Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Tree Plantation in Arsenahalli and Gangavara Government School


Biome Environmental Trust (Biome) has installed Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) system in 10 government schools around Devanahalli. This project is supported by Wipro Cares and Wipro Aerospace & Defence Plant, Devanahalli.

As part of the program, Wipro employees have visited the government schools. One of the observations from the school visit and after interacting with the teachers in the school has been that many of the schools’ lack ‘green spaces’ inside the campus. The schools have large open land which is either used as a playground or otherwise remains unused and not maintained.

On occasion of World Environment Day 2018, Wipro and Biome conducted a tree plantation activity in 2 schools, out of 10 schools. The two schools were Arsenahalli higher primary school and Gangavara higher primary school. The intent was to increase the green cover as well as engage with the students, staff and the community.

Wipro volunteers, HEADS (a partner organization of Wipro engaging on health aspects) and Biome participated in the event. The event started with Biome team explaining RWH in the school, HEADS team spoke about importance of health and hygiene to the students and Wipro employees engaged with students on the theme of World Environment Day i.e. beat plastic pollution. After the introductions, the plantation activity was started. Below pictures capture the event:












Monday, May 28, 2018

WELL DIGGERS IN BANGALORE

1. Pedanna : 97424-23145, 97515-48126, 86201-28960
2. Muniyappa : 94485-70684
3. Ramakrishna : 97435-38649
4. Antony : 80507-95139, 90357-10920, 98865-56652
5. Srinivas : 79758-76113
6. Kanthappa : 99169-85003, 99004-36041, 
7. Krishna : 99862-03022, 97869-90699, 70106-26468
8. Mahesh : 96555-56378, 86606-08345
9. Muniraju : 96200-08709, 96209-70663, 70943-77906, 97510-92818, 9886632599
10. Muniswamy : 99457-66502
11. Raghu Muniyappa : 90801-58524
12. Rajappa : 96554-64055
13. Ravi : 96558-52399, 98805-53136, 99641-31065
14. Shankar : 99002-83755, 70940-22959
15. Venkatesh : 95852-90354, 99167-43441, 98864-08665, 98869-41285, 96207-16032, 88257-61219
16: Gurappa : 98458-40687
17. Muniyappa 2 : 97860-93052
18: Mohan : 99869-22193, 79811-15633

Been getting some queries for a while - so thought to put down all numbers on my phone. Any volunteers to call each number and validate/clean up this list ? Any other numbers to add to this list ?  

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Wetland Maintenance - Jakkur Lake

Summary
Jakkur Lake is on approximately 160 acres and is located in the Northern part of Bangalore to the right of NH44 near Yelahanka. The lake falls within Hebbal Valley as part of the Yellamallappa Chetty lake series in northern Bangalore. There are two entrances to the lake. One from the South and the other from the East.
To the northwest of the lake, there is a BWSSB-operated 10 MLD STP which discharges an average of 7-8.5 ML into the lake each day. BWSSB checks the water quality before it is let into the wetland.
In 2008 BDA/BBMP constructed a wetland and rejuvenated Jakkur Lake.  Since then the lake has seen lots of changes - a walking path, Community Centre, Security building, Fishermans hut, Toilets to name a few.

A constructed wetland covers approximately 7 acres in the northern part of the lake. There are various species of aquatic plants in the wetland. Typha is planted at the inlet and on the edge of the wetland, followed by an algal pond. Fishermen at the lake maintain the wetland and the lake by trimming/harvesting the plants as required. Women from a self help group cut the grass around the wetland. Grass cutters also cut grass and harvest alligator weed for fodder.  Grass cutters sometimes cut Typha too.


