Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Waste Water Treatment & Reuse at Fern's Paradise Layout,Bangalore .

The waste water treatment process at this layout has been revamped as part of the continous water conservation efforts by the water concious residents. Initial waste water treatment system was not preferred by residents because (a)It was not accessibile(due to design)for inspection and maintenance. (b)Output water quality was not consistent. The new Aerated Wastewater Treatment system in use includes 4 stages : (1) Waste water(grey & black) flows into a settlement chamber from all houses. Here settlement of heavy solids and breakdown of solids by microbes/bacteria takes place . (2)Partially clarified waste water from stage 1 is mixed with air to assist bacteria to further treat it. (3)Treated water from stage 2 flows into a second settlement chamber enabling further settlement and breakdown of suspended solids . (4)Stage 3 output is treated with chlorine and other disinfectants . This treated water is good enough to be used for gardening purpose. A local entrepreneur collects the above treated water in a syntax tank mounted on a lorry and sells it to the households for gardening . Due to this innovative distribution system , the water consumption for gardening has come down significantly in many houses of the layout. Check out these video for more ! (1)http://youtu.be/RcfvgP1rPkc (2)http://youtu.be/7MaRxajc3fU

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rainwater Harvesting at Jakkur Govt. School

  Biome has designed and installed a Rainwater Harvesting system(RWH) for the government school in Jakkur , located at outskirts of Bangalore. An awareness session on RWH was also conducted by the Biome team for the school students . These activities were conducted as part of a CSR initiative by a leading MNC .
   The rainwater harvesting system has been designed to harvest the rain falling on the school's flat rooftop (approx 10,000sq ft area) . As per the existing construction , all the rooftop rainwater was being drained out by 4 downpipes located on the rear wall of school building . Hence this water was of no use to the school. To harvest this rainwater ,the downpipes have been connected to a horizontal pipe with a gradual downward gradient along the wall. This pipe after collecting water from all the down pipes carries the water into a new storage tank of approx 8000L storage capacity located on the front side of the school building.This storage tank has been made by utilizing a cylinderical cistern lying unused in the school premises. An overflow provision has been given from this new tank to an existing , adjacent storage tank. A first rain separator takes care of draining out the initial rain which has the maximum contaminants.The tanks have been closed with top slab covers.Also, taps have been provided at the base of these tanks for drawing out water.
   Its interesting to note here , by constructing the storage tank above the ground and by utilizing stone slabs and cisterns, otherwise lying unused in the school , the overall cost and duration of construction have been reduced significantly.
   To generate awareness about rain water harvesting an interactive session was held with students and a site tour demonstrating the new RWH system was conducted .School students along with the energetic employees from the MNC volunteered to clean the rooftop to be used for rainwater collection. To prevent clogging of pipes and to maintain good quality of water, students were encouraged to regularly clean the rooftop and monitor the RWH system. The collected water can be used for gardening and washing utensils after midday meals in the school.
   Through this exercise it is hoped that not only will the school be able to meet its water needs more efficiently , but with students as participants in the whole exercise, the message of sustainable water management using rain water harvesting will go well beyond the boundaries of the school !

First Rain Seperator

Interactions with students

Overflow pipe

Storage tanks with taps(Left tank is new, Right tank is older)

Front side pipe network

Backside collection pipe (going to the front side)

Backside downpipe & collection pipe (going to the front side)

View of 2 slab covered storage tanks from top .

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Women and Water : Catalysing Leadership in Bangalore

Biome presented a paper at the National Conference on "Women-led Water Management: strategies towards water sustainability in rural India" held on Nov 5-6, 2012, at Gurgaon, Haryana. The Conference was jointly organized by The Institute of Rural Research and Development and UNICEF India. The link below directs you to the presentation that was made.

