Bangalore: There are less than nine days to go for the Karnataka elections. CNN-IBN's Karnataka Yatra reaches Bangalore, looking at the water politics in the state. Midway between Mysore and Bangalore is the epicentre of politics over the Cauvery river.
Mandya district erupts every time water sharing becomes a dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and farmers Shakaralinga and Hanumappa say the reason they use all their force to protest against water sharing is because they have no other water source.
The near total dependence on water from the Cauvery River is the reason the issue becomes an emotive political one. But Cauvery water is no longer just a farmers' issue. Cauvery politics finds a new local resonance in the urban confines of Bangalore.
An exponentially growing city is as desperate for water as farmers. A Bangalore development authority layout of 13,000 plots in the outskirts of the city has over 10,000 residents but no water. The stage 4 of the Cauvery project for Bangalore was to pipe water to places that's yet to reach residents like LM Shetty. He built a house with all his retirement money and now he's angry and worried. LM Shetty, resident, Visweswaraya Layout, said, "We were promised Cauvery water when our flats were allotted, but it's been over 8 years, there is still no water."
Bangalore's dependence on Cauvery is increasing exponentially as it grows. Stage 4 of the project is to bring an added 490 million litre a day and candidates like Somasekara, who is contesting from the Kengeri, constantly use the promise of Cauvery water in their campaign.
It may be an easy promise to make in the election season but it's a reminder of a thirsty reality. By the government's own admission it can only service 28 per cent of Bangalore's water needs by 2030 and as the quest for water intensifies it's a river which doesn't have enough for farmers in two states that would have to quench Bangalore's thirst.
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