Inlets

There are four primary inlets: 
  • STP treated water  enters from the north into the wetland.
  • Naala 1 -  Mix of storm and sewage flowing from Agrahara lake outlet enters from the east of the lake and is let into the lake directly.
  • Naala 2 - Mix of storm water  and sewage water enters from the north of the lake into the wetland.
  • Naala 3 - Presently, there is no inflow of wastewater from this inlet as that part of the drain opening into the lake was reportedly blocked by some chemical industry. We were also told that, prior to closing the drain, the overflow from Shivanahalli lake used to enter Jakkur Lake through this inlet

Outlets

There are two outlets in the southern side of the lake. Both of the lake outlets are overflow structures in the south of the lake. The two outlet naalas converge downstream and flow to Rachenahalli Lake.


Maintenance of Wetland 

     

 A 7-acre constructed wetland in the north of the lake has mostly been left to grow naturally. This wetland accounts for approximately 4.4% of the total lake area. There is a bund created with an outlet into the lake. There are species of plants in the wetland such as Typha, Alligator weed, Water Hyacinth.
  

   
Alligator Weed                                                           Duck Weed

                                
Water Hyacinth                                                          Typha

Harvesting and cutting of Hyacinth and Typha

  • With untreated sewage water entering, there is growth of Hyacinth in the wetland and lake.  It is observed that the growth of Hyacinth increases when the inflow of sewage water increases. It is also observed that the plant species thrive during monsoon season.
  • Hyacinth is harvested to control their growth. They are usually left to complete their life cycle and removed when dry.  
  • Typha is also seen in plenty around the wetland. Dry Typha is cut by the women and the grass cutters.

Water Quality

  • Water quality data of the STP treated water which is let into the wetland is maintained by BWSSB.
  • KSPCB collects water from 5 different locations and does the analysis periodically.
  • Atree research paper:  http://www.ias.ac.in/article/fulltext/reso/022/03/0279-0290  
  • Dr TV Ramachandra’s  research paper: http://wgbis.ces.iisc.ernet.in/biodiversity/pubs/ETR/ETR76/sec6.html
  • Dr. Chanakya’s(IISc) students check for microbial and algae growth.  They are studying water quality for  microbial content.



Maintenance of lake and surrounding area
  • Jala Poshan, a not-for-profit organization officially took over the lake in 2014. It has played an important role in rejuvenating the lake by organizing resources such as labour and finances and driving the work at Jakkur Lake by coordinating between various organizations and monitoring the progress of the work. They have recently started  experimenting with floating wetlands in the lake.
  • Installed leaf composters, Vermicompost pits, Composting sheds and hedges
  • Created Butterfly garden and planted trees. There are over 5000 trees around the lake.
  • In addition to Jala Poshan volunteers, there are 3 groups involved in maintenance of the Lake. 
    • Women from self help group 
    • Fishermen
    • Grass Cutters

Women from self help group
  • 160 acre lake with 5 km perimeter requires lots of maintenance. Jala Poshan has appointed 6 women from the self help group to clean the land area around the lake. They deweed, cut grass and prune the trees which are then composted. Male labourers are hired temporarily whenever required.
  • Leaf composters are placed around the lake. Cow dung slurry is used to accelerate the composting process.  Twigs are composted in pits. 
  • There are Vermicompost pits, 

Grass Cutters


  • Are from nearby villages who cut grass in the lake; Grass Cutters harvest Alligator weed from the shoreline  which is used as fodder for their livestock
  • They visit the lake everyday and have free access to the lake.  
  • Being native to the area they are sensitive to the environment and do not destroy it.  
  • They cut grass/weed in a manner where it shoots again and take only those species of plants/grass which is useful to the livestock.
  • They are not paid by Jala Poshan but are able to take the grass for free for their own purposes

Fishermen
  
Pic by Dr. Annapurna
  • Spend their time fishing and keeping the main water body clean. 
  • Keep the lake clean from garbage(paper/plastic).
  • Harvest hyacinth and other weed which may then be used for compost. 
  • Maintain a narrow line of hyacinth along the shoreline and also at the inlets and outlets at all times.
  • Fisheries department is notified if there are issues with water quality. The department suggests solutions to the fishermen who are then responsible for carrying out those tasks. It is in their interest to ensure the lake is healthy as it will allow for a better fish population. 
  • When Jala Poshan brings an expert to the lake, fishermen are always present in order to understand and make the required changes. 


