Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Global Climate Change Week Workshop at APU


APU workshop 17-18 Oct - Brochure

As part of the ‘Global Climate Change Week’, on October 17th and 18th 2022 four collaborative workshops/events were conducted at the Azim Premji Unversity. This workshop was conducted together by Hasiru Dala, Bangalore Sustainability Forum and Citizen Matters. Speakers from various background participated and shared their perspectives on dealing with floods in Bengaluru and the potential designs and solutions.

Biome participated in the panel of the first workshop conducted on Oct 17th. The topic of this panel discussion was ‘Building climate Leaders in Informal Settlements’

Workshop Topic 1

The panel consisted of the speakers listed below. The composition of the panel was quite unique since it included two participants from the waste picker community, who had first-hand experience in dealing with floods during heavy rain events

  • Ms Jayabai, Wastepicker
  • Ms Lalitha, Hair picker: Experiences of living with floods in Konapa Agrahara
  • Ms Nalini Shekar, Hasiru Dala
  • Mr Akbar , Hasiru Dala
  • Mr Srinivas, Biome Environmental Trust 

Panel Discussion

Ms Harini gave the introduction and spoke about how informal communities are vulnerable and affected by climate change. Specifically, they are the most affected during heavy rains. During the interaction with waste pickers, several factors which contribute to flooding in such communities came up for discussion. Some of these reasons are listed below,
  • The informal settlements tend to be formed at low lying areas and very close to Rajakaluves
  • The new developments that come around these informal settlements tend to raise their building structure levels higher in relation to the surrounding ground level. Thus causing water to flow further away from these buildings and into the low-lying homes of the waste pickers
  • There have been instances where the owner of the land partially blocked the adjacent drains, causing excess water to be diverted into the houses of these waste picker communities
When such flooding occurs, Jayabai and Lalitha mentioned that they resort to using buckets to empty out the standing water. This is a laborious process and sometimes they have to stay up the whole night. This condition obviously affects their daily schedule, livelihood and also their health.

This was followed by a discussion around potential solutions like,
  • Re-locating these communities to higher grounds
  • Raising the ground level of the settlement itself using construction debris
  • Developing recharge pits/wells along the pathway of the water flow, as a larger community action
  • Increasing awareness about monitoring forecasts, so that the dwellers in these settlements can prepare themselves in an adequate manner
  • The need for Govt agencies to include these people also in a participatory/consultative manner for solutions that are planned/implemented for flood management/prevention

The panel discussion also included a Question and Answer component.
The waste pickers also shared their experiences of social discrimination, which they face on a regular basis. They mentioned that due to the nature of their work other better-off people living in the surrounding community look upon them with suspicion and distrust.

Ms Nalini mentioned an important point towards the end of the workshop. The waste pickers actually help clean the city streets by picking up plastics and other discarded materials. They are an integral part of recycling. Hence they are positively contributing towards addressing climate change issues. Paradoxically they are also the most affected by events caused by climate change. The adverse impact of flooding during heavy rains is one such issue. Coming up with solutions for handling and mitigating floods can go a long way in improving their living condition.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Biome Trust part of City Resource Forum for Bengaluru

The second meeting of the City Resource Forum (CRF), Bengaluru was held on 02th Nov 2022  at the BCC, Bengaluru and was attended by many members from 17 city organizations. 

Biome Trust will be part of the steering committee, to engage with on-ground work on water & livelihood related goals. 

The CRF has been conceived as a part of the Fair Urban Transitions program and has been set up by Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust (MHT) supported by Integrated Design (INDÉ). The CRF is envisaged to be a coalition of diverse stakeholders working at the intersection of climate change, urbanization and informality, to work for the city. It bridges the gap , between multiple dimensions of the city, to also reflect in formal policy and framework. 

The emerging thematics that was discussed were energy and access for housing, water security, ward planning framework and local planning for governance. 

Ward planning framework was discussed in detail and ideas of citizen-led, inclusive planning that captures the nuances/dynamics on ground beyond land-use categories, mechanisms to integrate ward plans with city level planning tools were brainstormed.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Rainwater Harvesting at Vidya Prabodhini College, Alto-Parvari-Goa

Vidya Prabodhani college is in a 3850 sqm area on laterite plateau. The building has three floors with a central quadrangle and classrooms on each floor. Next to the building is a 4000 sqm playground. The building accommodates students from class one to degree college. A few other details about the college are given below.

Location: Porvorim, Goa

Run by: Praboshan Education Society

Total occupancy: 2893 students + staff

Location of Vidya Prabodhini college

1.0 Situation before intervention

Sources of water

The main source of water is a borewell located in the playground. The college also has a municipal water supply connection.

Water storage

Water from the borewell is pumped into a 60KL sump that is located at the entrance of the playground.  Water from this sump is further pumped into two overhead tanks of 10KL capacity each. This water is then passed through Aquaguard filters for drinking purposes.

Water infrastructure at Vidya Prabodhini college

Water demand: 60 KLD

Utilities of water: Water is used for drinking, handwashing, in the toilet, washing utensils in the canteen, cleaning and to water the garden including potted plants.


Left: 3-Storey Building; Right: Borewell


Left: 10000x2 OHT; Right: 60,000L Sump


Left: Downtake pipes; Right: Canteen

Water filter

2.0 Interventions undertaken

2.1 Rainwater harvesting

Project funded by: Purvankara and Provide Housing Limited

Annual rainfall in Goa: ~3000mm

Given the high average rainfall in Goa, even a part of the roof considered for RWH is sufficient to meet their water demand during the monsoon season. Using harvested rainwater will reduce stress on the borewell as well as the municipal water.

Rooftop area considered for RWH: 1221 sqm

annual runoff from this area: 3207 KL

Satisfies the water demand for: 55 days of the year

Tasks undertaken

The following tasks were undertaken for the project.

  • Plumbing: Connecting all the downpipes and passing the rainwater through rainy filters.

  • New sump: A new sump of  3KL (dimensions: 6ftx6ftx3ft) serves as a filter and storage for small showers

  • Existing sump: The overflow from this is connected to the existing 60KL sump

  • Recharge Well: Once the 60KL sump is filled with the overflow from the 3KL sump, the water will overflow to a Recharge Well with dimension of 5ft x 24ft  (Static volume of  13KL)

Illustration of the RWH system at the college

Left: Rainy filer; Right: Recharge well

2.2 Training and awareness program

Regular Maintenance of the system

  • A training session was organized for regular  maintenance of the RWH system. 

  • In the same session, a schedule was planned for the maintenance of the system.

Training on the installed RWH system

Usage of pH meter, TDS meter and H2S vials

A training for the staff was organized to

  • check the pH, TDS and bacterial contamination in the rain water using hand held meters and H2S vials.

  • pH meter, TDS meter, Calibration solution for pH and TDS meter and H2S vials were handed over to the institution to check the quality of water on a regular basis.

Testing kits

2.3 Planned activities for the future

The following activities are planned for the project in the upcoming days


  • Awareness sessions for the students and staff.

  • Awareness sessions for the panchayat and locals around the institution.

Demand management

  • Installation of Aerators.


  • Installation of a communication board that informs about the RWH system and its objectives.

3.0 Conclusion

Given its location, Vidya Prabodhini college is in a pretty good position to harvest rainwater. This can work as a great model for rooftop rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge using recharge wells for the panchayat and the surrounding villages and towns. Being a college, this is also a great place for the future generations to learn about water management and conservation.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

160 Recharge wells in HSR Layout Parks

HSR layout (Hosur-Sarjapur Road layout) is a prominent suburb in south-eastern Bangalore, in the Bommanahalli constituency. It lies in the outer (or newer) part of BBMP jurisdiction that has become a part of the city during the 2000s.

Parks and modern civic amenities are some of the best maintained in the area. After the establishment of a Sewage Treatment Plant recently, the municipality has engaged with United Way to dig 160 recharge/withdrawal wells in 31 parks.

HSR layout on the map


Due to its geological placement, certain areas in HSR layout have been observed to be prone to water logging. Concurrently, residents in many parts of the layout have also faced water scarcity issues in the summer.

The objective of the project is to drive climate resilience and self-sufficiency in the water sector for the local area. The project is a part of a larger initiative driven by United Way that aims to dig 10,000 percolation wells/recharge wells in and around the city and in private and public places to increase the groundwater table as well as mitigate flooding.

The wells and the well diggers

Well digger Pedanna and his team were involved in digging these wells. It took about 4 people to dig one well in a day.


Well dimensions: 5 feet dia by 12-15 feet deep.
Distance between two wells is 20 meters.

Depending on the size of the park, anywhere between 6 to 20 wells were dug in each of the parks. Some prominent parks in the list include Bangalore one park on 24th Main, Forest park in Sector 2, Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple Park in sector 7, Swachagraha Kalika Kendra in sector 4 etc.

According to well digger Pedanna, in some parks old pits filled with jelly stones were found. These had silted up completely and trees were growing in some of them. This made them non-revivable and non-usable. Hence, there was a need to dig more wells.

Contract structure

United way has been the initiator and the funder of this project in partnership with BBMP. The implementation partner for this project is Indus Herbs, through whom well digger Pedanna and team has received the well digging contract.


In a city like Bengaluru, parks are a few places where the non-paved areas are greater than the paved ones. According to United Way, such places have great potential for groundwater recharge and flood mitigation. Based on the experience United Way has had at other sites like Lalbagh, they are expecting to see good results in this regard in HSR layout as well. The actual effect of the project still remains to be seen in the coming seasons, however, as implementation has just been completed.


Pedanna and team digging wells in Bangalore one park