A water crisis that software can’t solve

Nearly dry Nallurahalli Lake in Bengaluru. The city gets plenty of rain, but it did not properly adapt as its soaring population strained traditional water sources. — Photos: ©2024 The New York Times Company

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 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 neighbours 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.

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