Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Building Water Resilient Cities: Strategies for Wastewater Reuse in India - WELL Labs

The conference, titled "Building Water Resilient Cities: Strategies for Wastewater Reuse in India," brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in water management and urban planning. The focus was on diagnosing problems in urban planning and wastewater reuse issues for Bangalore and other urban cities in India. The aim was to ensure that urban populations meet their water needs while safeguarding water resources.

The conference was hosted by the Well Labs Team. The event was co-organized by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, the Bangalore Apartments Federation, and Well Labs, which works on land and water sustainability solutions.

The keynote speaker, Sri BP Ravi, Principal Secretary of Ecology and Environment of Karnataka, emphasized the importance of using treated wastewater to build long-term water resilience. He highlighted the challenges and barriers in utilizing wastewater effectively, urging apartment federations to reuse water and reduce the strain on natural resources.

A report on Bangalore's water balance was presented, exploring alternative pathways for meeting the city's water demand without increasing supply from the Cauvery River. The report also addressed the dual nature of Bangalore's water crisis: flooding and water scarcity.

Experts from various fields shared insights on effective wastewater management. The discussion revolved around decentralized wastewater treatment, technological advancements, policy challenges, and the importance of community involvement in sustainable water management practices.

Overall, the conference provided a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences, and it advocated for collaborative efforts to address water management challenges in rapidly growing urban areas.

The panelists discussed various aspects of wastewater treatment and reuse in the context of urban India, with a focus on Bangalore. Key points from the discussion included:

  1. Challenges with Existing Decentralized STPs: A significant portion of the existing small-scale Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Bangalore are not functioning effectively. This is attributed to factors like poor design, lack of proper maintenance, and inadequate regulatory enforcement.
  2. Economics of Wastewater Treatment: The cost of maintaining an STP, particularly smaller ones, is high, making it economically unviable for some communities. There's a need for more cost-effective and efficient solutions, especially for smaller apartment complexes.
  3. Regulatory Aspects and Incentives: The panelists emphasized the need for clearer regulatory frameworks and incentives to encourage better wastewater management practices. There were suggestions to incentivize not just builders but also Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) and communities who maintain these systems.
  4. Role of Technology and Consultants: The choice of technology and the role of consultants in designing STPs are crucial. There's a call for reliable and accessible technology literature and guidelines to help in the selection of appropriate wastewater treatment technologies.
  5. Nature-Based Solutions: The panel also touched upon the potential role of nature-based solutions like wetlands in complementing technological solutions for wastewater treatment and reuse.
  6. Reuse of Treated Wastewater: There was a discussion about the potential for reusing treated wastewater for non-potable purposes like gardening, construction, and other neighbourhood needs. However, logistical challenges, such as transportation and seasonal variability in demand, were highlighted.
  7. Risk Analysis and Public Health Concerns: The panelists pointed out the lack of risk analysis in the current approach, especially concerning public health risks associated with improperly treated wastewater.
  8. Scaling Solutions and Infrastructure Needs: The discussion also included the need for scalable solutions, possibly looking at hyperlocal centralization rather than individual apartment-level treatment plants.
  9. Design and Operation Challenges: There's a disconnect between the design, construction, and operation of sewage treatment plants (STPs). Often, those who design and those who operate these systems are not in sync, leading to operational challenges.
  10. Nexus Skills and Stakeholder Involvement: There is a lack of collaboration among different stakeholders, including government, consultants, developers, and technology providers. Incentives should be aligned not just for builders and technology providers, but also for end-users, to encourage more sustainable practices.
  11. Regulatory Framework: The regulatory framework, while comprehensive, often faces challenges in implementation. There's a need for more practical approaches and incentives for compliance.
  12. Training and Capacity Building: Initiatives like training programs for STP operators and helpers by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board are crucial for improving the operation and maintenance of STPs.
  13. Standards for Reuse of Treated Wastewater: There is a necessity for in-depth studies and standardization for the reuse of treated wastewater, especially in construction. Standards like IS 456:2000 and IS 3025:1978 provide guidelines, but more specific standards tailored to treated wastewater are required.
  14. Voluntary Adoption versus Mandates: Market-driven, voluntary adoption of treated wastewater is preferred over mandatory regulations. Mandatory approaches have not been very effective in the past.
  15. Impact on Urban Flooding: The disposal of treated wastewater into stormwater drains can exacerbate urban flooding issues. Proper urban drainage systems need to be studied and redesigned to address this.
  16. Public Awareness and Value of Water: There is a need to enhance public awareness regarding the value of water and the importance of its reuse.
  17. Challenges in Matching Supply and Demand: A major challenge highlighted was the geographical mismatch between the sources of treated wastewater and the demand areas, such as construction sites. Solutions like decentralized treatment and logistics services like Tanker-Wala have been effective in bridging this gap.
  18. Quality Standards and Testing: The importance of maintaining and verifying the quality of treated wastewater was emphasized. Tanker-Wala, for instance, has set up micro-labs at construction sites to test every water load for parameters like pH, alkalinity, chlorides, and sulfates. This approach not only ensures safety and compliance but also helps in building trust among users.
  19. Market and Behavioral Responses: Exploring new applications for treated wastewater in industries beyond construction was discussed. While there's potential, behavioural barriers and market dynamics play a significant role. Educating and building awareness among users, like construction workers, about the safety and benefits of using treated wastewater is crucial.

