Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seeing is Believing : BIOME organizes a trip to Rainbow Drive

Rainbow Drive, a layout on Sarjapura Road spread over 34 acres now has 320+ recharge wells of varying sizes (the highest density of recharge wells in Bangalore - capable of recharging a minimum of 1.3ML of water per rainfall event). Continuous and intensive ground water recharge has resulted in the shallowest borewell of 250ft yielding over 1 lakh litres of water per day . The layout is mostly self sufficient for its water needs and is able to guarantee 20KL per month to all households - this, in an area where most other residential localities are buying water.  The achievement of the community has been way more than just raising the funds to create the infrastructure for rainwater harvesting.

Introduction of an intelligent water tariff and several knowledge sessions with residents has resulted in a community that is very responsible with its water and which is also fairly aware and proud of what it has achieved. BIOME helped catalyse this process in 2008 with help from key residents in this layout by conducting the first knowledge session around RWH and digging the first 10 recharge wells

Pictures below document the visit of key Water Experts from across India (from ACWADAM, Arghyam, WASSAN, Megh Pyne Abhiyan) that are working on Participatory Ground Water Management. There is deep acknowledgement from the Water Experts of what the community has achieved. Only a visit to the layout can tell you the complete story - Seeing is Believing

The first well that was dug -
now holds some water
Muniyappa and Pedanna - 2 well diggers

6ft diameter and  40ft deep well
- 32,000 litres
Not many people are digging wells this
size in Urban India

Well digging in progress
Thats how rings are lowered

A recharge well - but with Pulley and the works -
waiting to fill up with water - HOPE

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In the DNA: "Bangalore and Its Water" by Vishwanath

A very simply and succinctly written article by Vishwanath Srikantaiah on how Bangalore used to get its water, the current state of water management and what would be a wiser way to manage water in the future
The full article is here
So What If Pipelines dont give Water. Skies do

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Words of Praise - from the Earthian Community

BIOME Trust put in significant effort into conceptualising and putting together the resources for this year's Water themed Earthian Programme.  All the Booklets and Videos that were put together as resources are here . We are glad to share words of acknowledgement from the Earthian community


Dear Shubha, Vishwanath,

Wanted to share a quick note of thanks for all the great work done on the Water Activity booklet and also the support in making the videos… please do share this with others from Biome who helped out on this.
Both these were very central to this year’s earthian program. They were both well used by the participants and there are many words of feedback and thanks from the schools in having such a set of resources. One such feedback is below:

On Wednesday, 13 November 2013 4:33 PM, Jayanthi Sridhar (CBSE) <> wrote:
Dear Shaheen
Thanks.One person called back from the earthian team and clarified my doubts,after I sent you this mail.
Students who worked hard on this have really learnt a lot and are thinking  differently ,some have become more eco conscious.Some teams have shown great team work and time management The format this year demanded more time but it's worth it!
Kudos to you and your team for putting this together!
Dinni :Sorry for the trouble
Warm Regards

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Muniyappa buys a TATA SUMO

Muniyappa (in white), a well digger known to BIOME for very many years now buys his own TATA SUMO. He says it makes it easier for his team of well diggers to get to work alongwith their tools -  on time. Despite the larger vehicle it is a tight fit for the entire team to get to site. Since he does not know driving he has got a driver who can also double up as a well digger - thereby saving space.  His youngest son (in the checked shirt) has learned to drive the SUMO.

BIOME is delighted to have enabled this and Muniyappa gracious to acknowledge.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rainwater Harvesting Project Phase 2 in Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Engineering, Bangalore

Rashtriya Vidyalaya College of Engineering (RVCE) spread over 52.5 acres is located in the Bangalore Mysore road (between Jnanabharathi and Kengeri). There are seven borewells and one open well in the campus area. Due to continuous pumping of the borewells (to the tune of 7-8 hours a day), there is a significant risk of over exploiting the aquifer. The total water consumption of the campus is pegged at around 500 kilo litres (KL) per day of which BWSSB supply is around 40 KL per day and the rest is obtained through borewells.

KPMG, as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program identified RVCE for implementation of a rainwater harvesting system. The first phase of this project was executed way back in 2010 with design inputs from Biome The rooftops of three blocks were tapped and directed to a 150 KL sump. This system helped the college in harvesting close to 3 million litres of rooftop runoff annually. Additionally, the overflow from the sump was fed to a recharge well which helped in replenishing the ground water table.

Buoyed by the success of the first phase, the second phase was planned with the intent to increase the quantum of rainwater harvested. This involved tapping rooftops of two hostel blocks (Chamundi and New MV Block) adding up to an area of 2439 sq m. The runoff is directed to two brick masonry filters, whose output is led to a new 50 KL sump. A 3 HP centrifual pump does duty to pump the water from this sump to one of the colleges' existing sump.

The complete system was inaugarated by officials from KPMG on the 23rd October, 2013.

This system has the potential to harvest around 1.6 million litres a year.

