Right to Safe Drinking Water with Special Reference to Bangalore City - A Legal Regulation of Ground Water Management
Ground water levels are fast depleting in urban areas due to overdraft. It is an alternate source to limited surface water supplies. This paper provides count on tube wells estimating dependence, draft and depletion in Bangalore City Corporation. Survey of every bore wells was conducted every year with Governmental Agency is appreciable. The ground water management through legal regulation is needed in Bangalore City Corporation. The existing ground water laws should be strictly implemented for protection and preservation of ground water. Privatization of ground water needs attention in the light of right to drinking water as it threats to free access of safe drinking water.
Keywords: Drinking water, Ground water, Bangalore, Pollution, Legal regulation
Water is being precious resource and an important need to meet for tomorrow utilization. Consequently, the resources of shared rivers, aquifers and lakes have become the extraction of rival appropriation plans. Securing an upstream larger portion of the shared water has fostered and increasing competition between countries. Construction impact on ecosystems is alarming the nations. More the struggle for water is exacerbating impacts on the earth’s ecosystems. Degradation of this resulted in aquatic ecosystems losing half their biodiversity since just the mid-1970s. Starting groundwater depletion, for its part, is affect-.acting natural stream flows, groundwater-fed water wetlands, lakes and related ecosystems. If resources like water are degraded and to depleted, environmental refugees will follow. Sana’a city in Yemen risks becoming the first capital the resulting exodus of thirsty refugees will compound city to run out of water, if Bangladesh bears the main impact of China’s damming of the Brahmaputra1.
Scientist does fear that the humongous large dam construction could even endanger the integrity of India’s monsoon cycle which depends crucially on fresh river water flowing into the sea. However our report is not centrally concerned with this question and is not really into the pro versus anti big dam debate. It is much more concerned with the challenges of ensuring that the water stored in dams, present and future. Increase in millions hectares of irrigated area and avoiding all interstate conflict land acquisition.
The thought despoiling of our Forests Mountains and water system is undertaken by Multinational Corporation and ecocide is the new name for development of those who think recount how tens of millions of people from their land by floods, droughts and desertification caused by indiscriminate environmental engineering and massive infrastructural project’s dam, mines and special economic zone are called Luddites. The India has the world largest number of people without access to clean water. India and Pakistan constantly bicker over the Indus,China, Nepal,India and Bangladesh all fight over the rivers rising in the Himalayas and which flow through neighboring countries providing water for nearly 500 million people on the way2.
According to 2012 study by the international water management institute, the most powerful factor behind ground water exploitations is the regime of flat rate tariff and power subsidies that India has introduced since the beginning of green revolution. Ground water is disappearing fast, the world and India is among the worst list, shows data from NASA gravity recovery and climate experiment satellites.
According to the report tabled LokaSabha by union minister for drinking water and sanitation with more than 1.04 crores arsenic affected persons as on Assam in third spot with 14.48 lakhs victims. The total number of arsenic affected people in the country is about 1.48 crores according to the World Health Organization.
The recent report tabled in the LokaSabha stating that West Bengal has the highest number of arsenic affected people in the country. State minister of public health engineering and despite the state government efforts to curb the arsenic menace, there is 83 block in eight districts Bardhaman, Malda, Hoogly, Howrah, Murshidabad, Nadia, North and South 24 paraganas.
Guideline for drinking water quality 2011, the permission limit of arsenic in ground water is 0.1 mg per litre. State Government had recently initiated project in order to provide safe drinking water more than six3 lakhs people in the arsenic affected Rajarhat and Horoa block in north 24 paraganas district and Bhangar II blocks in south 24 paraganas district4.
The water treatment plant in the Bengal city for removal of arsenic is rather expensive and slow, the PHE department also claims that arsenic contamination is getting uncontrollable4.
Central Water Commission: Mihir shah water policy expert member of the erstwhile planning commission has email interview expressed that India needs an overarching water commission. The Central Water Commission set up in 1945 and check set in 1971 were created in an era when India faced a very different set of challenges. Ground water is the main source of water in India. This means we cannot go on endlessly drilling for groundwater through tube wells. Actually India ground water crisis as water table fall and water quality declines with arsenic, fluoride and even uranium entering drinking water5.
