,” the paper said. “This huge loss is directly attributed to the water seepage at various stages of supply.”

Of the 270 thousand million cubic ft (TMC) of Cauvery water allotted to Karnataka by the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, Raj estimated that, roughly, about 80 percent is used for agriculture and industry (down from over 90 percent in 2007). This leaves about 20 percent for rural and urban domestic use, of which Bengaluru records the highest demand.

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The city receives about 19 TMC of Cauvery water. Recently, the Karnataka State Urban Development Department provisionally raised supply by an additional 10 TMC to meet the needs of 110 villages added to the metropolitan area in 2007. A formal proposal to raise the city’s water supply to 30 TMC from the Cauvery basin has been forwarded to the central government.

Sourced from a distance of 100 km, up to a height of 540 m, the BWSSB spends nearly 60 percent of its budget in pumping water to the Bengaluru metropolitan region. With groundwater reserves overexploited and polluted, and its other two ageing reservoirs — the 120-year-old Heseraghatta and 83-year-old Thippegondanahalli of Cauvery’s Arkavathi tributary — unreliable, Bengaluru is almost entirely dependent on the disputed river.

The large water losses, which ISEC has recorded for the last five years at least, offset any efforts to augment water supply through various stages of Cauvery river water supply projects. Thus, efforts to enhance per capita water availability to 150 litres per capita per day (LPCD) to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) and Central Public Health and Environmental Organisation (CPEEHO) standards remain unfulfilled.

“After Stage IV Phase II of the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme (CWSS) was commissioned recently, Bengaluru now receives 1,350 MLD of water daily,” said Raj. “For the city’s population of 8.5 million (Census 2011), this quantity officially raises per capita water availability to 158.82 litres, which is more than sufficient to meet the WHO and CPEEHO standards.” (IANS)

  • Manthra koliyer

    The cauvery issue has seriously caused lots of troubles.

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New Strain of Plastic-Eating Bacteria Found

German Scientists Identify New Strain of Plastic-eating Bacteria

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Plastic
Plastic and other garbage floats in a collector of a new device that uses a curtain of tiny air bubbles to catch plastic floating in the capital's canals is seen in Amsterdam, Netherlands. VOA

By Zlatica Hoke

German scientists say they have identified a strain of bacteria that is feeding on polyurethanes, a plastic resistant to biodegradation. This is an environment news.

A team of researchers at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany, has found that a strain of soil bacterium, identified as Pseudomonas putida, can produce enzymes to digest polyurethanes thus making it biodegradable.

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The German team says the bacterium found in the soil surrounding a heap of polyurethane waste was feeding on polyurethane diol, which is used in plastic as a component that protects products from corrosion.

Plastic
A worker sorts through recycling bins at a centre that offers residents money in exchange of their recyclable garbage in an attempt to keep the streets clean in Cairo, Egypt. VOA

Hermann Heipieper, one of the researchers and author of the study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology, said “this finding represents an important step in being able to reuse hard-to-recycle (polyurethane) products.”

The study offers hope of ridding the planet of the growing quantities of discarded plastics’ products that threaten human and animal life. But some scientists are skeptical.

In earlier experiments, biodegradation of some plastics components was achieved with fungi. Yale University students in 2011 discovered a fungus that can digest and break down polyurethane plastic even in a place without air – like the bottom of a landfill. Since then scientists around the world have identified other fungal species that can breakdown polyurethane. In 2017, a team of scientists identified another fungus that can feed on plastic by breaking down chemicals that hold it together.

These studies also raised concerns about the ability of micro-organisms to invade and corrupt a dead and therefore sterile substance like plastic. Research on coral reefs has shown that floating plastics carry disease-causing microbes that infect the coral.

The Leipzig study says bacteria are much easier to control and produce for industrial use. Its authors say the next step is to identify the gene code of the enzymes produced by the bacteria to digest polyurethane.

Some scientists are arguing against introducing man-made enzymes or potentially dangerous micro-organisms into the natural environment.

Two years ago, scientist Douglas Rader wrote in an op-ed for the Environmental Defense Fund that “There is so much more we need to understand about the complex relationships between plastics and marine ecosystems before we can take drastic action such as spraying the ocean with so-called plastic-eating bacteria.”

Plastic
Workers load collected plastic bottles on to a truck at a junk shop in Manila. VOA

Despite new findings, science is nowhere near solving the growing plastics pollution problem. Humankind has manufactured and discarded so much plastics over the years that the world is getting short of places to dump the enormous quantities accumulated every day. Refusal by many developing countries to accept plastic waste from rich nations has exacerbated the problem.

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Some countries are cutting down on the use of plastics bags, drinking straws, bottles and utensils. Scientists keep coming up with new biodegradable products to replace plastic, such as wrapping materials made from algae, straws made of paper and disposable utensils made of bamboo, but the movement could be described as “too little too late.” Recycling the plastics to make building materials, fabrics, and other new plastic products cannot even make a dent in the growing amounts of plastics waste.

Also Read- India’s Lockdown Disrupts Functioning of Amazon and Flipkart

Plastic remains the most practical packaging material and is indispensable in medical, pharmaceutical, sanitary and many other industries. Some new biodegradable, but equally useful material, has yet to be developed.

Meanwhile scientists estimate that about 8 million pieces of plastics enter the oceans every day. For some of them it will take hundreds of years to properly degrade if they are not first swallowed by fish and other marine creatures that will die from it. (VOA)