Monday, January 23, 2017

Citizen Science Project: Building Floating Wetlands in Jakkur Lake

Jalaposhan and BIOME Trust came together to organize the making of two floating wetlands for the lake. Citizens as well as energetic students of Shrishti School of Design participated enthusiastically in the making of these wetlands. The total cost of each came to Rs. 2500.

This activity was a great learning exercise to understand the role of an urban lake and wetlands that aid in the improvement of lake water quality.

Below are some photos of all the fun that took place!

Students of Design school sketch

All ages welcome to learn

Add caption

The Jala Poshan warriors

Planting water hyacinth in the floating wetland. The ever enthusiastic Dr. Annapurna Kamath in the picture

Placing plants in the nets

Getting it ready

Launching the floating wetland into the lake. We forgot the champagne bottles!

Observing the launch

Been set afloat! 

Floating Wetland 1

Floating Wetland 2

Two of them nestle together

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rainwater harvesting at Urdu High School

Urdu High School is located in Vijaypura town near Devanahalli. The student strength is 88. There are 7 teachers. Our interaction started with Nishat Ma'm, the then HM of the school. And as it happens, she was changed and a new HM came in her place. Thankfully, the new HM was as cooperative as her and things moved smoothly. 

The school was facing issues of intermittent water supply issues as the supply from Panchayat was infrequent and the school has to depend on tankers to suffice its' water needs. The school therefore thought that Rainwater harvesting (RWH) could be a good supplemental source at least during monsoon months. 

The school has an existing sump of ~10KL capacity. Earlier thought was to connect the rooftop pipes directly to the existing sump via a filter. However, the school was a little skeptical about rainwater for drinking. Hence, a suggestion was made to first connect the rooftop rainwater pipes to the rainbarrel via the filter with an overflow option given to the existing sump. The rainbarrel is provided with a tap. Thus, in some exceptional cases when the rooftop water quality is not upto the mark, the overflow connection to the sump can be cut off and the mixing is stopped. 

The system looks like as below:




In this school as well, the handwash was not working properly and it was getting clogged. Therefore, handwash was fixed. The teachers also pointed us to the fact that the handwash was a little higher for the kids to access therefore a step was added to make the access easier. Furthermore, the teachers also mentioned that monkey menace exists in the area. Thus, some pipes were given extra support with iron rods and clamps to give some strength. Time will only tell if this prevents the breakage or not!

Implementation in every school is a different ball game. While doing the implementation work, our plumber saw that a pregnant woman was struggling to climb up since the floor was at a height for her. Kudos to Manjunath for observing this and pointing us to it. He added a step on the ground so that she and others with similar issues can climb it easily. And like we believe, RWH implementation is not about giving access to water but also about understanding the issues faced by school- this time it was Maternal health!

Rainwater Harvesting at Urdu Higher Primary School

Urdu Higher Primary School is located in Vijaypura town near Devanahalli. The student strength is 208. There are 6 teachers and 4 non-teaching staff.

Biome Environmental Trusts’ interaction with the school started with this conversation with the school HM, Zakira Ma’m: The supply to our school is through tankers. But many a times that is not enough. Though we have overhead tanks, and adequate storage system, with the lack of plumbing and motor to pump the water, there is not enough water in the toilets. I am interested in Rainwater harvesting because this water can be used for toilets. Plumbing is needed for further connections to the toilet. That’ll be a useful step for the school.” We realized the school’s keenness and necessity of RWH as well as appreciated her willingness to take ownership of the system.

The system components are as follows:
Water from the rooftop is diverted to a 1000L syntex tank. 


The school had separate sumps for drinking water and toilets. The harvested water from the syntex tank is connected to the sump which is being used for toilets. Plumbing connections were made from the existing sump to the overhead tank and further to the toilets. Since the teachers were concerned about vandalism, syntex tank is provided with a wire mesh. Look closely, and one can also see the pipe from the syntex tank covered in mesh as well. 

Prima facie this engagement with school may look as 'design and implementation of RWH system'. However, for us RWH is an entry point into the schools' issues-about water, about sanitation, about finances, etc. While the RWH execution was happening in the school, we realized that the handwash is in a dilapidated condition and it may become non-functional in coming days. This needed fixing! So, along with RWH implementation and connections to the toilets, handwash was fixed too.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Open Well with Water Opposite Kaikondrahalli Kere

Pedanna and the well
Most borewells along Sarjapura Road do not yield much water. A new apartment opposite Kaikondrahalli Kere is also struggling for water as their borewells run dry. The builder decides to revive an old  open well in his property. The well is  18ft in diameter and 40ft deep and has been fully closed with mud. Pedanna the well digger is called in. Alongwith his team Pedanna excavates all the 40ft of mud manually. They strike water at about 20ft below ground level. The water has to be pumped out as they continue to dig. The well is now completely excavated and holds about 20ft of water. Every day about 100,000 - 140,000 litres of water is pumped out from the well and the well fills up again the next day. The water seems to be of reasonable quality. It is treated and used by the apartment

All this right behind the garbage segregation point opposite Kaikondrahalli Kere

When builders start looking at open wells as sources of water, could open wells become more mainstream ?

Garbage segregation point
Apartments in the background
Well with water and pump

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

IUWM tour for 60 architecture students from Adhiyamaan College of Engineering

With Mr Das - Lake Supervisor
A field trip for 60 3rd year architecture students from Adhiyamaan College of Engineering , Hosur ( was organised on 6th Jan 2017 by BIOME Trust to both Rainbow Drive as well as Kaikondrahalli Lake on Sarjapura Road. The idea was for the students to understand the role and need for community participation in coming up with sustainable designs and sustainable systems for water management
Customary group photograph :)
Looking around

Many thanks to the Rainbow Drive POA and MAPSAS for helping organise the field trips

BIOME Trust at Surbana Jurong on 5th January 2017

Surbana Jurong ( is a company that offers complete and comprehensive services in urban development and infrastructure.

BIOME Trust was invited to speak with their architects, planners and other staff on Integrated Urban Water Management. About 60 employees attended and the discussions were lively

BIOME Trust at Kere Habba on 8th Jan 2017

BIOME Trust participated at the 3rd edition of the Kere Habba. The BIOME stall highlighted open wells around Sarjapura Road as well as well diggers. We could also organise a hands-on session for the making of a floating wetland to bio-remediate sewage (