Monday, March 31, 2014


RWH Mela organized by BIOME and WIPRO on 22nd March 2014

A Short Summary of the Presentations and the Stalls

Stalls were setup by :
  1. Muniyappa the Well digger (RWH) : 94485-70684
  2. BIOME (RWH) :, 4167-2790
  3. Green Zone (RWH)7204479448,
  4. ANCEnergyTech (Water Metering)8904068003,
  5. TerraGreen (RWH)8123410516,
  6. EcoServ Solutions (Waste Water Treatment)9900102008,
  7. REVA College9845900053,
  8. NIE CREST,, 8214004914
  9. Rainway Filter (RWH), 7760044823
  10. CDD (Waste Water Treatment)9845151410,
The event included the following speakers
  1. Hari Hegde (WIPRO) : Welcome address and Context Setting
  2. Rajiv Hemanth (BIOME) : How to implement Rainwater Harvesting
  3. Sunil Mysore (HINREN) : Case study of RWH implementation at an apartment:  Nagarjuna Enclave
  4. Srinivasan Sekhar (ECOSERV) : Case study of Complete Water Recycling and Reuse at TZED
  5. Mr KP Singh : Case Study of RWH and other Best Water Practices in a layout Rainbow Drive
  6. Krishna : Status of rejuvenation of Halanayakanahalli Kere
  7. Avinash Krishnamurthy : Launch of the Aquifer Mapping Project
  8. CDD: DEWATS as a methodology for waste water treatment
  9. Vinod Damodaran : Metering in apartments with multiple water inlets
There was also a photography exhibition "Namma Ooru Namma Neeru" setup with help from the Goethe Institute

For any further specific details please contact Shubha (

Word of Acknowledgement from some of the participants

"It was a pleasure to be part of the mela and there was lot to learn from different speakers. Thank you for inviting us to be part of it .

We appreciate the effort that you and other Biome members are putting up to create awareness regarding various aspects related to water.  "

"Thank you, for inviting me to present in this gathering, and for all the backend coordination you did to put together this talk series. Hats off to your enthusiasm, as I can imagine the effort it took to coordinate with so many different speakers, Wipro authorities and the invitees. I hope that one or two would be converted to doing RWH because of this seminar. That would be the best testament for the efforts you undertook."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

RWH Mela on 22nd March 2014 : Resource and Information Page


22nd March is World Water Day 

Wipro in association with Biome invite the community of Sarjapur Road/Bellandur Road area for a 
Rain Water Harvesting Mela  on the 22nd of March 2014 (Saturdayat the
Auditorium, SJP-2, Wipro Corporate Campus, Sarjapur Road Bangalore
Timings : 11:00am to 1:30pm

Please share your rainwater harvesting stories. We will also be sharing details of of the Watershed/Aquifer mapping project for the Sarjapur-Bellandur Watershed area (an area of around 40-50 sq. km.) and how the community can play an important and active role in its development and outcomes.

For registering, please send an e-mail to or call Arathi on 99016 12904


  1. Namma Ooru- Namma Neeru’ - a photography exhibition 
  2. talks by experts on Rainwater Harvesting
  3. Sharing of RWH Stories
  4. stalls and information centers setup by various RWH Service providers
  5. launch of the Participative Aquifer Mapping Project


Posters can be downloaded from here
  1. Low resolution poster for attaching to emails
  2. High resolution poster for print outs

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Meeting with CGWB

Biome went to Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for secondary data collection regarding ground water levels around Sarjapur area of Bangalore.Several interesting facts came into light after the discussion about the city of Bangalore as well as our place of interest.
Dr.Sooryanarayana explained that very few City Municipal Corporations have BWSSB supply and how the water table in these newly added areas are quite deep (about 60-70 m is the depth to water level). In fact seven City Municipal Corporation's have been added to the old Bangalore City Corporation and most of them are heavily ground water dependent with little to no BWSSB supply. Whereas areas like Cubbon Park, an old Bangalore city corporation area, have got good ground water level. When discussing about the role of regulatory authorities and their purview, Dr. Sooryanarayana said that 22 taluks notified by CGWB come under 35 taluks notified by the State Ground Water Authority.

He also informed us that how water quality tests have been done in CGWB on samples from selected observation wells and it was found that nitrate content was quite high indicating sewage mixing. Also 550 observation wells of CGWB have gone dry and monitoring of these wells has been discontinued. The CGWB, he stated, monitors 350 piezometers with one in Sarjapura area where manual monitoring is undertaken. Digital data loggers are not functional hence manual monitoring is done now a days. Also, a heliborne survey was done in Tumkur area to understand groundwater in that area.

When Biome mentioned about its study on mapping Bangalore's aquifer with specific focus on the Sarjapura - Bellandur region, he suggested that we focus on the micro water sheds in the study region and also a good sample size of borewells and their extraction patterns. When Biome asked if open wells could be indicative of the aquifer itself, he remarked that wells in the vicinity of lake may not be representative of the aquifer as they can have water due to perched water condition. The aquifer itself can be either shallow (phreatic) or deep (piezometric) and if we were to determine the age of water then National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) or Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) can do carbon dating and determine age. He also informed that Sarjapur area is over-exploited mainly due to the rapid development that it has seen in the last decade. When asked about any resources that would be helpful for our study, he pointed us to the CGWB's Ground Water Year Book which has details on 30 observation wells.