Safety Measures
All the workers have access to a shed that holds protective gear such as gloves, shoes, and life jackets. In many cases, the workers prefer to go without as they believe the gear hinders their ability to work. However, Jala Poshan requires them to wear shoes when working in areas with tall grasses which may be home to snakes. 


Funds
The maintenance of the lake costs between 1.5-2 lakh INR per month. While the BBMP does not allow official income-generating activities at the lake, it allows Jala Poshan to hold fundraising events that help offset the costs of maintenance and improvements. In addition, this work is funded through Jala Poshan by their donors and any dedicated BBMP funds. 


Challenges
Funding
  • Maintenance of Wetland has been a challenge as it is growing naturally since it was constructed in 2008. Jalaposhan is waiting for funding from BBMP to rejuvenate the wetland. 

STP downtime
  • It has been observed that sometimes the aerator of the STP stops. The reason for this and the quality of water entering the wetland is not known.

Sewage 
  • Sewage enters directly into the lake through some inlets. Plan is to raise the height of the inlet by one brick to increase the retention time of the water. Water Hyacinth growing at the inlet will help in purifying the water to some extent before it enters the lake.

Chemicals in SWD
  • Some textile industries (side stream of the lake) use dyes, and waste water from these industries was being let into the storm water drain without treating.
  • Fisherman and Jala Poshan members look out for the turbidity and frothing of the water which enters from the storm water drains. If the turbidity increases they get the water analysed. Frothing in the water is an indication of effluents/chemicals in it. This is then traced back to the industries.

Disconnected SWD
  • A SWD has been disconnected as part of the drain is blocked by some chemical industries. There is no water entering the lake from this inlet. Jala Poshan members plan to define the SWD and rejuvenate the 3 SWD at the lake by approaching the SWD department of BBMP to get the work done.
  • Also, one of the outlets is closed due to a railway line.

Future plans
  • Jala Poshan members are thinking of recreating/rejuvenating the wetland and provide easy access to different parts of the wetland by means of vertical and horizontal partitions. 
  • Increasing the bund height by 1 to 2 feet will help in maintenance and retention of water for longer period in the wetland before getting into the lake.
  • Have a wetland maintenance plan which would allow the grasscutters, fishermen, and other stakeholders to agree upon and work under the same guidelines with regards to the harvesting of various plant species. 
  • Engage with experts Dr. TV Ramachandra, Mr.Yellappa Reddy, Atree, Mr. Vishwanath and others to scientifically come up with a plan for maintenance of the wetland.

Contact Info

References






Products made with Typha and other natural fibres




CRAFT SPACE at DURGADAHALLI

Wetland, a land area which is saturated with water sees many aquatic plants in it. Some of these species like Typha are very fibrous in nature. Most of these species have a short life cycle. At the end of their lifecycle these species fall into the water creating large amount of organic matter. When harvested these are either used as fodder for livestock or composted by some. These are also harvested and utilised by the locals around the lake and used for making products. 

Traditionally natural fibres have been used to make utilitarian/craft products. These fibrous plants are harvested and used, thereby reducing organic matter and keeping the water clean.   In Bangalore one can find these species in abundance around Lakes and Wetlands. 

Mr. Gopi has been working with several communities and mentoring several NGO's in utilising natural fibres to make products. He has currently set up a Craft Space at Durgadahalli. Mr. Dinesh founder of a Not for Profit organization, Janastu, is partnering with Mr Gopi in this project.


Craft Space is located in a beautiful location surrounded by hills, at the foothills of Devarayanadurga, near Tumkur.

Few of us visited Durgadahalli to see and understand the work done at Craft Space.



There are various products made at Craft Space by craftsmen/women using natural fibres. Different materials such as Typha, Areka, Coconut, Banana, certain type of Grass, wild gourd etc are used.

The general process is 

      Material available is harvested and dried and stored for further use.

      The raw material required is taken and soaked in water for 20-30 minutes, cut to the required size and weaved into various products.