  20. Regulatory and Social Considerations: The panel touched upon the evolving regulatory landscape and how mandates in cities like Pune have encouraged the use of treated wastewater. However, there are broader social issues related to sanitation workers and the conditions in which they work. The need for investment in their well-being and training was acknowledged as an integral part of the wastewater management ecosystem.
  21. Sustainability Goals of Real Estate Developers: Some real estate developers, like Brigade Group, have set targets to become water-positive and are exploring the use of treated wastewater in their projects. This shift also aligns with their sustainability goals and market demands for more environmentally responsible properties.
  22. Potential for Wider Adoption: Despite the challenges, there is optimism about the scalability of treated wastewater reuse. With technological advancements, stricter regulations, and increasing water scarcity, more industries and residential complexes are likely to adopt these practices.

- Blog by Ayushi

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Knowledge sharing at Prakriya School

 💧 Wat'er We Learning: A Dive into Bengaluru's Water with Prakriya's Bright Minds 🌏

I recently had the joy of leading a knowledge-sharing session at Prakriya Green Wisdom School, a beacon of learning that transcends textbooks and nurtures a profound connection with Mother Earth and our inner selves.

Our theme? The very essence of life - Water. The brilliant minds of 7th and 10th graders at Prakriya have been immersing themselves in water-themed projects, exploring the depths of this vital resource.

Picture this: a room buzzing with the energy of inquisitive young students. Our topic: water usage and conservation in Bengaluru. We embarked on a journey, starting with the startling fact that despite Earth's vast water cover, a mere 1% is fresh and accessible. Bengaluru, a city with no perennial water sources, heavily depends on rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge.

The narrative took us back in time, to how Bengaluru has historically managed its water through tanks since the 4th century BC, essential for its water storage and infrastructure. We navigated through the urban challenges of flooding, pollution, and waste management that plague the city.

The students were engrossed as we delved into Bengaluru's primary water sources like the Cauvery River and borewells, and the pressing issues of overexploitation and inefficiency-related water loss. The irony of urban flooding, despite water scarcity, highlighted the critical need for effective rainwater management.

Our discourse wasn't just about problems; it was about solutions. We explored rainwater harvesting, recharge wells, and greywater treatment to counter these challenges, aiming to conserve groundwater, prevent flooding, and improve water quality.

To connect with our Gen Z learners, we infused the presentation with elements of their world - from Taylor Swift song references to Korean heart symbols. It was a delightful blend of science and pop culture, quenching their thirst for knowledge like a refreshing drink on a hot day.