The solution of Bangalore’s water issue according to Dr.Sooryanarayana could be to treat water from lakes and then use it, rainwater harvesting and then managing demand.
These conversations will be really helpful for us for the future of our study to progress. We hope more cooperation from CGWB in the coming days.

Meetings with KSPCB (March 2014)

In the last couple of days BIOME has been to the KSPCB office twice. This was to clarify a couple of questions that cropped up every time we had any conversations around STP, zero discharge, ground water recharge etc. The main queries were around

  1. Where is the official documentation that makes an STP mandatory (for larger establishments). Who is it mandatory for ? 
  2. If I do have an STP, but no dual plumbing to use it for flushing what do I do with the excess treated water ?  Can I officially let it into a storm water drain , lake ? What do the discharge norms really mean ? Where do I discharge this treated water ? It seems like a shame to put it back into sewer lines alongwith other raw sewage when I have spent significant time and money to treat the water - in the first place. Is it mandatory for me to have dual plumbing ? 
  3. I have an STP and dual plumbing. I am using the water for gardening and flushing. I still have excess treated water. I am told that I should not discharge any treated waste water outside my campus. What do I do ? If I am sending water outside my campus am I breaking the law ? 
  4. I know my treated water quality is good. Is it ok to let it into the ground for ground water recharge ? 
  5. Many lakes in the city are dry. Is it not a good idea to let in treated STP water into lakes - this way there can be a perennial source of water. 
  6. I have an STP and am left with excess treated water. If I am to let this excess water into the BWSSB sewage network I need to pay Rs 100/- per month per home. I have already money treating it. And now to mix this water alongwith other sewerage and that too for a price !
Treated Water Quality

Within sewered areas buildings upto 20,000sqm built up area can discharge into sewerage lines

Who is mandated to have an STP ? 

Forward thinking rules - around energy and flow meters as well as dual plumbing
The above screenshots carry some responses to the queries in the form of official documentations (in this case called OM - short for office memorandum). Here is the spirit behind the other responses that we got (responses not reproduced verbatim)

  1. It is recommended that all people/establishments (whether big or small) treat and reuse their waste water to the extent possible. This is necessitated in part by the absence of a sewage network in places as well as the increasing price and decreasing availability of water. While the costs may seem high at this point in time, increasing cost for water may soon enough catch up with this initial investment. While as of now only the larger generators are mandated to have STPs, it is only likely that over a period of time this rule will apply to all sewage generators
  2. While discharge into lakes and storm water drains is not officially permitted, if a group could, over a period of time, monitor the quality of treated water  on a daily/weekly basis and share the results with the KSPCB and come up with some recommendations for discharge, the KSPCB would be willing to help take the idea further
  3. For tertiary treated water, the best use is land application. Continued disposal to lakes may pollute them as we never know what concentration of pollutants are present in the water we discharge and how will it react with the water in the lake. To be sure of the quality of the treatment, one should create a small pond with treated water. Allow fishes in it. If the fish survives, the quality of treatment is good.
  4. Sharing/Selling/Buying of treated STP water is a good idea, but currently it is limited by the conveyance mechanisms that are available to transport this water
  5. Each establishment is only bound by the rules that were applicable to them at the time of sanctioning the plans. The KSPCB is aware of the high costs of setting up of an STP as well as dual plumbing and hence currently cant mandate it on those that do not already have the infrastructure. However the KSPCB does highly recommend treated water reuse
KSPCB office on Church Street
The Environmental Officer at the HQ of KSPCB (Central office) did express: 
1. It is understandable that it is difficult for people to manage treated waste water without crystal clear rules on what to do.  Yes we know people find it difficult to understand what exactly they are supposed to do.  We also know that builders/real estate developers "exit" the projects and then it becomes peoples problems as the waste water gets generated only after occupancy.  
2. There is a need for stakeholder institutions to come together to resolve some of the questions around Treatment, discharge and reuse of waste water.

It must be said that BIOME could meet with the KSPCB chairman as wells as other  officials that we
wanted to meet, fairly easily (of course after calling up and taking appointments) and each of them gave us a patient hearing and very thought through responses. It was also apparent that they were very aware of the current limitations in the system and the issues  that we were approaching them with and were already on their way to figuring out something that would work for all. They also saw a need for a body that would see the connectedness in all these issues (lakes, ground water, sewage treatment) and come up with appropriately implementable rules

We came back having decided to keep this conversation going

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Five Large Open Wells near Madiwala Market

Clear Water in one of the wells
There are 5 large, (of diameter greater than 20ft)  open  and perennially yielding wells in the KSRP (Karnataka State Reserve Police) campus in Madiwala. Since there is BWSSB water supply in the area, the well water is currently not used for domestic purposes. Lately the well water has not been tested either. But people on the campus are convinced that this water is of potable quality. Very many years ago this water was used for all domestic purposes.