The role of women and water in running households, whether urban or rural, rich or poor, illiterate or educated cannot be overemphasized. It is but natural and intuitive to assume that women should play a key role in policy-making around water. However, much like across rural India this role is mainly played by men - even in the cities. This paper follows two different scenarios in and around Bangalore where women have come forward to play water policymaker roles. In both cases women have not only looked at water from a sourcing, supply and management point of view but primarily from a view of ensuring sustainability.

The first scenario illustrates the coming together of key women members in the water committee of a Resident Welfare Association (RWA) in a high-income, gated community called Ferns Paradise. These women invested much of their time, effort and money to ensure sustainable water supply by looking at demand management, rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment. The second scenario highlights the efforts of teachers, cooks, and female community group members in rural Bangalore, and the challenges they overcame to secure their village water supply.

Although apparently from opposite worlds, this paper shows that the two communities had the common interest of ensuring sustainable water supply especially for the future generations. Our organisation Biome (Biome Environmental Trust) was able to observe their successes as they unfolded first hand.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Deep, Deeper, Deepest

A rare cuboid shaped  100ft deep well in Byrapura, Devanahalli  - privately owned by Venkatesh. It really is quite a site to see. Also hard to imagine how it might have been dug

Much like all other wells in the area, this well too has run dry. Venkatesh says its been dry the past 10 years. When he was a teenager he remembers swimming in the well. When he was still younger he thinks it used to fill to the brim. The ledges (for placing the motor) at different levels - deeper every time -  tell the story of the falling water levels.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Biome Trust has a new address

Hi all, we have now shifted to a new office located in Vidyaranyapura itself. The address is: 291, 1st Cross, BEL Layout, Vidyaranyapura, Bangalore 560097. Phone number: 080-4113 1908

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Mr Reddy designs and builds a rainwater filter

Mr Reddy one of our very experienced rainwater harvesting contractors decided to put together his own rainwater filter. It had to be of lower cost, easy on maintenance and of course do a good job of the filtration. Made with pipe fittings available in the market. Fully hand crafted - the slots, the tying up of the stainless steel mesh. 

About 6 months of research and trial and error went into putting this filter together. Each design challenge was dealt with a lot of care and effort.  Prevention of leakages, managing peak rainfall and overflow and robustness required a lot of thought and trying out with different materials. 

The most thoughtful add on feature - not available with any other commercial filter in the market - a ready brush to clean it with ! The product is still not in the market - there are enquiries from the local hardware shops though. In Beta testing. Its called KAVERI-RF100 (neatly hand written)

Wishing him all the very best  !!

The inventor and his invention
Slotted PVC pipe with stainless steel mesh

The insides

Explaining the usage

On Chai with Lakshmi

How can a residential layout go about harvesting rainwater

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wat'er We Doing: A 7 day workshop on Sustainable Water Management for children

A 7 day workshop on Bangalore Water organized by BIOME and CMCA for 13-14 years olds from various schools earlier this year. The workshop included trips to BWSSB STPs, Large Wells, Lakes, Urban Slums, Layouts and interaction with various people vis-a-vis water. The children also performed hands on experiments on ground water and water testing. A blog maintained by the kids detailing their activities is available at http://sciencefestival2012.blogspot.in/. This workshop was part of a larger programme for a French American Science Festival where various schools are exploring issues/solutions around water and sanitation. This is  movie that documents the workshop and will be screened at the festival.

Playspaces for the Visually Impaired

Biome helps design thoughtful and sensitive playspaces for the visually impaired at 2 Blind Schools in Bangalore - Sree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind, JP Nagar and  Mathru Education Trust for the Blind at Yelahanka alongwith Kilikili. With support from Bosch

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Of water tankers and borewell motor thefts

1. Saw perhaps one of the largest water tankers in Bangalore . It could have been 24KL. On Old Airport Road

Tried getting a picture to capture the enormity but could not quite succeed. The tanker was still to be labelled.

