The city of Bengaluru has seen tremendous growth across various sectors in the last few decades. The accompanying population influx has invariably put a lot of stress on the available resources, and water is one such critical and indispensable resource. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is the organization responsible for meeting the water demand of Bengaluru city. As per BWSSB the current water demand for the city is 2100 MLD, which is an increase of 50% compared to the demand 10 years ago. This demand is projected to increase further by another 38% by 2031. This inevitably puts enormous stress on the finite water sources, be it external sources like rivers or the local groundwater sources. Therefore it is important to take all possible steps to make sure the available water is used judiciously. The good news is that each of us can take steps to contain this increasing demand for water, be it at individual level, household level, community level or at the level of institutions. BWSSB and Biome Environmental Trust, in collaboration with Citizen Matters and Bangalore Apartments Federation organized a webinar on 20th Nov 2021 to highlight some of the steps that can be taken to limit water consumption and reduce wastage.
The webinar saw participation from senior officers from BWSSB, who spoke about steps taken by the water supply board to manage water demand. Other speakers included Mr Prasanna K V, Vice President of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), Ms Rakshitha ML from Biome, citizen speakers who have taken commendable steps to reduce water consumption in their premises and service providers who provide water metering solutions.
Mr K N Rajiv, Chief Engineer, BWSSB, spoke first and stressed upon the importance of water management for Bengaluru city. A significant amount of water needs is met by a distant source which happens to be the river Cauvery. But even today there is a shortfall of around 8 TMC compared to the demand in Bengaluru city. This demand is somewhat expected to be mitigated by the additional water allocation from Cauvery river by year 2023. Beyond that there is no further allocation planned for the city from external sources, but the demand will continue to rise driven by population expansion in the city. Therefore, he said it is imperative that the available water is managed judiciously by reducing wastage and reusing to the extent possible.
He laid out a set of short and medium term plans that have been identified by BWSSB, a summary of which is listed below:
- Capture and treat 100% wastewater and rejuvenate urban water bodies by 2025
- Indirect potable reuse of 200 MLD from 2025
- Increase wastewater treatment capacity from the present 1560 MLD to 1800 MLD by 2023
- Energy recovery through biosolids management by 2030. The generated energy is to be used to run sewage treatment plants. As of now 1 MW is being generated from the STP at K&C Valley
- Expanding water and wastewater network to newly developed peripheral areas by 2023
- Invest fresh capital to rehabilitate and upgrade the distribution and conveyance network, which is quite old and has aged badly. Target this upgradation by 2029
- Increase recycled water utilisation from present 10% to 15% by 2023
- Increase the number of properties practicing rainwater harvesting from current 1.5 lakhs to 2 lakhs by 2023
Mr Rajiv added that BWSSB is already selling secondary and tertiary treated water obtained from its STPs.
He also highlighted specific BWSSB regulations which are intended to inculcate conscious usage of water and reduce wastage by the consumers. These relate to installation of internal water meters (for buildings with three or more houses) and installation of automatic water level control systems.
Mr Maheshwarappa, Executive Engineer (Revenue Billing - Information Technology), BWSSB, spoke next, and elaborated on how the water supply board has adopted Information Technology to improve water accounting efficiency, bring in ease of bill payment and ease of applying for new water supply connections.
BWSSB services around 10.32 lakh consumers. He said that adoption of SPOT billing devices has enabled on-time billing for consumers. This device takes into consideration the existing consumer data (which is pre-downloaded) and the current meter reading to generate the monthly bill on the spot. This same data is then uploaded securely to the central server using GPRS technology, thus ensuring end to end transparency for consumers.
BWSSB has now completely enabled online payment of water bills, which was not available earlier. Around 46% of the consumers are now using online mode to pay their bills, and around 30% are using Automated Kiosk Machines. Thus bill payment is now very easy.
He also spoke about the Online Water Connection software - he said the software is called Jaladhare. It is an online water supply connection application which is fully web based, and consumers can apply for a new connection using it. Through this application, consumers can apply for water supply and sanitary connections, and they can also choose any one of the options based on their needs.
