Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Guidelines/Criteria for evaluation of proposals/requests for ground water abstraction (With effect from 16.11.2015)

Conditions for NOC for construction of ground water abstraction structures/ replacement of existing defunct well for individual HH in notified areas: 
  • Permission to be granted for  only for such cases where public water supply system does not exist. The permission shall be valid only till such time there is no public water supply provided. In that case, the abstraction structure shall be exclusively utilized for artificial recharge to ground water or sealed
  • The premises should have only one ground water abstraction structure (either existing or new) to meet the drinking and domestic requirements. No tube-well/bore-well will be constructed, if any working tube-well already exists. In case the existing well has become non-functional and is to be replaced, it should be converted into recharge well, if possible or, properly sealed and no water be pumped from it.
  • The maximum diameter of the tube-well should be restricted to 4P ״ P only and the capacity of the pump should not exceed 1HP. In case of deep water level the capacity/dia of the structure will be decided by the Authority based on the site specific recommendations
  • Concurrent with the construction of ground water abstraction structure, the owner of the tube-well shall undertake artificial recharge to ground water through rainwater harvesting in the premises
  • Borewell log mandatory
The complete document is here :

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Accessing the Data and Rainfall analysis for Halanayakanahalli Gram Panchayat data from Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Center (KSNDMC)

KSNDMC, as the name suggests, has a specific functionality towards the prediction and analysis of natural disasters that can occur, so that preemptive measures can be taken to minimize damage. For such a process, the organization is heavily dependent on scientific approaches using modern technology to record and collate data that can help in coming to educated conclusions. Therefore, KSNDMC is an autonomous institution established under Government of Karnataka. The institution maintains vast amount data pertaining to weather, droughts and other disasters like earthquakes, etc.; that can help in analysis for multiple entities. Here is a diagram articulating the different departments present-

Data Available: Our interaction with KSNDMC was pertaining to the rainfall and weather data specifically. The telemetric raingauge department, in the weather department of KSNDMC records daily rainfall data. In 2013 KSNDMC initiated a process for establishing telemetric rain gauges at every Panchayat in Karnataka to help the farmers in agriculture by providing rainfall data. In addition to telemetric raingauges at Panchayat level, the weather stations are also put up in BBMP wards in Bangalore urban and Bangalore Rural. So far 86 such stations exist in Bangalore urban taluk. The logged in weather data includes- temperature, wind direction, wind speed and humidity. The Panchayat raingauge data is available from last year (2014).The Hobli/taluk level data rainfall is available since the past 30 years.

Method of accessing data and Cost: KSNDMC are very approachable and are very open in sharing their data to various organizations. One of their purpose is to ensure the relevant people are aware of their finding and welcome anyone who wishes to contact them. When it comes to entities that are trusts or NGOs, students, researchers, etc. they do not charge a fee for the data. For private purposes, a fee of Rs. 250 per year of data is charged.

We were looking for rainfall data for Halanayakanahalli GP. We met Mr. Chetan and Ishwar from KSNDMC telemetric rain gauge department. We submitted a letter to them mentioning our data requirement i.e. Halanayakanahalli GP rainfall data since whenever it is available. Though both of them told us that even an email to or requesting information would suffice. After 10 days, the data that we requested for was emailed to us in an excel sheet. Mr. Chetan also called up to ensure that the data has been received by us. The data was in a raw format with no further analysis. It clearly depicted the district, taluk and the hobli of the panchayat of our need, in our case, the Halanayajanahalli GP. Daily rainfall data and sum of monthly rainfall was provided to us since April 2015. 