The participatory approach to water management has been successfully tried all over in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh, ground water and surface water in an integrated holistic manner. Central water commission and Central Ground water commission cannot continue to work in their current isolated; they are needed to rejuvenate India’s peninsular rivers. If river rejuvenation is the key national mandate of the ministry of water resource.National water commission is present in all major river basins of India.
Central water commission includes irrigation reform, river rejuvenation, participatory ground water management, urban and industrial water, water security including droughts floods and climate change and water quality. National water commission will be a knowledge institution providing solution to water problems faced by state government farmers and other stakeholders.
His work demolishes the engineering myth that water must not be allowed to flow wastefully into the sea.
Status of Ground Water in Karnataka
Karnataka is a state in south west India .The capital, Bengaluru is high tech hub.Karnataka took its present shape in 1956. Karnataka officially declared the 30th district of Karnataka. The ground water directorate was functioning as ground water wing in the department of mines and geology and has carried out the programs related to the ground water. The department has helped in successfully tapping drinking water sources in the dry belts of the state was functioning. The ground water directorate, a separate department is created since 2012 in Karnataka.
Districts affected in Karnataka
The ground water exploitation has been alarming in Bangalore city of Karnataka. The ground water directorate of Karnataka has given the statistics as given in the Table 1 and which indicates the clear picture about the contaminants of the ground water in various districts of Karnataka state.
Status of ground water in Bangalore city
The Indian audit report 2011-12 presented by Bangalore water supply working committee president R. Ashok revealed that, the Indian Science Institute reports about 6178 borewells are not potable for drinking purpose after inspecting 1,29,986 bore wells in Bangalore city6.
The study reveals emerging ground water crisis in urban areas a case study of ward no.39, Bangalore city. Ground water levels are fast depleting in urban areas due to overdraft. It is an alternate source to limited surface water supplies. This paper provides count on tube wells estimating dependence, draft; cost dynamics and depletion in ward no 39, of Bangalore City Corporation. Survey every tube wells was conducted supported with focus group discussions. Striking realities indicate 873, tube wells within small area 2.9 sq. kms, an investment of 3.55, crores, the depletion levels dwindling from 90 in 1970’s to5007.
The construction of metro in Bangalore city has destroying the weathered rock buffer , by building a basement or by tunneling for metro and other structures, it is not only removing water from the aquifer but also permanently impairing its ability to store water and allow its movement. Bangalore ground Water could not go beyond 600 feet from the cracks and fissures. Building byelaws and city development plans should base decisions on aquifers and ground water. The work towards potential availability protecting the ground water at the individual level we need to remember that when one builds on a site one paves it almost entirely thus eliminating the base 7to 10% of water that has a chance to each the aquifer. The giving some space for rainwater harvesting and the ground water to recharge well allow all roof top rainwater into tanks in turn it after filtering it. Apartments too should pay attention to aquifers and not damage them by building deep basements. Ground water should also be protected from contamination by sewage and garbage. A well designed sewerage systems and solid waste collection system are a most for any city8.
The views expressed by Ramachandra, Professor, Indian Institute of Science that nitrates causing carcinogenic element are found around 40% in Bangalore. The Bangaloreans consuming ground water, 10-12% of high in nitrates and are contaminated causing cancer. The Bangalore city generates around 3,000-4000 tons of waste every day of which around 70% contain organic components .The degradation of organic waste releases gas and leach ate to ground water, which is a serious environmental hazard9.
The Bangalore water supply and sewage board controls and regulates the exploitation of ground water through documentation of mandate registration of bore wells10 in Bangalore city as shown in the Table 2.The increase in bore wells indicates the growth of exploitation of ground water and aquifers are under threat in Bangalore city as shown in the Fig. 1 and 2.