           
The above basket is made using Typha




In the above pic
1.Small bowl is made using Gourd and Typha
2.The center big basket is made using Banana fiber
3.Small pen holder is made using grass

The link here provides more pictures and details about their activity.

Mr. Gopi and Mr. Dinesh are happy to share their knowledge with interested people.  They organise workshops and also take orders.


Contact : TB Dinesh at dinesh@servelots.com
                Ph. No. : +91 9731666663



Monday, March 12, 2018

Neeru Project at Sanjaynagar, Bengaluru

Biome Environmental Trust (Biome) participated in an event hosted by Sanjaynagar residents and local welfare associations. The event was called 'Neeru Project'. The aim of this was to educate people and create awareness about rainwater harvesting and water conservation. It was an interesting initiative. And we are glad to say that many people turned up for conversing with us and know more about what can be done in their house, apartment, parks, etc. People shared their personal stories of water conservation.

We met a gentleman who has done rainwater harvesting at his house a decade back. He uses rainwater for all purposes except drinking purpose and mentioned that 6-7 months of the year, the households needs are sufficed through rainwater alone. There were interesting stories about open wells in the neighborhood (though we couldn't go and see it), and shallow borewells and deep borewells.

The local corporator also made a visit. A request for creating groundwater recharge wells especially in the common places like parks was made to him. And we were glad that, post the event, we were again invited to inspect the public parks and suggest locations of the recharge wells. Hoping for many more recharge wells in the Sanjaynagar neighborhood.

Some photos below that capture the event:

Newspaper coverage of the event

Communication material

All prepped up for the event!!

Local Corporator visits us

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Namma shaleyalli beleda banana

Hebbedara Metillu - a small village off Kanakapura Road, that does not even show up on Google Maps. The Head mistress of the lower primary school in the village was keen that RWH be implemented in the school and that the tiny students of the school be spoken to about the need for rainwater harvesting and water conservation. She found our number and requested us for the same. She said she would help us out by identifying a local contractor, material etc and only needed some guidance and some financial support. We managed to raise some funds, go out to the dot on the map and actually managed to get RWH implemented. It rained, their tank filled up and they called to thank us. About a year has gone by since. Now they send us this "Namma shaleyalli beleda banana" (banana grown in our school) - and ask us to swing by and eat their delicious bananas. This was grown with harvested rainwater !!


Saturday, February 24, 2018

Community Groundwater Management in Shantinagar

One of the streets in Shantinagar very close to the BMTC bus depot, floods every rain - upto 6ft standing water, manholes overflow, gets very little or no Cauvery water for most parts of the year. People have dug their own borewells 600ft and deeper but they yield very little water. Most people on the street (about 50 homes) have lived there for more than 30 years and have seen the area grow. The community is very close knit and has known each other forever. Recently drain works have been taken up by the BBMP to clean the larger drains, increase the diameter of the UGDs and storm water drains so as to deal with the flooding issues. As a part of the work the corporator is also considering digging a common borewell and laying supply lines to each of the homes from the borewell. 

One of the ladies from the community called BIOME to explore possible solutions to deal with their water issues. We managed to squeeze a visit to Shantinagar into our schedule and could inform them only a day in advance. It was amazing to see the large turnout for the meeting at short notice. The possibility of investing the "borewell" money for groundwater recharge was suggested and discussed. With some conversations between BIOME and the community it was apparent that the new borewell had little or no chance of being a steady source of water. The recharge wells on the contrary at least would increase the groundwater table. Some more conversations and people took us to see their old open wells. The wells still have water and have not been used in very long. There are memories of the well having water and the well being the source of drinking water when one of the ladies moved into the locality as a new bride. The wells do look unused and there seems to be some contamination as well. BWSSB water is many a time contaminated too. The residents are now keen to revive their opens well, invest in community recharge, implement RWH in each of their homes. The story has to still unfold but we are confident there will be a happy ending and plentiful water when they need it 
The meeting

Water at 8ft below ground level

looking around 

another well - water is cleaner - with RWH

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

TG Halli Reservoir Report

Summary
TG Halli Reservoir(TGR), also known as TG Halli Dam or Chamarajsagar, is a man-made reservoir built by constructing a dam in the year 1933. The reservoir lies at the confluence of Arkavathy River and Kumudvathy River 35 kms west of Bangalore[2].