Rainfall (mm)
Rainfall days
Highest rainfall event (mm)

Quick observations-
  • Month of April (non-monsoon month) received 111.5 mm rainfall in 12 rainy days more than July (monsoon month) with 55.5 mm rainfall in 12 rainy days.
  • June- September: 57 rainy days and 533.5 mm rainfall with August and September with high rainfall
  • Highest rainfall event was seen in October with 81.5 mm rainfall on one day
The data proved to be really useful for our cause for analysis and appeared to be realistic if compared with an educated guess of the rain witnessed on particular days of rainfall events. Their response in sending the data was timely and as they had promised. The details about accessing the information can be obtained from contact details below:

Contact: Chetan/Hemanth/Ishwar, Project Scientists
Contact Number: Chetan (+919538396256) / The toll free numbers on the website also work

Monday, July 13, 2015


The open wells are important structures to understand the ground water of any place for that matter. One can actually connect between the ground water to the surface through the means of open wells. Today, in the time where bore wells are dominating for the extraction of ground water, not many appreciate the importance of an open well. Many wells in the city today are dry but a few wells near Rayasandra kere of Yamalur watershed still yield water and have been maintained beautifully. One of the important tasks in mapping the aquifer of a watershed is to understand the past of that aquifer and this can be achieved by thoroughly studying the open wells of that area. About 21 wells have been identified in Yamalur watershed off Sarjapura road out of which only 2 are yielding. It is important to understand why the other wells have gone dry and what it takes to restore the wells which are not yielding. These dry wells are prone for permanent shut down and due to this, it is important to identify, conserve and restore them. 

A visit to these 21 wells identified in Yamalur watershed off Sarjapura road has been planned on Thursday, 16-7-2015. The schedule for the same is mentioned below.

9:00 – Reach Doddakannelli kere and visit 2 wells around it.

9:30 – Leave for Halanayakanahalli kere

9:45 – Visit 2 wells around Halanayakanahalli kere

10:15 – Leave for Hadosiddapura kere

10:30 – Visit 2 wells around Hadosiddapura kere (One needs to walk a bit to reach the wells from the car parking spot)

11:15 – Leave for Rayasandra kere

11:45 – Visit 3 wells around Rayasandra kere

12:15 – Leave for Choodasandra kere

12:30 – Reach Choodasandra kere and visit 2 wells around it

13:00 – Leave for lunch near Kaikondrahalli kere

14:00 – Leave for Chikka kudlu kere

14:15 – Reach Chikka Kudlu kere and visit 4 wells near it.

15:15 – Leave for Parappana Agrahara kere

15:30 – Reach Parappana Agrahara kere and visit 6 wells around it (One should walk a bit to reach the wells from the car parking spot)


The trip would come to an end after visiting the wells of Parappana Agrahara kere. People who are interested are most welcome to join but they have to arrange their own transport. The event, as according to the schedule, will be for the whole day as there are many wells and are spread across a huge area. It is advisable for the participants to wear shoes, bring a cap and water according to their needs.  

Thursday, July 2, 2015

My well, Our water: Year End Workshop


Urban India is grappling with multiple water management challenges. The groundwater abstraction is increasing day by day yet, our understanding of aquifers- logical unit for groundwater management- is very poor. To understand the nature of aquifers, water balance and most importantly demystify the science of groundwater for citizens by taking the learnings back to the citizens; an experiment was initiated in 2014 called Participatory Aquifer Mapping (PAQM) in Yamalur watershed. It’s been a year since the start and we thought it is time to share the learnings to the citizens and experts -who have been supportive throughout this year- to take their feedback and also to know from them on further process.


The agenda therefore was to share the learnings from the project so far and take feedback from different stakeholders as to how to proceed further. This was important to understand as the aim of the project is not to confine within the academic limits but bridge the gap by demystifying the science of groundwater.


The workshop started with P S Narayan, head of Wipro sustainability initiatives sharing his idea behind Wipro technologies partnering with this project and lending financial support for the initiative.

Dr. Himanshu Kulkarni from ACWADAM- project partner for PAQM- initiated the workshop with a presentation giving overview of groundwater aquifers in the country and the need for participation from citizens and governance institutions in collaboration for effective groundwater management. The presentation can be found here: Groundwater overview in India.

