Monday, August 21, 2017

Citizen Lakes Dashboard update - May 26th, 2017

About this post

This is an update on the activities at Kaikondrahalli Lake, as part of the Citizen Lakes Dashboard project. In this trip to the lake, we installed a couple of instruments for measuring the lake height, which will, in conjunction with other data, be used for calculating the lake volume at any given time.

Overall Project Objective

The 3-year Citizen Lakes Dashboard Project (funded by Oracle) aims to make relevant lake data, using real-time sensors and citizen science on Bangalore's lakes accessible to citizens’ groups. Many of the lakes, as we know, are experiencing an increase in sewage and chemical waste dumping. An online dashboard will store the data and its inferences and allow visualization of important parameters that affect the health of the lakes. The findings will be communicated to key stakeholders and the wider community on a regular basis.

Progress so far

We are into the 2nd year and 5th month of this project. So far we have focused on 2 lakes - first Jakkur and then Kaikondrahalli (two more lakes will be added this year and one more next year). Various sensors have been installed at both lakes and data is being collected regularly. Using the data, a water balance has been worked out for Jakkur Lake. Nutrient analyses, of the inflows into Jakkur lake from the STP and the open drains, was completed. A remedial strategy has been proposed to restore the dissolved oxygen levels to arrest the eutrophication of the Jakkur Lake. Bathymetry analysis (the study of the lake bed) has been completed at both lakes.

The online dashboard has been set up but is currently being revamped based on stakeholder feedback. It will be made available for citizen engagement soon.


The partners in this project are ATREE (, Biome Environmental Solutions ( and Yuktix Technology ( Many thanks to the lake trusts - MAPSAS ( and Jala Poshan ( for helping facilitate this study at Kaikondrahalli Lake and Jakkur Lake respectively.

Prior posts

To get a continuity from the earlier posts, you can view the ones from March at

Part 1:

Part 2:


This example illustrates how the Citizen Lakes dashboard can potentially play a key role in solving a lake's water quality problem.

In this example, the key quality parameters being sensed and measured are:
N: Nitrates
P: Phosphates
DO: Dissolved Oxygen


The above picture shows the locations of all the sensors and the lake height measuring staff at Kaikondrahalli lake.


This picture zooms into the location of these 2 instruments.

The next few pictures gives a photo-narrative of the installation of the lake height measuring sensor and staff.


Sayan from ATREE has got several perforated pipes, which need to be joined together. The water level sensor will be put into this pipe.

We hired Mohan the plumber for the installation; he sent a couple of his men to do the job.


The men join the pipe together

The perforated pipe now stands about 10 feet tall

The pipe is positioned at the desired location. The portion of the pipe below the water is only about 1.25 meters to the lake bed (on that day).


The men use a coracle to access and affix the bottom part of the measuring staff and the perforated pipe to the vertical wall.


The measuring staff is to the left and the pipe which will house the sensor to the right (while facing the wall)

Sayan has already lowered the sensor into the pipe and is calibrating it (correlating the readings with what aught be the correct values and adjusting the sensor output accordingly).


After calibration Sayan puts back the sensor.

What you see here is the data logger portion of the sensor, which we will need to access on a regular basis to download the readings.

The sensing element is actually a wire that connects from this data logger and descends down the pipe to the lake bed, and is kept down at the bottom by a counterweight.


Putting the cap on. Now the pipe is covered from the top, protecting the data logger from the weather elements.


The installation work is at last completed!!

The distance from the measuring staff (on the left) to the bridge has been kept such that people walking on the bridge can make out the lake height reading.

We will be displaying a table from which a person can find the current volume of water in the entire lake, based on the height that they read on the measuring staff.

Pretty cool, yes?!! :-)


A closer view of the 2 instruments

The water level sensor on the right will be logging the lake water height every 15 mins. This will allow a continuous set of readings over the year, which can be used for figuring out various useful inferences - like correlating the rainfall data (from met dept) with lake levels (from the sensor) and volumes (from bathymetry - will cover in another blog) - both during wet and dry seasons.


Now heading on to the locations of the other 2 sensors - installed at the sewage inlets into the lake.

The sensor in this location was taken out earlier this year because it fell into the sewage and got damaged. We did not put in a replacement sensor because this location/installation structure was deemed somewhat inaccessible and unsafe.

We need to figure out a better installation which makes it more easily accessible - which will be covered in a subsequent blog!


We now come to the second sewage inlet which has the level sensor installed since Feb 2017.

We observe that the pipe inside which the sensor wire element descends is blocked by debris. This would make the sensor reading incorrect.

Sayan gets ready with a stick to move the debris away from the pipe.


The debris is cleared away.

We now come to the END of this photo-narrative. Stay tuned for the next update coming up fairly soon!

---Shankar Venkataraman---

 #tripszee #atree_org 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Really amazing work and very informative post...thanks for sharing.

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