The treated waste water has led to the increase in water levels of Kolar’s Lakshmisagara lake, a sight villagers say they hadn’t seen for years. Locals remain wary of the project after rumours spread that cattle have died after drinking the treated water.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)
The treated waste water has led to the increase in water levels of Kolar’s Lakshmisagara lake, a sight villagers say they hadn’t seen for years. Locals remain wary of the project after rumours spread that cattle have died after drinking the treated water.(Arijit Sen/HT Photo)

Villagers fear ‘toxic water’ as treated waste water from Bengaluru flows to Kolar

Kolar villagers remain wary of multi-crore project due to the “poor quality” of water being supplied.
By Vikram Gopal | Hindustan Times, Bengaluru
UPDATED ON JUL 09, 2018 07:41 AM IST

On June 2, water gushed into the Lakshmisagara Lake in Karnataka’s arid Kolar district, bringing to completion the previous Siddaramaiah-led state government’s ambitious plan to use treated waste water from Bengaluru to increase the groundwater level in the region.

However, a month later, villagers in the district have turned sceptical of the Rs 1,342-crore project, fearing that “toxic water” was being supplied to the region’s three lakes under the scheme.

The Koramangala-Challaghattapura Valley lift irrigation project, as it is officially called, seeks to fill 226 lakes in the district with treated sewage water from the state capital through a series of channels and pumps. The government has argued that the water provided was fit for fisheries and propagation of wildlife and its quality was better than that of the existing groundwater, which it said has high traces of fluorides and nitrates.

Groundwater drains

The groundwater in the district is also fast depleting due to residents’ overdependence on it with villagers stating that they now have to dig up to 1,000 feet to get water.

Despite this, the farmers in the region have increasingly moved towards growing horticultural crops, especially tomatoes, which are relatively water intensive. However, as the prices of tomatoes fluctuate, the farmers have also tended to rely on animal husbandry and dairying, which in turn has increased their dependence on groundwater.

Rumours spreading

Standing on a narrow mud lane on the southern side of the Udupanahalli lake, 34-year-old Krishnegowda, a farmer who owns 10 heads of cattle and 20 goats, said rumours had surfaced that two goats had died after drinking water from the upstream Lakshmisagara lake, which had received treated sewage water as part of the KC Valley Project.

Although Krishnegowda admitted that he had never seen the lake filled up until last month, he said he could not afford to take a chance with the health of his cattle. “It is the key source of income for most of us because tomato prices are like a lottery,” he said.

Krishnegowda’s neighbour, Nanjundappa, 75, said he had heard that the so-called unclean water in the lake had triggered the sale of 1,000 goats in Lakshmisagara village.

However, in Lakshmisagara, residents gave a different reason for the distress sale of goats.

Lokesh, whose goats died last week due to a “mysterious disease”, said he had sold 10 of them because access to the nearby common grazing land had been cut off as bunds had not been constructed along the channel through which the water flowed to the next village.

“I didn’t claim that they died after drinking the water. Now that the water is flowing in full force, our goats refuse to cross over. As a result, we had to sell them,” Lokesh said. Other villagers echoed the reason given by Lokesh as the deciding factor behind the move to sell goats.

Fear about quality

The fears expressed by villagers in Udupanahalli regarding the “poor quality” of water supplied through the multi-crore project resonated in Lakshmisagara as well. Mahesh, a resident of the village, said the water coming from the pipeline was visibly darker. “We should be given proper water, not sewage water from the city. If this water is so clean why isn’t it being used in Bengaluru?” he asked.

Residents of Lakshmisagara and Udupanahalli villages said they were suspicious of the scheme since its inception as they had seen how the Bellandur and Varthur lakes in the state capital had frothed because of pollution.

The scepticism over the project led to the filing of a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Karnataka high court seeking further quality tests of the treated waste water before the target of filing 126 tanks is met.

