Unlicensed sale of Water

Published on October 5, 2019 by

Unlicensed sale of Water


The city of Bengaluru has been suffering due to an acute shortage of water, as there is thriving business from the sale of water from the borewells.

Rahul Padman

Bengaluru,– 1st October 2019

Many operators who manage the distribution and sale of water through tankers do so without a legal license.  Residents are mostly allowed to dig a borewell to extract water supply for their personal use.  The owners of these residences are also utilizing this situation to sell water from their borewells without a trade license from the Burhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike(BBMP), the governmental body who issues licenses to dig borewells on private properties.


A tanker operator, Santosh, owns three borewells and sells 90,000 liters of water every day, charging Rs 400 for every 6,000 liters.  Santosh has a license from the Bengaluru Water Supply and sewage Board (BWSSB) but not from the BBMP which makes the trade illegal.  A tanker operator named Ravikumar mentioned that he has been selling water extracted from six private borewells for approximately ten years.  A restaurant owner, Ganesh, said that he buys water from tankers ranging from Rs 350 to Rs 450 each to meet their needs.


Vijendra BK, BWSSB Chief Health Officer said, “we issue licenses to people who already have approval from BWSSB to dig bore wells.  We have issued around 35 licenses only to residents living the South Zone and RR Nagar.  As and when we receive complaints, we send notices to residences who sell borewell water without a trade license.”  As per Shiva Kumar, the Deputy Health Officer of BBMP for the South Zone and RR Nagar, the number of trade licenses issued for sale of water in the city does not exceed 200.

An expert on the subject, Avinash Krishnamurthy, Director and Project Manager of Biome Environmental Solutions, commented, “the informal sector exists because the formal sector fails to meet the needs of the people.  The informal sector meets the requirements of the people in a responsive way and the cost benefits  exists for both the tanker operators and the consumers.  We need decide on being part of the problem or part of the solution.  The ground water thus gets over utilized and needs to be managed better. “

As per records of BWSSB, there are 6.7 lakh registered borewells in the city and formalizing the informal sector can help the relevant authorities monitor ground water levels which are at risk of being gradually depleted.






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