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Water theft plagues Bengaluru as board struggles to arrest loss

The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is suffering a loss as almost 45% of its water is unaccounted for. From ageing pipes to unchecked illegal water connections, the BWSSB needs to do a lot to keep its coffers healthy.

Water theft plagues Bengaluru as board struggles to arrest loss
Bengaluru, First Published Jun 29, 2019, 6:01 PM IST

Bengaluru: While most of us are aware of the issue of power theft, many of us may not be aware of the issue of water theft.

Capt S Raja Rao, former secretary, environment and minor irrigation, government of Karnataka, said, “Nearly 45% of water is unaccounted for in the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).”

The magnitude of the loss is indeed high. But what is the cause of it? The water expert explained, “The age of the pipes is one of the most important reasons. As they rust, water gets leaked. The joints also become porous. Long pipes have to be examined from time to time and replacement has to be done.”

If ageing of pipes is an issue, so are the unchecked illegal connections. That means the water used in these illegal connections is not measured or checked, thereby leading to a loss, both in terms of usage of water and revenue.

If this issue of illegal connection is found out, officials can book a case under section 379 of the IPC and the BWSSB Act.

BC Gangadhar, chief engineer (maintenance), BWSSB was quoted by Indian Express saying, “It is easy for citizens to indulge in water theft but difficult for us to identify. We have to visit individual houses who have not taken any water connection and inspect the area. At least five to six engineers will need to be present for providing water connection as it is a tedious process.”

But the problem is far from over. S Raja Rao said, “Sometimes, the illegal connections take place with the knowledge of the officials. This pinches the organisation all the more.”

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