“The Minor Irrigation Department believes it is doing charity by providing us with water. But how can we be sure that this water will be safe, when it has waste from industrial units mixed in it?” said Anjaneya Reddy, the petitioner and president of the Shashwatha Neeravari Horata Samiti, an outfit demanding a permanent irrigation project for Kolar and Chikkaballpura districts.

Govt’s defence

The Minor Irrigation Department has argued that the groundwater quality in the district was already poor with high fluoride and nitrate content.

“This scheme is aimed at groundwater recharge. We are also not claiming that the water (supplied) is fit for drinking,” said department’s principle secretary R Rudraiah. He added that the end goal of the scheme is to turn the arid Kolar and Chikkaballapura districts into water surplus ones. “Bengaluru’s water usage will only increase. As long as the city exists, water will be supplied to these districts,” he said.

Brushing aside villagers’ fears, Rudraiah quoted studies conducted by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board at Lakshmisagara and Udupanahalli lakes to argue that the treated waste water was fit for fisheries and wildlife.

However, water conservationist S Vishwanath said the villagers’ wariness was natural and the onus was on the government to dispel their fears. “The department should conduct studies and make the data accessible to win people’s trust,” he said.

Although Rudraiah blamed “some activists” for spreading apprehensions about the project, Karnataka’s minor irrigation minister CS Puttaraju said: “I have been informed about fears of the people there and have conveyed them to CM Kumaraswamy. We have asked the department to look at providing tertiary treatment for the water to make it fit for drinking.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being greeted by Janata Dal (United) MLAs on his 70th birthday in Patna on Monday. (PTI)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar being greeted by Janata Dal (United) MLAs on his 70th birthday in Patna on Monday. (PTI)

JD (U) rides piggyback on Brand Nitish on CM’s 70th birthday to revive party

By Vijay Swaroop | Edited by Sabir Hussain
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:52 PM IST
  • The JD (U) organised programmes at every village across the state as Vikas Diwas to highlight the development work done under Nitish Kumar in the last 15 years.
Close
The case was registered in June last year in Kupwara.(ANI)
The case was registered in June last year in Kupwara.(ANI)

NIA arrests 4 drug traffickers in Kashmir narco-terrorism case

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:51 PM IST
Altaf Ahmed Shah of Ganderbal, Showkat Ahmad Parray of Bandipora, Mudasir Ahmad Dar of Shopian and Amin Allaie of Anantnag have been arrested from Srinagar, he said.
Close
A health worker shows vaccine before administering.(AP)
A health worker shows vaccine before administering.(AP)

Covid-19 vaccine from India land in at least 6 African nations: Official

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:49 PM IST
"I hope Ficci members are able to grab the enormity of the change that has come about in Africa and make the most of it, be the first movers and take advantage of this Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement," Rahul Chhabra -- Secretary (Economic Relations) in the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Close
Senior citizens getting vaccinated against Covid-19 at sector 30 district hospital, in Noida, India.(Sunil Ghosh/ HT Photo)
Senior citizens getting vaccinated against Covid-19 at sector 30 district hospital, in Noida, India.(Sunil Ghosh/ HT Photo)

89-year-old couple; 4 family members who survived Covid-19 to get jabs

PTI
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:35 PM IST
The second phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive began, with jabs being given to citizens aged 60 and above, and those in 45-59 age bracket with comorbidities.
Close
Foreign minister S Jaishankar being given the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.(Twitter/@DrSJaishankar)
Foreign minister S Jaishankar being given the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday.(Twitter/@DrSJaishankar)

Union ministers Amit Shah, S Jaishankar get Covid-19 vaccine after PM Modi

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:34 PM IST
The government had announced last week that everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be able to get the Covid-19 vaccine from March 1 for free at government facilities and for a charge at many private hospitals.
Close
Political strategist Prashant Kishor (HT File Photo)
Political strategist Prashant Kishor (HT File Photo)