Avinash Krishnamurthy from Biome Environmental Trust, elaborated on the groundwater situation in Bengaluru to set the context of the Participatory Aquifer Mapping project (PAQM). The presentation can be found here: Catalysing a social response to manage groundwater.  The presentation highlighted the fact that in absence of formal institutional services, communities themselves be the champions by sustainably managing the groundwater. A community called Rainbow Drive  layout, located off Sarjapur road, has managed to close the water cycle loop by successfully managing the water within their campus.

Shubha Ramachandran from Biome Environmental Trust then elaborated on the process of aquifer mapping by describing the objectives, outcomes and outputs expected, data collection methods  as well as challenges encountered while collecting data. The detailed presentation can be found here: Process of aquifer mapping

The highlight of the event was indeed the citizen stories: Mr. Naganath Iyer from SJR redwoods shared his experience on the story of their borewell, Mr. Manjunath as an estate manager with Rainbow Drive, Mr. K P Singh from Rainbow drive on a layout's effort towards sustainable water management and lastly Mr. Muniyappa, a well digger from bovi community now involved in construction of recharge wells all across Bengaluru. The stories can be found here: People and Groundwater

The last set of presentation was sharing of interpreted results from the first year of the project. This was done by Kaustubh Mahamuni from ACWADAM. The detailed presentation can be found here: Interpretations of aquifer- interim results. The interim results so far show that the rock type in this region is mostly granite-which is of crystalline typology- with hard rock as a major constituent. Based on the geology it shows that the porosity is low in the region and hence recharging will take a long time as it'll only be through fractures and joints. Furthermore, the data shows that the borewells in the region are tapping water from confined aquifers i.e. at deeper depths where again the recharging becomes difficult.   

The presentation above were interspersed with Question and Answers so that a space is provided for interaction. This was moderated by S. Vishwanath from Biome Environmental Trust.

Mr. Ashwin Mahesh, founder of MapUnity and project partner lending support for developing software component of the project also spoke about knowledge sharing as the existing gap in the current urban scenario. The software component is developed with the intent of creating space for all to share their stories, discuss and engage in communication for knowledge development.  

Responses by participants during the workshop:

Prof. Mohan Kumar, IISc: While appreciating the effort of PAQM, he shed light on the journey of water abstraction from open wells to borewells and stated that it is required to move from borewell to dug well! Sharing his thoughts on recharging aquifer through treated waste water, he cautioned that there shouldn’t be direct recharge. The treated water should first be passed through soil barriers as an additional filter and then only after due care the treated water should be disposed into aquifers.

Sharad Lele, ATREE: He touched upon an important aspect in this exercise- what do we consider better groundwater management, how do we define best practice,, how is sustainability and equity addressed in the project? He suggested that these are some of the questions one should be aware of and should flag of normative concerns right in the beginning so that readers and viewers become aware.

CGWB: Dr. Sawkar from CGWB emphasized on the importance of understanding the geology and heterogeniety due to geology so that better knowledge about recharge and discharge can be known.

Mr. Siddaramiaih, KSPCB: Sharing his thoughts on self regulation and managing one’s water he mentioned- Communities like Rainbow drive managing their own water and closing the loop puts less burden on the agencies. Also, a proper cost benefit analysis to elaborate on the strategies of rainbow drive would be useful. Furthermore, he cautioned that recharge of groundwater through treated water should only be done when proper care for removal of nitrates and phosphates is taken.

Rohit Chakravarthy, NCBS: Drawing on his experience of participatory experiences in different sectors like e-bird portal and season watch for documenting birds and monitoring trees, Rohit explained the outreach mechanisms. Season watch and e-bird are two initiatives which call for citizen participation and tapping onto already existing citizen science. He cautioned that the scale and data quality issues are very critical and hence need to be considered.

Dr. Lingaraju, Department of Mines and Geology: Drawing on his experience of working with department of Mines and geology as well as Kumudvathi river rejuvenation project; he elaborated on the necessity of understanding geology. He suggested that obtaining the thematic geomorphology map as well as drainage map is essential as it can help in identifying zones feasible for recharge.

