As most of you know, I am in India, in a city in the southern part – Bangalore. The city is known for its IT prowess and is often compared with San Jose, as the silicon valley of the East or silicon valley of India. It boasts of infrastructure only second to Mumbai in India, and top billionaires have made homes in the city. Water in precious in this part of the country, and neighboring states fight over the water which is sourced from the river Cauvery. The city gets water every alternate day and that too for a few hours. People have to store water when their taps flow, and use it from their storage tanks while it dries out – which is the majority of the time.
Scarcity of a product, and a huge demand for it in the open market only inflates its value. The same can be said of water in Bangalore as well. And, something that is precious is tendered with care, and conserved for a very long time. Right – this sounds good in theory but water in Bangalore, which is precious and which needs to be tendered is being wasted away.
It is a common sight to see water overflowing from the ground, as though the ground water levels are looking to flood the city. You might like to know – below the hard ground, there is a mammoth network of water pipes and when the overflow is an after effect of pipe breakages. Accidents (pipe breakages) happen, but the authorities do nothing about the water that is flowing out. They wait until the complaint reaches them, and a number of bureaucrats must give their nod, one after another for somebody to visit the site, first to inspect, later to fix it – only to find out that they don’t have the right tools. By the time, they come back with the right machinery, half the Cauvery water is flowing through Bangalore drains.
It gives me a swirling feeling in my tummy when I see gallons of water flowing on the streets, and no action being done to contain the leak. One of the root causes for the breakage of pipes is the lack of project management. Authorities love to dig the ground either to repair a telephone cable, or fix a faulty sewage line. They don’t bother to find out if a water pipe is running under their butts before they strike ground. Worse, when they break a pipe, they continue to do their work, complete it and leave the scene of crime in Le Marc style.
The remedy is not simple but it is a necessity that must be achieved with coordination. I am not sure if there is a map of the water network in Bangalore. I recently read in the newspaper that the authorities encountered a water line while they started to build an under pass at one of the busiest junctions. If the network architecture isn’t around, work should be taken up to locate all that is buried underneath and put on paper.
Lets say we have the network architecture now. We must leverage on project management techniques – like understanding the existing architecture before embarking on a new adventure, and planning out the activities in advance. If a water line gets damaged, there must be mitigation plans, such as have the water personnel at the site during the implementation phase. Better – move the water lines to a safer place before the project gets underway.
There are 101 things that can be done to conserve water in Bangalore. And, project management runs deeply in the city’s veins, at least in the IT corridor but the government is least concerned to use it for the people’s good.
I hope and pray that a government official reads this blog post, or those with good connections, point the people with authority here. Contact me, and I wish to be a part of the change.