At Prakriya, education is about understanding the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. The students' understanding of water system challenges was profound, their solutions - innovative and forward-thinking.

Their engagement level was remarkable, displaying knowledge and insight that belied their age. They keenly observed and pondered over every detail of the presentation, showcasing a maturity that was both surprising and inspiring.

As the session concluded, my heart swelled with hope. These young minds are not just being educated; they're being groomed to be the change-makers of tomorrow. For us adults, it's a reminder that sometimes the most enlightening lessons come from the young and enthusiastic.

So here's to the future custodians of our planet. Wat'er we doing about water? We're learning, understanding, and gearing up to make a significant impact. Cheers (with a glass of water, of course) to the next generation of Earth guardians! 🌍💧🌱

Blog by Ayushi

Monday, November 13, 2023

Water workshop in Yugantar Festival - Bhhomi College

Yugantar Festival

Venue: Bhoomi College
Date: 1st and 2nd October 2023

The Biome team attended the Bhoomi Yugaantar Festival at the Bhoomi-Prakriya Campus, Bengaluru. Envisioned as a platform for fostering community ties deeply anchored in nature and indigenous cultures, Yugaantar drew inspiration from the profound teachings of luminaries like Gandhi, J.C. Kumarappa, Vinobha Bhave, and Baba Amte. 

The event spotlighted the urgency of localized action in sustainability and holistic educational transformation.

The festival was a vibrant tapestry of engaging workshops, illuminating talks, and insightful discussions delving into pivotal themes ranging from Green Economics and Climate Action to Community Building, Nature Conservation, and beyond. 

A unique highlight was the 'Seeds of Change' platform where spirited youngsters pitched their eco-project ideas, vying for a micro-grant to bring their dream to fruition. 

The atmosphere was further enlivened by stalls showcasing sustainable products, delectable traditional foods, and performances from community talents such as Vinay Varanasi and Shouri Shanbhog.

The festival proudly announced the recipients of the coveted Bhoomi Senior Fellowship, honouring their immense contributions to sustainability and holistic education. Furthermore, the festival saw the launch of "Education in Tune with Nature," a seminal work encapsulating 23 years of holistic pedagogy, serving as a beacon for educators, students, and parents.

About the workshop:

During this Yugantar Festival at Bhoomi College, the Biome team conducted an interactive discussion-based workshop titled "Wat'er we doing about water." It was designed to educate and enlighten participants about the water scenario in Bengaluru and potential sustainable solutions.

The workshop was divided into two engaging sessions:

1 > The interactive session:  We walked participants through relatable daily-life questions. By calculating individual water usage, we projected the massive water requirements for Bengaluru as a whole. This exercise revealed startling figures on water demand, supply, and the deficit. We also touched upon the uncertainty of water sources, groundwater levels, and potential sustainable measures, including the utilization of shallow aquifers, water reuse, and rainwater harvesting.

2 > Exploratory Tour: In the second half, we gave participants a firsthand look at various water management systems installed around the Prakriya school. This live demonstration covered rainwater harvesting systems, diverse filters involved, grey and black water treatment processes, recharge wells, silt traps, percolation tanks, and more.

The feedback was overwhelming. Many were startled by their daily water consumption values. While students gained a fundamental understanding of groundwater and aquifer systems, several adults were eager to know more about the legalities surrounding rainwater harvesting and recharge structures. Many even reached out, expressing their interest in consulting with Biome for rainwater harvesting installations at their homes. The concept of using open wells for recharge particularly piqued their interest.

This workshop not only educated but also ignited a spark in individuals to contribute positively to our water ecosystem.

