Bengaluru: The cracks in Chennai, begging for some water, have myriad stories to tell.

As water gets scantier by the day, the Karnataka government has mulled a legislation to bring in a moratorium on the construction of apartments in Bengaluru for the next five years.

The Times of India quoted deputy chief minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara as saying: “We are planning to clamp a five-year ban on approvals for construction mainly because a large number of apartment buildings have been constructed in the city and sold to people without ensuring adequate drinking water supply.”

The very news of such a thought process by the government has called for a lot of debate. While the pros and cons are being discussed, Capt S Raja Rao, former secretary, environment and minor irrigation, government of Karnataka has given his take on the issue.

He said, “In the first place, I don’t know if such a decision stands the scrutiny of law. I feel it is the inability of the government in not ensuring availability of water. So that being the case, why should the citizens suffer?”

Though the decision is debatable, one has to confess and concede that the water crisis is a reality. But there is a solution in hand.

The water expert says, “Around 500 mld (millions of litre per day) of BWSSB water is unaccounted for. The water leakage or theft has to be arrested. If that happens, 500 mld of water is available. When the Cauvery tribunal gave its award, it allocated only 1/3rd of the river water to Bengaluru. But the SC said it didn’t consider the growing population. As per the court, the city needs 2 ½ tmc more which is legally available. Bengalureans will also get around 3 tmc of water from Tippagondanalli lake, 2 tmc of water from Yettinahole project. If Mekedatu project is completed on time, you get more water from there. Moreover, if every house installs rainwater harvesting system, you get a lot more water. There is no need to pump in water from Sharavati as well.”

But it is not as easy as said. He laments, “There is no will by the government. They sanction only those projects which offer them good kickbacks. There is no accountability of responsibility whatsoever. Hence this state of affairs.”