Water Crisis in India’s Silicon Valley

The water tankers seeking to fill their bellies bounced past the dry lakes of India’s booming technology capital. Their bleary-eyed drivers waited in line to suck what they could from wells dug a mile deep into dusty lots between app offices and apartment towers named for bougainvillea — all built before sewage and water lines could reach them.

At one well, where neighbors lamented the loss of a mango grove, a handwritten logbook listed the water runs of a crisis: 3:15 and 4:10 one morning; 12:58, 2:27 and 3:29 the next.

“I get 50 calls a day,” said Prakash Chudegowda, a tanker driver in south Bengaluru, also known as Bangalore, as he connected a hose to the well. “I can only get to 15.”

Water being poured from a tanker truck in Bengaluru.
“I get 50 calls a day,” for water, said Prakash Chudegowda, a tanker driver. “I can only get to 15.”

The Silicon Valley of South Asia has a nature issue — a pain point that software cannot solve. In the sprawl beyond Bengaluru’s core, where dreams of tech riches usually grow, schools lack water to flush toilets. Washing machines have gone quiet. Showers are being postponed, and children with only dirty water to drink are being hospitalized with typhoid fever.

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