The open well in the campus gets the surface runoff of the campus that flows in the storm water drains. Consequently, the well is filled with all kinds of debris and is a picture of neglect in its current state. It is high time that the cleaning up and maintenance of the well is taken up as one of the main action items for the next phase of the rain water harvesting initiative in the college.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do-it-yourself Workshop for children

Rainwater harvesting is becoming an essential tool for citizens of Bangalore. It is not only a piece of theory now, but has been practically implemented. With studies revealing that Bangalore’s lakes are mostly now sewage lakes and majority of them has just depleted has raised the concern for water to a higher extent. Biome as rainwater club provides the knowledge base for rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling as a part of responsible water management initiative. Raising awareness among people especially kids is also a part of this initiative.

This was a workshop with kids of Adarsh Palm retreat located in Outer Ring Road conducted by Subhomita Ghosh Roy from Biome Environmental Solutions on October 19,2013 from 4.30 to 6 PM. Shreya Vissamsetti a kid of Std. XII was the first one who got interested in this. We made a Tippy Tap and a Rain gauge. Tippy Tap is generally used for handwasing purpose to maintain hygiene and also it saves water while handwasing compared to normal tap water. Rain gauge is generally used for rainfall data recording purpose. A week later a workshop was organized for the kids of Adarsh Palm.
Kids were from 6-14 years. About 16 kids were present in the workshop.
Primarily it was information about water issues, purpose and utility for water management and conservation, rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling and what Biome is doing in this regard. The kids were surprised to know certain facts that were completely unknown to them. For example, they were surprised to know that how deep we need to go for searching and getting water from borewell or how rainwater harvesting is done or the extent it can help us.Next it was the turn for them to make rain gauges on their own. They were asked to get a bottle for the workshop from which they made the gauges pretty easily with the markings on it. They learned when and how this instrument is used. They also saw and used the tippy tap that was made previously. Washing hand under it was a fun experience for them.
The last part of this hour-long workshop was the quiz. There were about 20-25 questions on water awareness, water conservation, water issues in Bangalore and India, rainwater harvesting, water recycling. At the end some gifts were presented to all of them.
Rain Gauge
Tippy Tap

The making
Workshop in Progress


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Spatial mapping of Fluoride Contamination in ground water in Mulbagal Taluk, KOLAR District

A spatial map created by Ashwin (an intern who worked with us for 2 months) that plots the fluoride levels in ground water (a source of drinking water) in 280 villages in the Mulbagal Taluk. Ashwin personally tested water from each of these sources for monitoring Fluoride levels. It is interesting to see how the incidence of Fluoride is highest in the Western Part of the Taluk. Above 1ppm or 1mg/l is not permissible in drinking water.

48 villages have above 1ppm and 15 villages are critical with more than 3ppm. A portable test kit from Development Alternatives (Jal TARA) put together by the WIPRO Earthian programme was used for the testing

While it is a little clumsy the map has been inserted in full size so that all the village names are visible :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Rainfall runoff from a Polyhouse

Commercial polyhouses are typically large and require a fair bit of water for watering the plants even in the rainy season as the rain cannot directly fall on the plants. Even a 30mm rain on a polyhouse of 1 acre (about 4000sqm) can result in a runoff of 108,000 litres (this is  equivalent to the daily water requirement of 200 families at about 500 litres per family per day). The runoff water is very clean and must certainly be put to good use. The 2 short videos capture the runoff from one such polyhouse after a short shower - so as to highlight potential for rainwater harvesting

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Another innovation from Mr Reddy : A modified strainer

A design of a rainwater filter, especially for higher rainfall intensities  and larger catchments is always very tricky. Do you design for better quality filtration, easy maintainability or maximum capture of the rainfall endowment ? Of course - in an ideal world - all of the above and some more :)

The products that are currently available in the market that cater to a 500sqm rooftop  and that are wall mountable are expensive and result in a fair bit of water loss. The civil structures (storage type filters) take up a lot of space and are not easy to maintain. A small adaptive innovation from Mr Reddy addresses the above concerns. It is a modified strainer that provides a certain degree of filtration, results in no losses and is relatively easier to maintain. More details in the video

The inventor outside his home
The components of the filter

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rainwater Harvesting in a Govt School in Bijuwara, Bangalore

An initiative by Samyukth Iyer Sequeira - a grade 6 student studying in the Singapore American School - to facilitate access to water for school children in rural Bangalore, has resulted in the commissioning of a rainwater harvesting system in Govt Primary High School in Bijuwara which is around 55 kms from Bangalore city.

The school has two one storey buildings with roof area around 1250 and 800 sq ft respectively. The village Panchayat supplies water once in around 15 days and this is stored in a sump which is around 4000 litres in capacity. There is also a surface level storage tank which currently is in a state of disuse. The daily water consumption is around 1500 litres which is mainly used for toilet flushing, vessel washing and cooking.

By tapping the rooftop from the two buildings, it is possible to harvest a total of 154 KL of water annually assuming an annual rainfall of 900 mm. The downpipes from the two building would be led to a filtration chamber which is then led to a storage tank.