Blog by Ayushi 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Biome at the Spirit of WIPRO Run

Date & Time - 8th October 2023, 7.30 AM to 11.30 AM
Venue - Kanteerava Stadium, Bengaluru
Biome team members who participated - Suma, Shivanand, Bhavani, Nikita, Srinivas, Srivalli, Krishna, Chethan and Apeksha

        The WIPRO Bengaluru Marathon was conducted by the WIPRO on Sunday, October 8, 2023. Also known as the Spirit of WIPRO Run, the event supported local Non-Governmental Organisations focusing on WIPRO Cares impact pillars - digital skills, youth empowerment and sustainability.
        Biome Environmental Trust has been working with WIPRO Cares for Sustainable water management and Water Literacy in Government schools and revival of public open wells in Bangalore, Devanahalli and Tumkur for many years.
As a part of the event, Biome exhibited various interventions carried out with the support of WIPRO cares which include :
  • Sustainable water management initiatives including Water Demand Management, Rainwater Harvesting, Water supply and Sanitation Infrastructure improvement, water literacy activities and volunteering activities with WIPRO Employees.
  • Rejuvenation of community open wells
       The posters of well rejuvenation and rainwater harvesting systems at schools, booklets on sustainable water management, handouts on water heritage of Bengaluru, a rain gauge model etc were exhibited. Visitors to the stall were encouraged to explore Biome Trust's and the Urban Waters' websites.
      Biome team members also participated in the run and successfully completed the 5k run.
        During the event, the participants of the Marathon visited Biome’s stall enquiring about Biome’s work. Children showed interest in the well pictures and read the colourful handbooks. A few people enquired about the water conservation methods and showed interest in implementing water conservation and sustainable practices in their societies.

In the event, water was served in clean reusable plastic cups instead of disposable water bottles. Breakfast was served in biodegradable plates. This marked a good example for Reduce-Reuse-Recycle .

Blog written by Apeksha Deshpande


Awareness Session for Sama Foundation

        The Biome Environmental Trust team conducted an awareness session on water conservation for the Sama Foundation at Devara Jeevanahalli, popularly known as DJ Halli, Bengaluru. This was the first interaction between the Biome team members and the Sama Foundation members.

Topic of Discussion - Basic understanding of aquifers, importance of well rejuvenation, water issues of DJ Halli, proposing solutions and planning.
Date and Time - 6th October 2023, 11 AM to 2 PM
Venue - Sama Foundation, Youth Center, DJ Halli, Bengaluru
Biome team members - Avinash, Suma, Neelima, Krishna, Ayushi, Srivalli, Nagraj and Apeksha
Sama Foundation members - Sama Foundation Founder- Paul Ramanathan, Climate Action team - Vinodhini and Ashwini, Communication team - Vikram and others

About Sama Foundation:
        The event started with a brief introduction by the Founder of Sama Foundation, Paul Ramanathan. About 20 people from the foundation joined us for the session. The team members described to us how the foundation was started, the work done by them and their short-term & long-term goals.
        Sama Foundation mainly works towards an inclusive society aiming to eliminate hunger, poverty, and all kinds of discrimination and exploitation. The main project taken up by the Foundation, named “Janadhikari”, focuses on three important factors of society - Education, Health and Social Benefits.
  1. Education: Sama Foundation has worked towards reducing the dropout rate of children in pre-primary school. They have introduced post-learning initiatives like tuition. They have brought up the idea of pair learning among the students to build self-confidence and self-awareness. For youth of the age group 18-30 years, they offer a 3-month skill development course, that includes communication skills, digital literacy, guidance for career growth & development, spoken English etc
  2. Health: They conduct health camps from time to time. They coordinate with government hospitals and spread awareness regarding chronic diseases, Government insurance policies (like Ayushman Bharat), etc.
  3. Social benefits: They work towards the holistic development of the community. Given the plethora of government schemes available for marginalized communities, they create awareness regarding financial literacy, pensions etc. They aim to empower women and children by connecting them with government schemes and benefits.
  4. They have conducted surveys on 10,000 households in the locality. They conduct meetings regularly involving at least 300 households.

Biome’s interaction with the Foundation:
        In the previous visits done by Biome, the team had identified 32 wells. As a part of the awareness session, Biome team members Neelima and Avinash conducted a knowledge session for the Sama Foundation members. They explained briefly the different sources of water, the sustainable management of the same, the geology of Bengaluru, the concept of shallow aquifers and the need for the revival of open wells. The session was interactive, with members clearing their doubts. The questions delved deep into the concept of water conservation, helping understand the need for it.
Glimpses of the presentation
Issues faced by the community:
  • The community faces an ongoing water crisis, with many places getting water once every 5 days. As a result, people need to buy RO water for their water requirements.
  • The area faces flooding during the rainy season due to improper solid waste management and the terrain.
  • The quality of the water from the Municipal connection is not up to the mark.
  • The sewage and water pipelines need to be mapped and monitored.

Agenda proposed by Biome:
  1. Understand the Water demand of the community and revive the wells accordingly:  The entire area can be segmented into small settlements, and the water demand of each settlement should be calculated. Accordingly, the wells nearby can be prioritized for revival. A questionnaire can be prepared and distributed to households to understand their water needs.
  2. Water quality study:  The quality of water needs to be monitored regularly for tap water and well water. A module educating them regarding the salts dissolved in water, the pathogens present, the contaminants, and the harmful effects can be compiled and distributed to the people.
  3. Rainwater harvesting in Government schools: Identify a school in the locality for rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge. This will act as a model of best practices of water management for the entire community.
  4. Local Involvement: Identify the plumbers and masons in the locality and involve them in implementing the work. This helps in social inclusion and skill development of the community youth.

Blog written by Apeksha Deshpande

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Shubha's talk for BMSCA

In collaboration with the Council of Architecture, Pune, BMS College of Architecture, Bengaluru, organised a 5-day online conference on "URBAN COMMONS-Opportunities & Approaches" from September 11th to 15th, 2023. Shubha Ramachandran of Biome was one of the invited speakers - her session was titled ‘Urban Waters: Learnings from Bengaluru City’.

Shubha’s session on the second day was attended by 33 participants.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Day Zero


Day Zero was a play staged at the Alliance Francaise in Bengaluru on Sept 2 and 3, 2023. The India Foundation for the Arts supported it under their Program 360. Vishwanath Srikantaiah collaborated with Ram Ganesh Kamatham in writing the script of the play. 

The following note is from IFA’s website

‘The play’s title Day Zero refers to the imminent water crisis in the city of Bangalore, in the case of a drought. Bangalore has been developed unsustainably in many ways – particularly with regard to the flow of water through the city. Atop the Deccan Plateau, Bangalore has no significant source of water except for a tributary of Arakavathi called Vrishabhavati. With the rapid growth of the population in the city since the 1990s, poor water management in Bangalore has also exposed its urban precarity. The imagery of water movements in the city, like expensive piping from the Cauvery, the water tanker mafia, excessive borewell drilling and a falling groundwater table, points to the story of urban inequalities as well. At the heart of this play are the paradoxes of Bangalore’s development and its disparities,  and a future-focussed approach towards sustainability.

In the play, the movement of the water will be explored, both literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, there is a cascading network of kere (lakes) and kaluve (canals) in Bangalore, through the topographical four ridge-valley systems of the city, involving Hebbal, Chellaghatta, Koramangala and Vrishabhavati. Figuratively, it is about the emotional content related to rainfall, tears and sweat, drinking water, drainage and submerged/ subterranean structures.

The play will engage with the metaphor of water in the city, through intersecting timelines from the past and the future. One potential fragment of the play will be set in a dystopic future in 2035, when the city has been submerged under water, and only a few of the citizens are able to live above the waterline. These privileged few are occupying the superstructures built as a part of the fictional Vrishabhavati Urban Rejuvenation project. This dystopian narrative has a protagonist who is a glass cleaner, originally from the Manuvaddar/ Bhovi caste, who are well-diggers. The story will unfold, from a request for a glass of water. Another fragment in the play will be set in the colonial past of Bangalore when boxing was a craze in the city. The protagonist will be a boxer in the 1930s who wanted to survive three rounds with the local boxing champion, Gentleman Gunboat Jack, whose real name was James Colzie. After challenging him to a fight at the Opera Theatre on Residency Road, the protagonist, who is drenched in sweat, is wondering to himself, how he got himself into such a mess.