Mr B M Manjunath, PRO, BWSSB, shared information about Sir M Visvesvaraya Rain Water Harvesting Theme Park and also spoke about installations which can help reduce water consumption. The RWH Theme Park is spread over an area of 1.2 acres and is located at 40th Cross, 8th Main, 5th Block Jayanagar, Bangalore-41. This park was inaugurated in March 2011, with the express intent of increasing awareness among the general public about the importance of water conservation and rainwater harvesting. This was a visionary initiative taken up by BWSSB officials, who realised more than a decade back that managing water demand was crucial for a city like Bengaluru. The park has 26 different types of RWH models, apart from models of various groundwater recharge structures. The park has been serving the purpose of disseminating useful information about water conservation to the public, students and members of residents’ associations. The park is open to the public from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays, and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Sundays.
More information can be found at the BWSSB RWH Theme Park Website: https://bwssb.karnataka.gov.in/new-page/Rain%20Water%20Harvesting/en
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
In the webinar, Mr Manjunath showed one of the RWH models, which is a simple method of capturing rooftop rainwater in a surface tank. This stored water can reduce the household water dependency on external sources like groundwater and BWSSB water supply. He also showed a model of three different types of taps (normal, aerated and flow restrictor) and how each type discharges varying amounts of water. He said, “Most people install normal taps which discharge around 15 ltr per minute. An aerated tap discharges 9 ltr of water per minute and the flow restrictor tap discharges 6 ltr per minute. Therefore by shifting to an aerated tap from normal tap, one can save 6 ltr of water per min. This can add up to significant reduction in overall consumption”
Communities and Organizations helping with Water Demand Management
Prasanna K V, Vice President of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), said that BAF is playing an active role by facilitating all aspects of water management which he categorised as Reduce, Reuse and Replenish. He said that most of the member apartments have installed RWH systems, water meters and aerators. He also said that BAF has facilitated the setting up of self-help groups on social media platforms, where member apartments share best practices for implementing water-saving measures and also seek help from each other on addressing specific water related challenges.
Ms Rakshitha from Biome, said that water use can be managed by consumers in two ways, namely on the supply side (rainwater storage and groundwater recharge) and demand side (water metering, water conservation). Specifically on the demand side management, water metering can help water users become aware of their consumption levels, and at community level this metering can also be used to implement an increasing block tariff. She said that water usage can be reduced by adopting certain simple measures like aerators taps, using treated wastewater for gardening, using sprayers for car washing etc.
More information is available at http://bengaluru.urbanwaters.in
Citizen Speakers and Service Providers
Ms Monisha Varma, resident of Astro Rosewood Regency, Kaikondrahalli, said that the water consumption and the associated cost reduced by about a third after the apartment installed IoT based water meters for individual flats. The meters were installed at a cost of Rs 23 lakhs. Since this initiative has resulted in reduced dependence on costly water tankers, the capital investment is expected to be recovered in about 2 years.
Mr Shameer from SJR Verity, Kasavanahalli, explained how an apartment or layout managing committee can go about bringing in awareness among residents about the need for managing water demand and convincing them to adopt measures to help manage the same. He said that this can be a long drawn out process, but as long as one persists by sharing the relevant information, the residents eventually can be convinced and the results can be very satisfying.
Ms Shubha Ramachandran from Biome, demonstrated a low-cost system to reuse RO reject water for dishwashing at her residence.
In the last segment we also heard from an experienced plumber, Mr Krishnamurthy, who has been installing water meters for over a decade. Based on his experience he said that installation of water meters can bring down the consumption of water anywhere between 30-40 %. He also said that water meters can help detect leakages, thus helping to prevent wastage. Mr Abhilash from WeGot Utilities spoke about smart IoT based water meters and how they can help in managing water usage.
The webinar ended with a Q&A session. The panel of speakers addressed the questions from the audience. The entire webinar was recorded and the video can be viewed at this YouTube link:
The Citizen Matters press article covering this event is available at: