With a population of 1.3 crore, Bengaluru currently faces challenges in meeting its water demand due to depleted water levels in the Cauvery river basin and borewells, triggered by the failure of both the southwest and northeast monsoons. Although the city has access to about 1,850 million litres per day (MLD) of water, it needs at least 1,680 MLD more to meet its growing water needs. This imminent crisis has led to soaring tanker prices, expected to double during the peak summer season, posing significant risks to essential services. In response, the state government has implemented measures, including assuming control of private water tanker operations. However, persistent public discontent reflects concerns regarding the adequacy of water supply, especially with the impending summer season and its potential impact on electricity availability.

Given the gravity of the situation, it is crucial for organisations operating in the region to stay informed about the root causes, government mitigation
efforts, and recommended strategies to navigate through the ongoing water shortage in Bengaluru.


What Led to the Shortage?

  • Bengaluru relies on two main sources of water: 1,450 million litres per day (MLD) from the Cauvery and an additional 700 MLD from borewells operated by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), later managed by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for supplying water.
  • In 2023-24, Karnataka recorded 18 percent deficient monsoon and 36 percent deficient rabi rainfall. Subsequently, among the 236 taluks (subdistrict) in Karnataka, 223 are experiencing drought conditions, with 219 severely affected.
  • Bengaluru recorded 1020.2 mm of rainfall, lowest annual rainfall in three years, resulting in depleted groundwater levels.
  • Data from the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Management Centre (KSNDMC) reveals that key reservoirs in the Cauvery Basin, including Harangi, Hemavathi, KRS, and Kabini, are at only 39 percent of their total capacity as of 28 February.
  • Currently, these reservoirs hold approximately 44.65 TMC of water out of a total capacity of 114.57 TMC, significantly lower than the 64.61 TMC they held at the same time last year.
  • Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar announced on 04 March that half of Bengaluru’s borewells have dried up, with 6,997 out of 14,700 no longer operational and another 1,240 at risk due to poor monsoons.
  • Forecasts indicate a worsening situation with the onset of summer:
    • With the summer expected to be more severe this year, some 7,082 villages across Karnataka and 1,193 wards, including in Bengaluru Urban district, are vulnerable to drinking water crisis in the coming months as per an assessment made by the government as of 10 February.
    • The revenue department’s report identified Tumakuru district as the most vulnerable, with 746 villages at risk, and Uttara Kannada with the highest number of wards. In Bengaluru Urban district, 174 villages and 120 wards are deemed vulnerable to water scarcity.
water scarcity

Causes of Recurrent Water Shortage Issues in Bengaluru:

  • Bengaluru is neither close to a coast nor to a river
  • High dependency on rainwater
  • Encroachment into natural water bodies
  • Overexploitation of groundwater
  • Depleting water levels in borewells
Water Shortage in Bengaluru

Worst Affected Areas:

Yelahanka Zone
Dasarahalli Zone
South Zone

Note : Click on the area names to directly locate on Google Maps

Google Maps

Government Measures:

  • Regulation and Oversight:
    • Ramamurthy NagarThe Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has set up a control room at its head office to address water supply issues in 110 villages across 35 wards.
    • A war room is being established to monitor the situation in real-time.
    • The officials of the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB ) and BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) are holding meetings on a daily basis to tackle the issue.
    • Nodal officers have been assigned by BBMP to address drinking water problems in affected areas of the city.
  • Directives:
    • The government has initiated the process of acquiring control over private water tanker operations and overseeing management of all borewells in the city to ensure effective management.
    • The Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is implementing various other measures, including reducing consumption, promoting treated water use, leasing private borewells, rejuvenating existing borewells, and conducting awareness campaigns.
    • The Water Resources Department has directed the release of 0.1 TMC water from the Tungabhadra reservoir to three cities and 40 panchayats (village council) in Vijayanagara district, as well as in Koppal, Raichur, and Vijayapur districts, with the strict instruction to use this water only for drinking purposes.
  • Infrastructure and Logistics:
    • Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar announced plans to bring water from neighbouring Channapatna, Ramanagar and Magadi to Bengaluru.
    • The government is planning to use Karnataka Milk Federation’s (KMF) milk tankers to deliver water to Bengaluru.
    • Officials have also been instructed to operationalise all the idle drinking water centres.
    • Meanwhile, the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) officials have been told to register all borewells in use for agriculture and commercial use.
  • Financial:
  • The Karnataka government has allocated INR 556 crore, with each MLA representing Bengaluru receiving INR 10 crore to address water scarcity in their respective constituencies.
  • Additionally, the BBMP has reserved INR 148 crore, and BWSSB has designated INR 128 crore to address the issue.
  • Instructions have been issued to utilise funds from the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation for the resolution of urban water challenges within the Haveri district.
  • Grants are available for the repair of borewells under State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), with drilling permitted if necessary.
  • Long Term Measures:
    • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah laid the foundation stone of the Vrishabhavathi lift irrigation project in the Nelamangala assembly constituency (Bengaluru rural) and stated that the project would permanently solve the water problems faced by the people of Bengaluru City, the surrounding rural areas, and the Tumkur districts.
    • The state government is expected to launch the Cauvery Phase-5 project in May 2024, aiming to provide 110 litres daily to Bengalureans. The project also includes laying 228 km of sewage treatment plants and constructing 13 Sewage Treatment Plants (STP).