Legal regulation of ground water in India
National Water Framework Bill, 2016: The Centre has brought final draft of the National Water Framework Bill, 2016, that stresses managing water at basin-level and “right measurement” of State’s contribution to river system to resolve conflicts. The draft Bill pitches for establishing River Basin Authority for each inter-State basin to ensure “optimum and sustainable” development of rivers and valleys. The bill is expected to be placed before the Union Cabinet for its approval in a month, before it is tabled in Parliament. It suggests States to recognise the principle that the rivers are not owned by the basin-States but are “public trustees. “It says all basin States have “equitable” rights over a river water “provided such use does not violate the right to water for life” of any person in the river basin.
The draft Bill says every person has a “right to sufficient quantity of safe water for life” within easy reach of the household regardless of caste, creed, religion, age, community, class, gender, disability, economic status, land ownership and place of residence.
It also suggests that States ensure water is conserved. “Presently, there are disputes because no States knows his/her contribution to a river’s catchment area. When a State will know its exact contribution to the catchment area, it will know quantum of its rightful share. The Bill focuses on right measurement of the water at basin-level. It proposes establishing institutional arrangements at all levels within a State and beyond up to an inter-State river basin level to “obviate” disputes through negotiations, conciliation or mediation before they become acute. “All the basin States are equal in rights and status, and there is no hierarchy of rights among them, and further, in this context, equality of rights means not equal but equitable shares in the river waters,” the Bill says. Water being a State subject, the Bill, however, will not be binding on States for adoption11.
Legal Regulation of Ground Water in Bangalore:
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Act, 196412 establishes Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board. At present the Head-works and the Rising Main of the Bangalore Water Supply scheme are under the control of Government while the distribution of water is under the control of the Bangalore Municipal Corporation. The present water supply being inadequate, Government has sanctioned the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme at an estimated cost of Rs.26 crores. It will be necessary to suit the proposed water supply as the supply of water underground drainage system to make use of the water to the maximum extent. It is, therefore, necessary to entrust the administration of water supply and sewerage to the same Authority. The World Bank Authorities administration of both the water Supply and Drainage in Bangalore is entrusted to an independent and autonomous body. The legal control of bore wells under the following sections.
SECTION 32. Private water supply for domestic consumption: The water supply Engineer may, on application by the owner or occupier of any building, arrange, in accordance with the regulations, to supply water thereto for domestic consumption and use.
It shall not be lawful for the owner of any dwelling house which may be constructed or reconstructed after the commencement of this Act to occupy it or cause or permit it to be occupied until he has obtained a certificate from the Board that there is provided within, or within a reasonable distance of the house such supply of wholesome water as appears to the Board to be sufficient for the domestic consumption and use of the inmates of the house.
Where on any land there is a super structure without supply of water from the Boards main for domestic consumption and where such supply can be furnished from the main not more than 35 meters distant from any part of any such super structure, the Board may by notice require the owner, lessee or occupant of the land or super structure to obtain such supply.
SECTION 34. Water supply for domestic purposes not to be used for non-domestic purpose: No person shall, without the written permission of the Board, use or allow to be used for other than domestic purposes water supplied for domestic purposes.
SECTION 51. Power to test water fittings: The Board may test any water fitting used in connection with water supplied by the Board.
SECTION 52. Water pipes, etc., not to be placed where water will be polluted: No water pipes shall be laid in a drain or on the surface of an open channel or house gully or within six meters of a cesspool or in any position where the pipe is likely to be injured or the water therein polluted; and except with the approval of the Board no cistern shall be constructed within six meters of a latrine, or cesspool.
SECTION 108-A. Theft of water: Whoever dishonestly obtains water supply through illegal connection or tampers meter or used tampered meter in any manner resulting in non-recording or wrong recording of consumption of water or damages or destroys water meter so as to prevent accurate metering of water consumed, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years or with fine; or with both. If it is proved that any artificial means or means not authorized by the Board exit for consumption or used of water by the consumer without being recorded by the meter, it shall be presumed that the consumption or use of water has been dishonestly made by such consumer until contrary is provide.
SECTION 108-B. Abetment without prejudice to any penalty or fine which may be imposed or prosecution proceeding which may be initiated under this Act or any other law for the time being in force, whoever including any fence punishable under this Act or enters into or acquiesces in any agreement to do, abstain from doing, permits, conceals or connives at any act or tiling whereby any theft of water is committed, he shall be punishable with the same punishment provided for the offence in this Act.