The size of the TGR is as follows:
Catchment area
1453 sq. km
Covers parts of Doddaballapur, Nelamangala, Devanahalli, Magadi and Bangalore taluks.[3]
Depth
75 ft
Storage capacity
3.345 tmcft(Approximately 280,00,000 cum)                     1 tmcft= 2.83168466×1010 litres

During our visit to TG Halli on 18/01/2018, we observed that there isn’t any walking path around the lake, however, the reservoir has multiple entry points to reach close to water body. There is no STP at the reservoir, but during our visit to the reservoir, we were told that the treated water from Nagasandra STP joins the Arkavathi river before it enters the reservoir.

While there are no constructed wetlands throughout the reservoir, we observed natural growth of wetland species such as Water Hyacinth at certain points in the reservoir.


 TG Halli Catchment area[4]








Overview and Observations
The water from TGR is currently being used for irrigation purposes. However, until about 2012, the water was being used for drinking purposes as well. Because the water quality was found to be substandard and the water quantity reducing significantly, its usage for drinking purpose stopped[1]. 



There have been numerous articles on the water quality of TGR which mention that the TDS was beyond 500 ppm and both BOD and COD were way higher than acceptable levels. But, due to heavy rains Bangalore has witnessed this year, it was said that the water quality has improved to an extent that the TDS, BOD, and COD levels of inlet water at the confluence of Arkavathi and TGR were 450 ppm, 5 ppm, and 120 ppm respectively. The BOD and COD of the water at the outlet after the TGR water has been treated using WTP are 4 ppm and 30 ppm, respectively. The current level of the water is 66 ft and it was said that the water level has significantly increased in the last 6 months owing to heavy rainfall.

Water Hyacinth is found to grow in certain parts along the edges of the reservoir.

We observed significant algae buildup on the sides of the reservoir and the water colour seemed to be greenish.

Fishing is done in TGR. However, more information about who is allowed to fish is not available.

The Reservoir
Two inlets from which water would enter TGR are summarized below.
Inlet
Name
Description
Photos
1
Arkavathy River
Mix of storm, sewage, treated STP water and effluent from various industrial estates enter the TGR through Arkavathi river. The engineer incharge of TG Halli informed us that Arkavathi river flows through Harekyathnalli, Kithnalli Bridge and Varthur Bridge before entering the TGR near Naganalli.

2
Kumduvathy River
We were told that currently, no water enters TGR through Kumduvathy river as the river has dried up.  







Pictures not available

There is one reservoir outlet which flows through a channel after the TGR water is treated using WTP. This water is being used for agricultural purposes and further flows into Manchinabele and Mekedatu Rivers.

The STP
The Nagasandra and Chikkabanavara STPs which are of 20 and 5 MLD capacities are upstream of TGR. It was said that the Nagasandra STP treated water is let into the Arkavathy river which enters TGR. However, we believe that treated water from various STPs could enter into Arkavathy river.




The Wetlands
Currently, there are no constructed wetlands in TGR. However, we observed floating wetland species along the edges at some parts of the lake.



It was reported in Deccan Herald on 30th Jan 2018 that the ambitious project to treat sewage in Arkavathi river flowing into TG Halli has been awarded to Hyderabad based Akhil Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. The cost of the project is 11.49 crore rupees and the technology that would be adopted is Natural Biological System(NBS) which uses engineered wetlands to treat wastewater.



Contact Info
Dr. P. N. Ravindra- CE(BWSSB): 09845444127, drpnravindra@gmail.com
Vivek- AE(BWSSB): 07411797586
Chetan-Engineer/Chemist(BWSSB): 08095843909, chethanmsvrajtkh@gmail.com
Ramakrishne Gowda- AE(BWSSB): 09845655146


References