Some of the work in progress pictures:


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An open letter from the students of Government School in Hanumanahalli, Mulbagal Taluk

Ashwin an Intern with BIOME Trust (selected as part of the Earthian program by WIPRO) is working on testing water samples for fluoride in the Kolar district. Grama Vikasa in Devarayasamudra is helping us enable this. So far he has visited 300 villages and has tested samples from 270 ground water sources. We will be sharing the results shortly. In the meanwhile he has engaged with school children and finds them to be very enthusiastic and diligent in testing water samples for fluoride. Children have the highest number of cases of dental fluorosis and are most affected. Here is an open letter to "concerned authorities" to take some action - written and signed by all students of the class

If you can read the "Kannda script" do read the letter


Saturday, July 20, 2013

A report on Groundwater Recharge in the Jakkur Lake : Written by Pia

Pia, an intern with BIOME Trust evaluates possibilities and risks with sewage water reuse. She does this in the context of the Jakkur lake in the North of Bangalore. The aim of the project was to study the nitrate levels of the treated water flowing through Jakkur Lake from the BWSSB sewage treatment plant situated at the inlet, and thereby value the function of the lake as a wastewater treatment and a groundwater recharging system.

The full file is here :

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Core Cutting : A specialised job

Job done - see the neat hole on the top
Rainwater harvesting implementation often involves core cutting. Core cutting is done so as to put the rainwater pipe into an existing concrete sump. Core cutting or Concrete cutting is a process of controlled sawing, drilling and removal of concrete performed by skilled operators using special saws that use diamond impregnated blades.This method leaves a smooth attractive finish and utilizes water so as not to create any dust or mess. 

In Bangalore there are specialized workers and groups that do just this. Even reputed builders make use of their services. It requires for the worker to be strong and skilled as the equipment is heavy and requires a certain degree of strength and finesse to use the same. Once the "core" comes out, the pipe is fixed and water proof plastering is done on the inside as well as outside to prevent any leakages

It takes more than an hour (and a lot pf patience and hard work) to drill through 20 inches of concrete. Pictures and Video from a recently completed job

Marking the location for the core cutting
The Extracted Core
Core cutting in progress
Removing the core

Water for cooling
Hoisting and fixing the equipment

Monday, July 8, 2013

Deccan Herald on World Water Day

BIOME Trust at the EPGP Seminar Series at IIM-Bangalore

BIOME Trust engages with students of  a full time management programme at IIM Bangalore on "Bangalore and its Water Problems and Solutions" as part of a Seminar Series

The students are part of a  full-time Executive Post Graduate Programme (EPGP) which is an intensive one year residential programme at IIM Bangalore created specifically for professionals with remarkable track records and five to fifteen years of work experience in a wide range of industries 

The EPGP Seminar Series provides a platform for students to engage with eminent personalities from different walks of life - artists, scientists, media figures and representatives of NGOs. Organized by the EPGP students themselves, the seminars take place throughout the year approximately once every fortnight.  More details here :

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Drink Rainwater

Drink Rainwater - a nice illustration by Maitri Dore from our office

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CMAK (City Managers' Association, Karnataka) and BIOME Trust

CMAK  is a non profit that provides Advisory Support and Networking as well as organizes workshops and training for the staff of Urban local bodies and Government Institutes responsible for delivering services to the citizens.

They now have a Research Associate dedicated to documenting and disseminating best practices around water conservation and rainwater harvesting. BIOME Trust engages with CMAK and shows them around - introducing them to all the players - the well diggers, the contractors, the residents and the activists. Each player has a significant take about RWH and it is important to understand the same

Did you know that there is a CMA for most states in India ? Amongst other states - Gujarat, MP, Rajasthan and Orissa even have their own websites.
Speaking with well diggers -  Muniyappa
and Pedanna, in Rainbow Drive
Interviewing one of the resident
"champions" for RWH in Rainbow Drive

Engaging with the contractor in
Sunny Brooks
Speaking to the activist

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

We could call ourselves an incubator

Muniyappa's visiting card
And now, Muniyappa our old time well digger has a visiting card. Mr Reddy has invented his own RWH filter and has his own website Ramakrishnappa has a bank account. Sunil has his own company, and there are many more such people and stories.

While each person is an entrepreneur in his or her own right and has put in a lot of effort in being so, BIOME Trust certainly has enabled it to some extent. Our best wishes will always be with them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

BIOME Trust makes it to the final Jury round for FICCI Water Awards 2013

Details about the programme are here :
Our entry is in the category : Water Initiatives by NGOs
Our entry is along the lines of the work that we are doing in Government Schools :
The presentation to the Jury is on 12th July in Delhi

Monday, June 17, 2013

Friday, June 14, 2013

Water Conservation and the Metro - on MG Road

Drip Irrigation
Drip Irrigation
Drip Irrigation

Recharge Wells - they are all along the
METRO tracks - in the medians
The sump - that stores the runoff from the
tracks. This water is used for watering
the plants on the median

Recharge Well - after the rains -
holds some water
Removing the slab of the recharge well