SECTION 109. General penalty: Whoever in any case in which a penalty is not expressly provided by this Act, fails to comply with any notice, order or requisition issued under any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation or bye-law or otherwise contravenes any of the provisions of this Act or any rule or extend to six months or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees or with both. In the case of a continuing failure or contravention, with an additional fine which may extend to five hundred rupees for every day during which such failure or contravention continues after conviction for the first such failure or contravention.
SECTION 109-A. Penalty of pro rata charges for unauthorized connections.- whoever unauthorized obtaining water supply or sanitary connections or both by any means from the water supply pipelines of the Board or sanitary connections to the sewerage system of the Board in contravention of the provisions of this Act and regulations made there under shall, in addition to the pro rata charges payable, as determined by the Board, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the regulations for such connection. Another act namely the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Amendment) Act, 1965 also controls the exploitation of ground water as follows.
SECTION 61.Regulations reading water supply: The Board may, with the previous approval of the State Government, make regulations to carry out the purposes of this Chapter.
In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing provision, such regulations may provide for the power of the Board a) to stop supply of water, whether for domestic purpose, or not, or for gratuitous use; and ii) to prohibit the sale and use of water for the purpose of business; b) The power of the Board to take charge of private connection; c) The prohibition of fraudulent and unauthorized use of water and the prohibition of tampering with meters; d) The licensing of plumbers and fitters, and for the compulsory employment of licensed plumbers and fitters.In making any regulation under this section, the Board may provide that a breach thereof shall be punishable with fine which may extend to one hundred rupees and in case of continuing breach with an additional fine which may extend to ten rupees for every day during which the breach continues after the receipt of a notice from the Board to discontinue such breach.
SECTION 26. Insertion of new Sections 108-A and 108-B: After Section 108 of the principal Act, the following new sections shall be inserted, namely.-
SECTION 108-A. Theft of water: Whoever dishonestly obtains water supply through illegal connection or tampers meter or uses tampered meter in any manner resulting in non-recording or wrong recording of consumption of water or damages or destroys water meter/apparatus so as to prevent accurate metering of water consumed, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years or with fine; or with both.
The Bangalore Sewage Regulations, 1974 provides the following sections:
SECTION 17. Pollution of ground water prohibited: In the areas where underground drainage lines are not laid suitable septic tanks /soak pits shall be provided as approved by Sanitary Engineer for disposal of such drainage shall not be discharged into any well either abandoned or constructed for that purpose, and which is carried to such a depth as to penetrate water bearing strata or into a crevice or sinkhole or other opening either natural or artificial or into a rock formation which will or may permit the pollution or contamination of ground water. No septic tank or soak pit shall be constructed within six meters from any water pipe line.
The Karnataka Ground Water (Regulation for Protection of Sources of Drinking Water) Act 1999 regulates the exploitation of ground water for the protection of public sources of drinking water. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage (Rain Water Harvesting) Regulations 2010 insists rain water harvesting for recharge of ground water. The Karnataka Water Regulation and Control of Development and Management Act, 2011 to regulate and control the development and management of water and matters connected to the ground water11.
The right to water needs to be separately stated and not merely as part of the right to life. The right to safe water as life support must encompasses the right of access to the resource of water base livelihoods. The right to safe drinking water needs to bean explicitly declared constitutional right and not merely a right read into the constitution by judicial interpretation. The right to safe drinking water needs to realize all fundamental rights dependent on groundwater. This also includes the right to food and health. It covers sanitation and drainage links given the direct links with the safe drinking groundwater. The right to equality, whose link with reference to water has to be addressed specifically in the constitution13. Recognizing the right to water as a human right is a method to help people in gaining accesses to groundwater14.
The women, poor children needs preferential treatment in addressing the water borne disease problems .Hence right to safe drinking water through the adoption of legislation brings the implementation right to drinking groundwater. The government recalls central role of panchayats and municipalities provided by constitution empowerment needs more attention in this regard.
Privatization of groundwater needs to alarm in the light of right to drinking water as it threats to free access of safe drinking water.
Research Scholar, Bangalore University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Research Supervisor, University Law College, Department of Law, Bangalore University, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
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