Ahead of Punjab polls, Prashant Kishor is Amarinder Singh's Political Advisor

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Karan Manral, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:22 PM IST
“Look forward to working together for the betterment of the people of Punjab!” CM Captain Amarinder Singh tweeted on Monday.
Close
Mizoram CM Zoramthanga chaired the cabinet meet on Sunday.(PTI Photo)
Mizoram CM Zoramthanga chaired the cabinet meet on Sunday.(PTI Photo)

Mizoram CM presents budget for FY22 with outlay of 11 crore

PTI
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:42 PM IST
The CM, who also holds the finance portfolio, said the state government is constantly taking measures to increase its revenue from all sectors.
Close
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav at State Secretariat, in Kolkata on Monday.(PTI)
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee with RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav at State Secretariat, in Kolkata on Monday.(PTI)

Tejashwi Yadav meets Mamata Banerjee, offers full support in Bengal polls

UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:41 PM IST
  • The RJD will contest a few assembly seats in Bengal as an ally of the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC).
Close
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar receives the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, in Patna on Monday. (ANI Photo)
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar receives the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, in Patna on Monday. (ANI Photo)

'Bihar to provide free Covid-19 vaccines, even at private hospitals', says CM

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Deepali Sharma, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:22 PM IST
The chief minister after getting vaccinated also urged the people of the state to come forward and get vaccinated .
Close
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points.(Reuters file photo)
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have been camping at three Delhi border points.(Reuters file photo)

Not afraid of coronavirus, won't take jabs: Farmer leaders

PTI, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:15 PM IST
However, they also said they will not stop any farmer camping at several Delhi borders from getting vaccinated as it is an individual choice.
Close
National health authority chairman R S Sharma . (HT archive)
National health authority chairman R S Sharma . (HT archive)

PM taking Covid-19 vaccine a powerful message: NHA chief RS Sharma

UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 06:37 PM IST
National Health Authority chairperson RS Sharma, who oversaw the Aadhaar drive, told HT that the government expects vaccination to scale up from the current 800,000 per day to at least 2.7million daily in this phase
Close
The Bombay High Court at Goa.(Courtesy- http://www.hcbombayatgoa.nic.in/)
The Bombay High Court at Goa.(Courtesy- http://www.hcbombayatgoa.nic.in/)

Bombay HC sets aside quota in Goa municipal polls for constitutional breach

By Gerard de Souza
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 05:42 PM IST
  • The Bombay High Court at Goa directed the Director of Municipal Administration issue a fresh notification within 10 days ensuring reservation for women of not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved for direct elections to the Municipal Councils.
Close
The woman who was allegedly attacked is visited by BJP's Agnimitra Paul (Left).(Twitter/@BJP4Bengal)
The woman who was allegedly attacked is visited by BJP's Agnimitra Paul (Left).(Twitter/@BJP4Bengal)

BJP vs Trinamool, now over attack on 82-year-old woman in Bengal

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kolkata
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 07:41 PM IST
The BJP said the woman is the mother of Gopal Majumdar, a local party worker, who was attacked by TMC supporters. The TMC termed it "fake news".
Close
Representational image.
Representational image.

Brace for very hot days and warm nights in NW India this summer

By Jayashree Nandi
UPDATED ON MAR 01, 2021 05:56 PM IST
Interestingly, the IMD outlook also states that currently, moderate La Niña conditions are prevailing over the equatorial Pacific, and sea surface temperatures are below normal over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean
Close
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the past few days, the Maharashtra government has imposed a lockdown in Amravati.(ANI)
Amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the past few days, the Maharashtra government has imposed a lockdown in Amravati.(ANI)

Amravati MLA demands Maharashtra government to lift Covid-19 lockdown

ANI, Amravati, Maharashtra
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 05:11 PM IST
"If a lockdown is not taken back from the Amravati, then we will not allow the assembly session to be run. The Chief Minister must take back his decision of lockdown in the Amarvati," said independent MLA Ravi Rana.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP