Thursday, September 16, 2021

Visit to SLV Lakeview Apartment


Rakshitha visited SLV Lakeview apartment on 19th August 2021. The water management practices are captured below: 

SLV Lakeview is an apartment complex in Baba nagar, Bangalore cross of Bengaluru North. The apartment was constructed during 2014. It has 96 flats and around 400 residents. The apartment is located very close to Palanahalli lake which is receiving untreated wastewater from Baba nagar which does not have swer lines. SLV Lakeview has adopted rainwater harvesting to have sustainable water management. 

Water demand and supply: The apartment does not have Cauvery connection. The apartment is dependent on borewell water and tanker water. 

There are 2 borewells in the apartment out of which one is not yielding. BBMP has provided a borewell exclusively for the apartment. Borewell no.1 had stopped yielding a few years ago. There was an attempt made to check if the borewell is yielding and it was found that the borewell was yielding mudding water. 

Borewell No.








BBMP borewell


1.5 inch

The apartment buys 4 loads of water tankers of 7000 litres capacity a day. The apartment spends around 10-14 lakhs annually on water tankers.

BBMP borewell

Water storing sumps: Water from the functional borewells is stored in the sump tank. There is only one water storing sump of 75,000 litres capacity. There is a new sump constructed by well digger Ramesh using concrete rings. It is 10ft deep and 5ft in diameter. The sump is receiving rainwater.

Water storing sump tank 

Note: There is no water treatment plant and the sewage treatment plant in the apartment. Wastewater is collected in a septic tank which is cleaned once in every 6 months. 

Rainwater harvesting: 

The apartment has dug three recharge wells of 12ft deep and 3ft diameter which receives rooftop rainwater from part of the terrace. One of the recharge well is located next to the borewell no.2. Well digger Ramesh has suggested implementing direct borewell recharge, but the association consulted a civil engineer who suggested indirect borewell recharge. The civil engineer said direct borewell recharge will cause silt accumulation and block the borewell's water sources'.

The other recharge well is located closer to Borewell No.1 which is not put into use. The other recharge well is dug next to the rainwater sump tank, the overflow from the sump tank enters the recharge well. 

Rainwater sump tank where excess water overflows into recharge well

Recharge well next to BW No 2(left)

Recharge well next to BW No 1(right)

Down take pipes from a part of terrace(left) and rainwater filter(right)

The rainwater sump tank is full of water and it is not put into use. The terrace is used by residents to take their pets, combing, drying cloths etc and which keeps the terrace unclean. Thus the residents argue the water from the rainwater sump should not be used for gardening.

Role of Miss.Sheela and her team: The president of the association Miss.Sheela and her team diligently implemented rainwater harvesting in the apartment. The association was socially aware and had faced much difficulty in convincing the residents to implement RWH. In the words of Sheela, “our borewells yield is reducing and we are not sure when we will be receiving Cauvery water. We are threatened about our borewells running out of water. I find rainwater harvesting is very useful. I had to struggle so much to convince the residents on the cost aspects and assured them that recharge wells would definitely contribute to the yield of the borewells”.

- Rakshitha M L

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Visit to Moongate well on 9/8/2021

Rakshitha and Shivanand visited Moongate well on 9th of August 2021. The document captures the details about the well:

Moongate Events is an open convention centre located in Doddajala(13.169043,77.645674). The site is adjacent to Doddajala Lake. The lake has a catchment of hills called Akkayamma Betta. Moongate Events was constructed around 7years ago. It has a magnificent old open well which holds water. 

The well: 

  • The site was an agricultural land and was bought by the owner(Mr.Suraj’s family) around 45years ago. The well was existing even before the owner bought the land. Thus the well is at least 45years old. 

  • The well is stone lined and the accurate depth of the well is not known (the initial depth should be 30ft) and it is 22ft wider. 

  • The well is in good condition and maintained well by the owner. 

  • The well has a Pilbhavi(inner well) which is 10ft in diameter and 15ft in depth. 

  • The well has 10ft water currently. 

  • The well water has not been used for any purpose. 

  • The well used to have “Yeta”, a traditional water lifting device.

  • The well looks beautiful and unique in terms of an entry gate. It is further beautified using concrete rings

Deepening the well: Well digger Shankar has been associated with the well for 7years. He has built a parapet well for 4-5ft using mortar. He has cleaned the well 4 times. The water level in the well was low and Shankar was asked to deepen the well. He has deepened the well thrice. The well deepening details are given below:

  • 6ft diameter 5 concrete rings were used 

  • 5ft diameter 4 concrete rings

  • 4ft diameter 4 concrete rings

Well after cleaning on 9th August 2021

Well digger Shankar talks about the Moongate well- Click here to listen

- Rakshitha M L

Visit to Asset Gardenia Apartment on 2/8/21

Rakshitha and Shubha visited Asset Gardenia Enclave on 2nd of August 2021. The findings from the visit are documented below:

Asset Gardenia Enclave is a layout located in Whitefield(12.96175, 77.74324). The layout was constructed in the year 2008. It has 88 plots out of which 79 are constructed and 9 empty.  The layout does not receive Cauvery water supply from the BWSSB and is solely dependent on borewells. They are located closer(less than 200m) from Shilavanthakere lake which was recently rejuvenated. The layout is doing well in terms of water management as their BWs are yielding. They also have an old open well which has recently been rejuvenated. The document discusses the water management practices in Asset Gardenia layout in detail.

Water Demand: The layout demands 1MLD of water and the per capita water demand is around 250LPCD.

Water Supply: The layout is solely dependent on Groundwater. There are 2 yielding borewells drilled by the builders of 800ft and 950ft respectively. They yield about 2inches of water. There is a dried borewell dug during 2009-10 which is 650ft deep. The borewells yield remain the same even in summer. The layout uses tanker water for construction purposes and till date they never bought water tankers for domestic use. Villas are not given permission to drill private borewells of their own(as per the law and also would disturb the building columns).

Water Treatment Plant: Asset Gardenia has a Water Treatment Plant where water from the borewells is treated before supplying to the villas.

 Water Treatment Plant

Water Tariff: They follow a flat water tariff where the water bill is calculated by summing up water bills from each villa and dividing by the number of occupied villas.


The Old Open Well: 

Before the constitution of the layout, the land was used for agriculture. The open well water was used for irrigation. There are two coconut trees next to the well which stands as a reminiscence of the coconut groove. The well is 20ft wide and 40ft deep. As per the information shared by the solid waste personnel in the layout, the well is around 200years old. The well always had water and it was put into use. After the construction of the layout the well was not put into use. 

The revival: There is a new residential colony coming up in the neighborhood which drilled around 10 borewells. The Resident Welfare Association(RWA) fears the borewell yield might reduce in the coming years. Thus they decided to revive the open well and use the well water for car washing, etc. 

 Asset Gardenia took the help from traditional well digger Venkatesh(Ph9786084818) and team to revive the well. The well was filled with soil and fallen stones for about 20ft. Well diggers hit water after removing 8ft of soil. After the cleaning, the soil(and a little bit of solid waste) is dumped near the Sewage Treatment Plant area. The fallen stones are reused to line the well. The old stones are reused to line the well and well diggers also used new stones to build the parapet wall of 4ft using the mortar. 


Cleaning of the well

Building parapet wall 

Recharging the well: The current water level in the well is very low(half ft water) though the RWA expected the well to yield a good quantity of water as they are located closer to the lake. RWA is planning to recharge the well using the STP's rooftop rainwater by extending the roof area. 

 Rainwater harvesting: 

A. Recharge wells: The layout has implemented rainwater harvesting by digging recharge wells in the storm water drains using surface runoff. The two borewells are recharged directly by making perforating holes to the casing pipe using surface runoff. The impact of direct borewell recharge has not been recorded. The recharge wells are 20ft deep and 4ft wide. RWA is planning to dig more Recharge wells.

Direct borewell recharge (closed with slab)

B. Rooftop Rainwater Harvesting: There are around 8-10 villas who have implemented rooftop rainwater harvesting. In the words of the manager Praveen, "RWH is very good as it supplements borewell water demand. If every villa implements RWH it will be very useful". 

Sewage Treatment Plant: Asset Gardenia Enclave has a Sewage Treatment Plant. The treated wastewater is used for gardening. In the words of the manager, the TWW is not meeting the gardening water demand. The sludge from the STP is used for gardening. The excess sludge is taken up by farmers for its use in agriculture. 

- Rakshitha M L

'Namma Ooru Namma Neeru' event

Art in Transit & Biome Environmental Trust celebrated the work of the traditional well digging Mannu Vaddar Community with an evening of poetry by Kaavya Sanje and virtual tour of the mural at the Cubbon Park metro station, at the culmination of the Namma Ooru Namma Neeru project, on September 4, 2021.

Weaving art and ecology - artists, poets, well diggers, ecologists, and government partners gathered online to tell some stories of Bengaluru's water. Bengaluru - traditionally a city of tanks and open wells, used to comfortably meet its domestic water needs by sustainably managing the surface and groundwater supply. Today, as the city has grown, groundwater is a primary water source for the city, despite piped water supply. Over time, the city’s open wells have disappeared yielding space to borewells that tap into deep aquifers that are fast depleting. For a sustainable future, Bengaluru needs to revive its relationship with its shallow aquifer - the one that open wells and recharge wells tap into. Recharge wells allow rainwater to seep back into the earth eventually replenishing the deep aquifers.


Biome Environmental Trust conceived of the “One Million Wells for Bengaluru" campaign to replenish the city's groundwater. Well-diggers of the Mannu Vaddar community who have been digging wells for centuries, dug 65 recharge wells in Cubbon Park (and many more across the city). Art in Transit, Design Earth and placeARTS Youth Collective, gathered the earth from these wells and worked with Srishti students and the general commuter public at Cubbon Park Metro Station to paint a mural to tell stories of Bengaluru’s groundwater. Kavya Sanje multilingual poetry collective has brought to life the forgotten histories of the well-digging Bhovi community. Bangalore Sustainability Forum has supported this initiative through its small grants program. 


The knowledge and expertise of the Mannu Vaddar community are central to the solution to the city’s water problems, yet with the mechanisation of well digging and borewell-drilling - traditional well diggers are leaving behind skills and knowledge that are generations old. Beyond just a vision of Bengaluru's water sustainability, the Million Wells initiative also looks at the livelihood sustainability of the Mannu Vaddars who have succeeded in constructing more than one lakh recharge wells in recent years. 


Each one of us can become a part of the solution by contributing to well digger livelihoods and being part of Bengaluru's water sustainability. Do you have access to a 3x3 sqft area of land? Can you help Bengaluru’s water crisis by digging a recharge well? Get in touch with a well digger or visit for more information. 

Help dig a million recharge wells!


The event was written about by the Deccan Herald, the Hindu and Citizen Matters.



Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Richmond Park Visit on 7/9/21

Rakshitha visited Richmond park in Richmond town on 7th of August 2021. The findings from the visit are captured below:

Richmond park is looked after by caretaker Mr.Siddappa. He has been in Richmond park since 2 years.
Richmond park has an old open well which was rejuvenated during the month of July by Ramakrishna (Ph: 9743538649) and team. Siddappa says before the rejuvenation the well was a garbage dump where all kinds of waste was dumped till the surface. He would not go near the well as it would stink badly. He was excited when he heard the well is getting rejuvenated. He says the well has been rejuvenated well and it is yielding good quality of water. Currently the well has water at 4ft from the ground level.


The well

There is no Cauvery water supply to the park. There are two borewells out of which one borewell is yielding well. Siddappa uses both borewells to water the garden. After the well revival he is using the well water for gardening regularly to the plot of garden just opposite the well. He says it is easier to use open well water to this plot as he does not have to take water from farthest borewell. He is happy that every time he pumps the water (for half an hour) new water is coming from the aquifer. He and other 3 members of his family are also using the well water for domestic purposes. He is planning to use the well water for drinking after a raining period. 

Listen to the conversation with park caretaker Siddappa here

Residents Welfare Association is growing water Cabbage in a small structure similar to a step well to purify the water as they have introduced fishes into it. There was one single water cabbage which grew up to cover the entire pond. 

Water Cabbage in the pond

- Rakshitha M L

Catch the Rain, Bengaluru: Rainwater harvesting in the city

To create awareness among citizens and communities across Bengaluru, Jal Shakti Abhiyan, BWSSB and Biome Environmental Trust (BIOME) in collaboration with Citizen Matters, Bengaluru, hosted a webinar called Catch the Rain, Bengaluru: Rainwater Harvesting in the City on July 10, 2021. The webinar covered questions like - how does Bengaluru meet its water demand? What are the RWH rules and regulations? What does it take to implement RWH? Speakers included BWSSB officials, domain experts as well as citizens who have implemented RWH in their homes and communities. Citizen Matters has written an article on the event. Here is the video of the webinar.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Access Livelihoods enterprise visit to Lalbagh

Access Livelihoods requested Biome for an enterprise visit for their batch of students from the postgraduate course in Social Entrepreneurship (Transforming India Initiative) to understand the issue of water sustainability, as part of their reflection workshop. The visit was conducted at Lalbagh on August 17, 2021, and was anchored by Suma Rao of Biome. 


Saturday, September 4, 2021


Palanahalli lake

Palanahlli lake is located in Palanahalli, Yelahanka, Bengaluru North(13.11634, 77.61541). The lake is around 9 hectares of area. The lake was rejuvenated by BBMP by providing walkway, guards, sitting benches, plantation etc. The lake is receiving storm water and untreated wastewater from the neighborhood which does not have sewer lines.

Map of Palanahalli lake

The lake has only one inlet. BBMP has created a small check dam like structure using boulders in the inlet which acts as a settling tank which separates the solids from the liquids. There are wetland plants like alligator weed, canna etc grown inside the structure. The water near the inlet stinks, thick and dark in appearance. As the water moves out of the settling tank, it becomes a bit clearer and the smell also reduces. The lake is mostly covered by wetland and as the water passes through these wetland, water becomes further purified. The wetland plants also include lotus which is seen in bulk in one corner of the lake. The other end of the lake has water where fishes are harvested. In a day ___kgs of fishes are harvested. Fishes like Raghu, Katla, Tilapia, Marva etc are found. Alligator weed is taken by the grass cutters which is used as fodder for cattle. In the words of BBMP guard Miss Nalina, in a day 30 bags of alligator weed is harvested and the fishes from the lake are too tasty.

Lotus grown inside the lake

Palanahalli lake which is mostly covered with wetland plant

Miss Nalina was not aware about wetlands and their function. She was thrilled to know wetland plants absorb the nutrients in the wastewater and thus purify. She says, they earlier had a plan for removing all the wetland plants in order to clean the lake and now they would keep the wetland plants which are helpful. 

Conclusion: Though Miss Nalina is not aware of wetlands and their significance, she has noticed the significant improvement in water quality towards the other end of the lake. Communicating to her about the wetlands and their significance helped her in relating the improvement in water quality to the wetlands.

- Rakshitha M L

Friday, September 3, 2021

Wells in public places in Bengaluru South

On 31st of August 2021, Rakshitha and Suma Rao visited 4 open wells in public places like parks, hospitals and lakes. There are two wells which could be rejuvenated. The findings from the visits are documented below:

  1. Matruchaya hospital well


  • Location: BBMP hospital, Jayanagar

  • No of wells: 1

  • Dimension: 13ft wide

  • Current Water level: 10ft

  • RWH implementation: Rooftop rainwater is led into the well (implemented around 10 years ago)

  • Purpose of water usage: Gardening

  • Rejuvenation works includes: Simple cleaning of the well and checking if the sewer lines are leaking and sought out the issue

  • Other information: 

They have 2 acres of campus

Dialysis unit requires a huge quantity of water where RO reject water is stored in a sump and reused for gardening. 

They buy about 6 loads of water tankers in a day. They pay about Rs.43,000 on Cauvery and water tankers. They are using borewell water only for an old age home.


  • Next steps: General Manager Mr.KSS Kamath is interested in taking up the rejuvenation / cleaning the well. They are looking for well diggers (and we suggested we could keep them in touch with the well diggers). They are planning to use the well water once the quality meets portable standards(since they are a hospital there have the concern of using the well water) to reduce Cauvery water and tanker water. 

2. Laxman Rao Park

Recharge well(left) and the well which is closed(right)

  • Location: Laxman Rao public park, Jayanagar

  • Dimension: 13ft wide

  • Current Water level: 2-3ft from the ground level

  • RWH implementation: The park has around 3-4 Recharge wells

  • Purpose of water usage: The well water is used for gardening regularly. They have one functional borewell which is put into use(and 2 defunct BWs). They have Cauvery connection but do not use it.  The well water extensively.

  • Rejuvenation works include: No rejuvenation required. 

  • Other information: There was another well which was closed. 

  • Next steps: Good to find out why one of the well was closed

3. BBMP Maternity Hospital


  • Location: Dasappa Maternity Hospital, Town Hall circle

  • Dimension: 13*

  • Current Water level: 6ft

  • RWH implementation: 

  • Purpose of water usage: No information

  • Rejuvenation works include: Water looks clean and clear. Well might not need a rejuvenation

  • Other information: More information needed 

  • Next steps: 

4. Madiwala lake well

  • Location: Madiwala Lake, BTM

  • Dimension: 10*9

  • Current Water level: 6ft

  • RWH implementation: Rooftop rainwater harvesting has been implemented. The well holds only rainwater as of now. 

  • Purpose of water usage: The well acts as a recharge well. Water is not been used

  • Rejuvenation works includes: Deepening the well. The idea to hit water and to have water even in summer. Well could be deepened for 10-15 more ft and 6ft diameter rings could be placed. 

  • Other information: 

The well is dug in the year 1995 and made using concrete rings

The lake area is 275acres and garden area is 9acres

The Range Forest Officer is very interested in taking up the rejuvenation works. They are happy to use the well water for gardening, if we could install a motor. Currently the lake water is used for gardening.

  • Next steps: Could directly start the rejuvenation works. Getting formal permission is very easy as RFO office in located right next to the well

- Rakshitha