Making water flow in Bengaluru: planning for the resilience of water supply in a semi-arid city

Hita Unnikrishnan, Seema Mundoli, Harini Nagendra

Abstract

 

The south Indian city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) has a long history of human occupation. Today as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Bengaluru is unusual in the fact that it is an old city, located at a distance from perennial sources of fresh water. While in the precolonial past, it depended upon an interconnected system of rainwater harvesting via lakes and wells, today it relies on water that is pumped from a river at a distance of over a hundred kilometres.

This paper traces the evolution of Bengaluru’s water supply infrastructure from the precolonial past into the present day. We posit that the shift of the city’s dependence on water from local to distant sources, with the advent of technology and the introduction of centralized piped water, has weakened local residents’ and policy makers’ awareness of the importance of conservation of local ecosystems. The resulting degradation and conversion of the city’s water bodies has reduced the resilience of Bengaluru to flooding and drought, especially affecting the poorest and most vulnerable of its residents. The disruption of the links between water and other forms of commons, including grazing lands, fishing areas and wooded groves, has further fragmented the once-organic connection between the city and its ecosystems, with widespread construction on wetlands leading to flooding and water scarcity in different seasons.  In an era of increasing climate change, cities in semi-arid environments such as Bengaluru will be hit by problems of water scarcity. We stress the need to develop an integrated perspective that considers the importance of local ecosystems as commons for increased urban resilience.


Keywords

Lakes; wells; resilience; urban infrastructure

Full Text:

PDF

References

United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs 2014, World Urbanization Prospects, the 2014 revision, www.esa.un.org/unpd/wup.

McDonald RI, Green P, Balk D, et al. 2011, Urban growth, climate change, and freshwater availability, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 108 (15): 6312-6317.

Nagendra H 2016, Nature in the city: Bengaluru in the past, present, and future, Oxford University Press, New Delhi.

Parikh J, Sandal G and Jindal P 2016, Climate resilient cities: vulnerability profiling of twenty Indian cities. In Development in India, pp. 351-365. Springer India.

Saleth RM 2016, Water rights and entitlements in India, In Indian water policy at the crossroads: resources, technology and reforms, Springer International Publishing, 179-207.

Wolf TA, Kramer A, Carius A, et al. 2005, Managing water conflict and cooperation, In State of the world 2005: redefining global security, The Worldwatch Institute, 80-95.

Agarwal A and Narain S 1997, Dying wisdom: rise fall and potential of India’s traditional water harvesting systems, Center for Science and Environment, New Delhi.

Unnikrishnan H, Mundoli S, Manjunatha B and Nagendra H 2016, Down the drain: the tragedy of the disappearing urban commons of Bengaluru, South Asian Water Studies (SAWAS), vol. 5(3): 7-11.

Sudhira HS, Ramachandra TV and Subrahmanya MHB 2007, Bangalore, Cities, vol. 24(5): 379-390.

Rice BL 1905, Epigraphia Carnatica volume IX: inscriptions in the Bangalore district, Mysore Government Central Press, Bangalore.

Annaswamy TV 2003, Bengaluru to Bangalore: urban history of Bangalore from the pre-historic period to the end of the 18th Century, Vengadam Press, Bangalore.

Dikshit GS, Kuppuswamy GR and Mohan SK 1993, Tank irrigation in Karnataka. Gandhi Sahitya Sangha, Bangalore.

Hegde R 2002, Kere neeravari nirvaahane charitrika adhyayana (in Kannada), Publication Division, Prasaranga, Hampi.

Ramesh SC (eds) 2005, Alemaarigala sthithigathi (in Kannada), Prasaranga Kannada University, Hampi.

Srinivas S 2004, Landscapes of urban memory: the sacred and the civic in India’s high tech city, Orient Longman, Hyderabad.

Unnikrishnan H, Manjunatha B and Nagendra H 2016, Contested urban commons: mapping the transition of a lake to a sports stadium in Bangalore, International Journal of the Commons, vol.10 (1): 265-293.

Hasan MF 1970, Bangalore through the centuries: A historical narrative of Bangalore, 1st edn, Historical Publications, Bangalore

Rice BL 1897, Mysore: a gazetteer compiled for government, revised edition, volume II—Mysore by districts, Archibald Constable and Company, Westminster.

Ellis CH 1865, Report on the station, barracks, and hospitals of Bangalore, Adelphi Press, Madras.

Singh RL 1964, Bangalore: An urban survey (first edition), Tara Publications, Varanashi.

File Number 354 of 1909, Municipal, Important papers connected with draining a portion of the Sampige Tank, Karnataka State Archives, Bengaluru.

Government Press 1949, Speeches by Amin-ul-Mulk Sir Mirza. M. Ismail, K.C.I.E., O.B.E., Dewan of Mysore, volume III (February 1936- December 1938), Karnataka State Archives, Bengaluru.

Ross R 1896, Report on cholera, general sanitation, and the sanitary department and regulations in the C&M Station of Bangalore, Residency Press, Bangalore.

1946, The Cottonian, annual magazine of Bishop Cotton Boys High School, Vol XXXVI (nos. 1 and 2), C.L.S. Press, Bangalore.

Government Press 1954, Report of the Bangalore Development Committee.

Subramanian DK 1985, Bangalore city’s water supply: a study and analysis. In Essays on Bangalore volumes 1-4, Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology, Bangalore.

BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) 2010, Namma Bengaluru nisarga: an action plan for development of lakes in BBMP’s jurisdiction, BBMP, Bangalore.

Thippaiah P 2009, Vanishing lakes: a study of Bangalore city, Social and Economic Change monographs, no. 17, Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore.

Rao TR 1985, Mosquito control in Bangalore city: some observations, Council for Science and Technology, Bangalore.

D’Souza R and Nagendra H 2011, Changes in public commons as a consequence of urbanization: the Agara lake in Bangalore, India, Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 47(5): 840-850.

Public Interest Litigation (WP No. 817/2008) 2008, filed by Environment Support group and Leo Saldanha against privatization of lakes in Bangalore, viewed 17 September 2016, http://www.esgindia.org/projects/events/campaign-against-lake-privatisation-bang.html.

Baviskar A 2011, What the eye does not see: the Yamuna in the imagination of Delhi, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 46(50): 45-53.

Sundaresan J 2011, Planning as commoning: transformation of a Bangalore lake, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 46(50): 71-79.

Parthasarathy D 2011, Hunters, gatherers and foragers in a metropolis: commonising the private and public in Mumbai, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 46(50):54-63.

Vij S and Narain V 2016, Land, water & power: the demise of common property resources in periurban Gurgaon, India, Land Use Policy, vol. 50: 59-66

Sudhir 2013, Will Bangalore have to be evacuated by 2023? In Firstpost, 13 April, viewed 17 September 2016, available at http://www.firstpost.com/india/will-bangalore-have-to-be-evacuated-by-2023-697649.html.

Liechenko MR 2011, Climate change and urban resilience, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, vol.3: 164-168


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/JSUPP.2017.01.002
(86 Abstract Views, 47 PDF Downloads)

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2017 Hita Unnikrishnan

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.