2. Heard of 2 strange thefts - one a failed attempt and another one successful. There are thieves out to steal borewell motors. In both cases the people dependent on the borewells had to go without water for a few days after. In the case of the failed attempt - the motor stayed in but got disconnected. In the successful theft the motor was of course gone. City water stories never fail to amaze.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Rajiv - hands on - taking down a filter for cleaning

Anything here ? 

Releasing water to lighten the filter

The clogged filter
Job done

Recently we had a case of a clogged filter and a lot of overflow because of that. Here Rajiv helps take down the filter cartridge for cleaning. Online Rainwater filters with a very fine mesh can get clogged even with the tiniest particles of dirt. A rainwater filter has to be designed to optimise the capture of rainfall of appropriate quantity and quality

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Water stories in Bangalore - A Crisis or an opportunity ?

A Crisis or an opportunity ?

Walking on a narrow a mud-road in Vignana Nagar, I need to follow a water tanker “watering” the road to keep dust levels down, to get to my destination.  And as I walk in to the layout I am headed to – a plush row-housing layout of about 200 households on 28 acres - the story of its water begins to unfold. 
This layout is right next to the Doddanekkundi lake and was built around 7 years ago.  With no access to piped water supply from the city, the layout was completely dependent on ground-water.  Six borewells with depths varying from 200ft to 500ft extracted water from mother earth meeting the needs of the layout for all domestic purposes, to water the gardens and to run a club-house.  The water was supplied after centralized treatment through a hi-tech set of hydro-pneumatic pumps maintaining pre-set pressures in the pipes in all houses.  All the waste-water was treated in an STP. In the beginning at low occupancies while STP treated water was used for gardening, it did not suffice.  All the houses were consumption metered, though initially the meters were not seen as too important. 

Time passed and occupancy increased. The area also started developing with other apartments and layouts emerging around, each of them digging their borewells too.  The yields of borewells this layout had started decreasing and finally the borwells started going dry.  Water tanker suppliers as a substitute source were not always reliable. The layout had to respond.  The Resident welfare association (RWA)  started taking the water consumption meters seriously - and introduced increasing block tariffs.  With increased occupancy they had more treated waste-water and they ensured that no gardening was done with fresh water.  The RWA engaged with people to control demand.  And they brought down the demand from around 500 lpcd down to a more acceptable 250 lpcd.  “In our hydrpneumatic system a lot of water goes down the flush”, acknowledges one of the RWA representatives.  Water scarcity continued to be a reality, and so was the search for augmenting supply.

Storing and using harvested rooftop rainwater was an option – but given the hydro-pneumatic pumping systems they had, it was not easy to “plug” this solution in easily.  The investigations of how rainwater harvesting could help solve the problems continued.   In around 5 years, however, all their borewells went dry and they had to dig new borewells.  In the last two years, 3 new borewells have been dug.  Notably, all these 3 new borewells are between 800ft – 1000ft in depth – much deeper than their earlier borewells.  Rainwater harvesting now recharges groundwater in this layout.  The dried borewells are being used as recharge structures – rainfall runoff is diverted, filtered and recharged into some of these dried borewells.  Apart from these 170 shallow 10 ft wells recharge ground water too.  “We understand that the water recharged may not come to us”, says an RWA committee member, “but as long as it recharges groundwater, we will not ask who is using it.  We will continue to recharge, and we will try and continue to invest in recharge”.

Does this story not reflect what is happening in Bangalore (and perhaps other cities in India)?  And does the action of this layout’s not represent some of the solutions Bangalore needs for its water story to be fixed?  And I see these stories repeating itself in house after house, apartment after apartment, layout after layout.    Should Bangalore fix its water problems a house, an apartment and a layout at a time?  In every crisis, it is said, lies an opportunity.  Can Bangalore seize it?