Impact on supply of Electricity:

  • Karnataka relies on hydroelectric power generation, with major plants like Sharavathi and Linganamakki contributing significantly to the power supply.
  • As of March 2023, Karnataka’s installed power capacity exceeds 31,000 MW, with hydroelectric power being a major source.
  • Bengaluru, consuming about 35 percent of the state’s power, faces significant implications from water shortage impacting hydroelectric power generation.
  • In October 2023, Karnataka experienced a daily power shortfall of 40 – 50 MU due to the failure of the southwest monsoon. The heightened demand for agricultural irrigation pumps due to the lack of rainfall has further strained the power supply.
  • Government Action-
    • The state has resorted to power purchases through the Day-Ahead Market (DAM) and Real-Time Market (RTM) to address the shortfall.
    • The state has arranged power swaps with Uttar Pradesh during pre-solar and post-solar hours, ranging from 300 to 600 MW, from October 2023 to May 2024, with a commitment to return the power to Uttar Pradesh from June to September 2024.
    • A similar agreement has been reached with Punjab for 500 MW of RoundThe-Clock (RTC) power from November 2023 to May 2024.
    • The state plans to procure power through a short-term tender, amounting to 1,250 MW on a Round-The-Clock (RTC) basis and 250 MW on an asneeded basis through RTM, primarily for peak hours.
    • The Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC) has approved power procurement at a capped rate to ensure efficient management of the power deficit situation.
  • Forecast for the monsoon, along with government action, is expected to ensure sufficient electricity supply during summers-
    • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicts normal monsoon conditions for 2024, with El Nino effects fading and La Nina conditions likely to prevail by the second half of the season. This means rainfall is expected to be within the normal range of 96-104 percent of LPA (868.6mm), contrasting with the below-normal monsoon in 2023.
    • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced plans in the February 2024 state budget to increase installed electricity capacity from 32,000 MW to 60,000 MW over the next seven years, aiming to bridge the gap in hydroelectric power generation.

Impact on Businesses:

  • While the government has refuted any chance of power outage during water scarcity, the possibility of outages cannot be ruled out.
  • The government authorities may implement water rationing programs to ensure equitable distribution of available water resources.
  • Industries may incur additional expenses to secure alternative water sources, implement water-saving technologies, or invest in water recycling and treatment facilities.
  • Businesses may face compliance challenges, fines, or penalties for exceeding water consumption limits, further adding to operational complexities and costs.
  • The Karnataka Water Supply and Sewerage Board has banned nonessential water usage such as car washing, gardening, construction, water fountains, road construction, and maintenance. Violation of this order will incur a fine of INR 5,000. Authorities may impose additional restrictions based on situational requirements.
  • The possibility of protests by opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), near government buildings like Vidhana Soudha remains likely. Increased security measures are expected at Vidhana Soudha, particularly as BJP’s Tejasvi Surya threatened protests if the government does not address drinking water scarcity. This could lead to traffic disruptions near Ambedkar Veedhi and Sampangi Rama Nagar.
  • Further, if the shortage escalates, public unrest and demonstrations at Freedom Park cannot be ruled out.

How to Order a Water Tanker from BWSSB?

  • Those in the wards serviced by Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) can raise concerns over water supply at their 24/7 helpline – 1533.
  • Those in other wards should contact the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board’s (BWSSB) helpline number 1916 or send an email to callcenter@bwssb.gov.in
  • Priority is given to supplying water by tanker within 24 hours, followed by renting borewells.
  • Bengaluru Urban Deputy Commissioner K A Dayananda issued a circular fixing rates for 200 private tankers deployed on contract for a four-month period, based on a recommendation from a technical advisory committee. The rates are as follows:
DistanceCapacity of the water tankerRate (INR)
Up to 05 Km6,000-litre
Between 05-10 Km6,000-litre
  • Considering all taluks (sub-district) in the Bengaluru Urban district have been declared drought-hit, water tanker services now fall under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bracket.
water tanker



  • Unscheduled power outages are a possibility, advised to have adequate power backups ready to avoid operational disruptions.
  • Comply with government restrictions and advisories over water usage.
  • Conduct regular risk assessments and develop contingency plans to prioritise essential operations during water shortages.
  • Identify and engage stakeholders, including private tanker operators, and secure long-term contracts to ensure timely fulfilment of basic water requirements.
  • Explore alternative water sources such as treated wastewater and decentralised water supply systems.
  • Collaborate with neighbouring businesses to share resources, such as water storage facilities or alternative energy sources.
  • Implement water-saving technologies and practices to optimise water usage efficiency.
  • Stay abreast of constant developments and avoid areas prone to protests to secure local supply chain operations and ensure employee safety.


  • Advised to use water judiciously and ensure that taps are turned off when not in use, fix any leaks in plumbing fixtures.
  • Report any water leaks or wastage to relevant authorities for prompt repair.
  • Stay informed about water-related developments and adhere to any water usage restrictions or guidelines issued by authorities.
  • Strictly adhere to government restrictions to avoid potential legal repercussions.
  • MitKat advises to steer clear of protest sites and remain vigilant of situational updates.

Emergency Contacts:

Subscribe Our Newsletter

Book a Demo

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
How long would you like the demo to be?
Are you using any Analysis tool or had used before ?
LinkedIn, Friends of Friend, etc.