Will these wells continue to yield water as construction activities around the lakes (that possibly feed these wells ) ensures that there is very little ground water recharge ?

You can see the Silk board
flyover from one of the wells
Water from the well is still pumped and used
Organic matter in the well

Monday, March 10, 2014

RWH Mela on World Water Day at the WIPRO Sarjapura Road Campus

22nd March is World Water Day
Wipro in association with Biome invite the community of Sarjapur Road/Bellandur Road area for a 
Rain Water Harvesting Mela  on the 22nd of March 2014 (Saturday) at the
Auditorium, SJP-2, Wipro Corporate Campus, Sarjapur Road Bangalore

Please share your rainwater harvesting stories. We will also be sharing details of of the Watershed/Aquifer mapping project for the Sarjapur-Bellandur Watershed area (an area of around 40-50 sq. km.) and how the community can play an important and active role in its development and outcomes.

For registering, please send an e-mail to ecoeyewiprocom or call Arathi on 99016 12904

Many Thanks to Maitri for this hand drawn poster !!

Brief Snapshot of nine lakes around Sarjapura road

The lakes in and around the Sarjapura road area need to be understood in greater detail to study their role in the ground water situation in the Sarjapur - Bellandur region. A quick tour of nine lakes revealed the following information.

v  Singasandra lake: Located at 12º52’56.71” N latitude, 77º38’40.84” E longitude, and an altitude of 842 m. BBMP has de-silted the lake with an aim to convert it into a park. The lake area is about 10acres, of which the water body occupies about 8acres. By de-silting, the idea is to make the lake fit for collection of rain water; discharge of wastes into the lake is also being stopped.

Illustration 1: Singasandra Lake

v  Kudlu lake: Located at 12º53’10.47” N latitude, 77º39’58.8” E longitude and 813 m altitude. The lakebed is at present dry. A small pond of water is found inside the kudlu village which is surrounded by naturally formed rocks. This is important as the water looks clean. This pond is located at 12º53’1.66” N latitude, 77º39’21” E and 842 m altitude.


Illustration 2: Kudlu Lake and nearby ‘Bandi’

v  Parappana Agrahara lake: Located at 12º52’46.8” N latitude, 77º39’36.48” E longitude and 831 m altitude. According to the residents of the area, the lake has been filled.

Illustration 3: Parapana Agrahara Lake

v  Kodige Singasandra lake: Located at 12º52’46.30” N latitude, 77º38’32.32” E longitude and 846 m altitude. According to a local, till a couple of years ago, the lake was used as a source for drinking water and fishermen were earning their livelihood by catching the fishes from the lake. But now, the apartments and garment industries around the lake discharge untreated sanitary wastes and the chemical wastes into the lake. The person also added that people have complained about the sorry state of the lake to the BBMP but the authority has failed to take suitable action against the polluters.
Illustration 4: Kodige Singasandra Lake

v  Begur lake: Located at 12º52’41.43” N latitude, 77º37’57.24” E longitude and an altitude of 818 m. The lake was filled with wastes. 

v  Chikka Begur lake: Located at 12º53’1.38” N latitude, 77º38’17.63” E longitude and 816 m altitude. A large number of plants can be seen in this lake.

Illustration 5: Begur and Chikka Begur Lakes

v  Doddakanneli lake: Located at 12º54’46.17” N latitude, 77º41’44.77” E longitude and 809 m altitude. The lake was de-silted, the sanitary waste, previously discharged into this, is now diverted to a separate gutter. The lake will be soon surrounded by roads, and will only depend on rainfall for its water.
Illustration 6: Doddakanneli Lake

v  Dommsandra lake: Located at 12º52’36.19” N latitude, 77º45’4.09” E longitude and 828 m altitude. Lake is filled with soil, it has a borewell nearby which is in working condition.
Illustration 7: Dommasandra Lake

v  Somasundra Palya lake: Located at 12º53’56.77” N latitude, 77º38’55.14” E longitude and 860 m altitude. The lake is filled with sewage. The lake area is about 16 acres and 29 guntas.
 Illustration 8: Somasundra Palya Lake



Saturday, March 8, 2014

Open Well in Kodathi Village, Off Sarjapura Road

Beautiful old open well in Kodathi (Off Sarjapura Road) . Said to have last held water about 15 years ago. We were glad the well had not been filled up and closed. It could revive. Would be good if people
could get together and do ground water recharge in the area.

Groundwater does not have to be got from depths > 800ft (yes - even on Sarjapura Road). There seems to be ample evidence (in the form of old and abandoned open wells)  to support the fact that there was a shallow aquifer in this area at a depth of 20ft and below

An inspiring story on people going back to open wells in the Hindu:

Open Well adjacent to Bellandur Lake

Finally found what we had been looking for. An open well about 10ft in diameter, adjacent to Bellandur lake. The well had water at about 6ft below ground level. The water quality didnt look too good. But the water was certainly being pumped and used for irrigation. Could not find anybody who could tell us more about this well

The well
Subhomita by the well

Pumping the water