We would like to thank all the participants for sharing their views during and also after the workshop through different channels of communications. We hope to continue this engagement with you all!

Monday, June 22, 2015

My Well Our Water : Schedule for the Workshop

27th June Saturday: My Well Our Water

9:30 - 10:00 : Registrations/Tea
10:00 - 1:30 : Workshop
1:30 onwards lunch

10:00 - 10:10
Introductions and Objective setting
10:10 - 10:20
Larger Context - Groundwater in Urban India
10:20 - 10:35
Bangalore Context
10:35 - 10:45
Vishwanath - Anchor
10:45 - 11:05
Project Description
11:05 - 11:20
Interpretation of Data and current understanding of groundwater in the area
11:20 - 11:40
Vishwanath - Anchor
11:40 - 11:55
3 Well Stories
11:55 - 12:05
Presenting the Software platform
12:05 - 1:15
Panel discussion
Vishwanath moderator
1:15 - 1:30
BIOME - Vishwanath
1:30 onwards

My Well Our Water : 27th June Workshop : Introductory Note

My well, our water
Participatory Urban Aquifer Mapping:  Enabling citizens to be scientists, managers and stewards of groundwater

India is rapidly urbanizing.  The number of people living in urban India is expected to grow to around 800 million by 2050.  Urban India is grappling with multiple water management challenges. The dependence on groundwater of urban India and the criticality of groundwater for growth of urban areas is now beginning to be acknowledged in academia and the national discourse on water. However, groundwater as a source has never been a part of formal urban water supply planning.  The management of groundwater as a source for the city – both its quality and quantity – is now becoming increasingly important.  This is true for almost all the diverse kinds and sizes of urban areas in India.  
Currently groundwater abstraction, particularly in the urban context, is atomized.  Combinations of formal and informal openwell, borewell, groundwater and water treatment markets enable citizenry to cope with the inadequacies and shortcomings of formal institutional water supply & sanitation services.  The greatest challenge of groundwater management is therefore the need to embed management responses in the practices of this universe of dispersed actors. Our understanding of Aquifers, the logical “unit” for groundwater management is very poor.  While administrative boundaries help us organize our governance on the surface, aquifers under our feet don’t necessarily follow any of these boundaries.  How, then, do we evolve a way of understanding our aquifers and enabling aquifer management responses based on this understanding?
Bengaluru is a city that is no stranger to the challenges mentioned above.  Infact various parts of Bengaluru are currently completely dependent on private groundwater abstraction & groundwater markets.  It is in one such watershed - the Yamalur Watershed in the south-east of Bengaluru  that we – Biome Environmental Trust & ACWADAM with support from Wipro and Map Unity,  are attempting to explore an approach to help address some of the challenges mentioned above.  
Can the process of developing an understanding of the aquifer – mapping the aquifer – itself be driven by the participation of these dispersed set of groundwater actors?  How can this be done? If such an approach be evolved, can the communication of the science of aquifers & its management to them then lead to forms of self-regulation in longer term self-interest on the part of groundwater users?  And is this a way to achieve aquifer management responses?  What are the services and enabling policy conditions for such an approach to bear fruit?  These are some of the questions this initiative wants to explore.  We invite you, experts in water – but more importantly citizens of the city – to come share your thoughts, experiences and learnings and be a part of this innovative exploration.
We hope to help citizens share the stories of their wells, borewells, lakes, STPs etc with the city.  We hope to strengthen the conversations amongst citizens on these stories, and bring groundwater science and the spirit of public good & common property stewardship into these conversations.  And through this we hope to become a community that thinks not merely of “my well” but “our water”.  
Of course many questions still need answering as the initiative progresses and limitations of the approach may emerge in due course of time.  New questions are also expected to evolve.  Which institution will be the “owner” and “driver” of the approach, how will this institution overcome its capacity limitations and how will this institution engage with civil society to make larger citizen participation a reality are big questions that are clearly still open.  With your participation this innovative exploration hopes to help find answers to these questions and evolve more relevant questions.