Avinash Krishnamurthy
7 july 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Sunday Morning Well Spent


Residents of Rainbow Drive and Royal Placid - both gated layouts off Sarjapura Road exchange their water stories. Ground water recharge has benefited Rainbow Drive greatly and they share their stories with a lot of warmth and empathy with the Royal Placid residents. Royal Placid is all set to embark on their RWH trip

Monday, May 14, 2012

Wat'er we Doing - Water Workshop for Children

Hard at Work - posters
Interactive session with Mr Vishwanath
The Banner
Poster in Kannada
Informal chat  during snacks break
A week long workshop on "Bangalore and its Water" for about 20 children from various schools organized by the CMCA. Pictures from the first day of the workshop

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Visit to ferns paradise

                                                     Visit to Ferns Paradise

                                                   Doddanekundi, Bangalore.

Date of visit: 07/05/2012
Aim: To check the recharge rate of the borewells ( which have not been used almost since 5years because it is not yelding enough water.)
 Borewell 1 : on 6th street
 Borewell 2:  on 2nd street.

Current plan: To convert the dried up borewell as recharge structures by supplying it with rain water. This is done by allowing water from the recharge well through the recharge structure (helps in filtration) and the water seeps into the aquifer and can be used whenever needed.

How is it done?
Recharge wells: Circular structures which have a diameter of 3-5ft (1-1.5m) and is approximately 20ft deep. The rain water is allowed to stand, such that the silt settles down.
 The water form here is sent to the recharge structure which is present around the borewell pipe.The recharge structure is filled with aggregates of different sizes and acts as a purifer. The borewell pipe is perrforated at a height half way from the recharge structure (this way the water would have passed through the soil filters in the recharge structure) and then enters the borewell through the perforation which is covered by net one mesh.
  This water then reaches the aquifer which will help to replenish the surrounding borewells and can be drawn up with the help of a borewell pump.                           
  • To check the rate of absorption :
Water Level Indicator used to measure the depth of water

A tanker was called and the water was directly sent into the borewell.
Water suppied from the tanker
The readings for the rate of water receding was as follows :
Borewell 1:  For 10mts it took 2mins
                     For 16mts it took 4mins 22 sec
                     For 17.5mts it took 7 mins.
             It took 20mins to absorb 3000lts.

Borewell 2: All the water was absorbed at once. Approximately 4,500lts was absorbed in 12mins.

     Hence among the two canditates the proposed plan will be implemented to the 2nd borewell.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Report - Visit to Government Girls School, Vijayapura.


Project Details: 

Date of inspection: 28/04/2012
Location: Government Girls School, Vijayapura, 14kms away from Devanhalli, Bangalore Rural.
Current problem faced by the school:  Government not supplying adequate water to meet the needs of the school.
Date of starting construction for the project: 26/04/2012
Expected date of completion : 12/05/2012
Project sponsored by: Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions
Planned and designed by : Biome Environmental Solutions.
Current Plan: Project engineer Mr. Ramkrishnappa says the current plan is to collect rain water from the terrace of the entrance building.

entrance of the school

 Pipes are laid in in a fashion such that pipes to the right of the building are smaller in diameter and goes on increasing in diameter (because the volume of water increases).

existing pipe to the right of the building

pipes to the left of the building

Mr.Ramkrishnappa and Karan checking the location 

These pipes are connected to an underground sump of 10,000 litres and the water is stored there.

sump under construction
This water is later pumped to the overhead tank. This water is used in the washrooms for the students and other purposes.

  Some of the water is stored in the ground level tank (of 5,000 litres) and the water from here is mainly used in the kitchen for cooking [For cooking mid-day meals. Mid-day meals : Food cooked at the school. An initiative by the Government of Karnataka for the welfare of the students, which are provided even during holidays]  , washing utensils, etc.
                                                                                                   -Photos and text by :

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An electricity meter Made in Greece

The idea was to get BBMP to recharge common borewells in common areas. In the process of identifying these borewells in a layout Off Haralur Road came across this electricity meter "Made in Greece" !! Ever wondered where electricity meters are made ? Carefully look into the Electricity Meter picture to notice the "Made in Greece"