The staging of the play will involve soundscapes, cartographic data such as topography and GIS data, and elements of verticality drawn from the aesthetics of climbing sports.’

Friday, September 1, 2023

Reconnaissance survey of Nayandanahalli Kere

Nayandanahalli Kere


In our mission at Biome Environmental Trust to foster sustainable water management, we continuously seek opportunities to integrate conventional and modern water-saving technologies. Our most recent reconnaissance survey led us to Nayandanahalli Lake, a unique water body that receives tertiary treated sewage water. This blog aims to detail the findings of our preliminary survey and explore the lake's potential to serve as a pilot for integrated water management systems in urban and rural contexts. 

Location & Accessibility

  Image: The Map shows the location of  Nayandanahalli Lake in yellow and STP in maroon. The light blue line is the Vrishabhavati River. The lake is very near to the Rajarajeshwari Metro station.

  1. Address: Nayandahalli Lake, ITI Layout 3rd Phase, Dr Ambedkar Nagar, Nayanda Halli, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560039  
  2. GPS Coordinates: 12°56'16.8"N 77°31'16.3"E  
  3. Entry Point: Accessible from the main road - Mysore Road  

Recent Rejuvenation and Tertiary Treatment

In January 2023, the lake received a fresh lease of life. Tertiary treated water from the BWSSB Sewage Water Treatment Plant (STP) is now being routed into the lake. This unique approach to wastewater management promises enhanced water quality and could serve as a template for other urban lakes.

Image: Map shows the Two inlets, Waste weir/Outlet, bathroom, and Garden (rectangular Green boundary) of a lake.

Comprehensive Overview of Physical Attributes and Hydrological Parameters

Area: Approximately 34,000 square meters, with a very small island dominated by bamboo trees
Perimeter: About 800 meters  
Depth: 9 feet on the east side and 15 feet on the west side near the outlet or waste weir 
Inlets: Two, one on the east and another on the south, with the east currently active.  
Drainage Capacity: The southern waste weir is fitted with additional pipes and vaults that can be activated to drain excess water

Image: Hydrology and topography map of Nayandanahalli Lake. The map also depicts the location of STP,  the lake, Vrishabhavathi river and a drainage running parallel to the lake. It can be observed that the lake is the only lake in the cascading lake systems. The natural drainage of the area can be seen and the arrows show the direction of flow of water in the region.  

Image: The map shows the way in which treated water from the STP is redirected to the lake, and using a pipeline, two inlets are made at the east and south ends of the lake. Currently, the East inlet is in use, because the water from the south outlet very soon drains out because the south outlet is very near to the waste weir/outlet. The excess water from the lake is naturally drained out of the waste weir and joins the drain that runs parallel to the lake. 

Infrastructural Elements

  1. Walking Path: A 7-foot-wide walking path supplemented by an extra 3-foot-wide buffer zone for plantation  
  2. Open Drains: These are strategically placed to route rainwater from the walking path into the lake  
  3. Stonework: The lake is stone-pitched along its internal periphery, aiding in erosion control  
  4. Flora: A variety of plants including guava, Singapore cherry, and other ornamental bushes
  5. Facilities: 
    24/7 security personnel, Street lighting along the perimeter, Bathrooms situated on the east side, A triangular garden space in the northwest. The presence of a high-tension electricity pole near the lake’s boundary was observed.

Water Quality Assessment

  1. Visual Inspection: The water appears clear with no visible signs of plant or algal growth
  2. Odor Test: A strong smell of chlorine was noticed, but only near the inlet where the STP water is released

Ecological Impact

Nayandanahalli is home to a few species of birds including common moorhens, little grebes, coots, and purple moorhens.

Potential for Future Water Management Initiatives

Given the successful integration of tertiary treated sewage water, Nayandanahalli Lake offers an opportunity for further advancements in sustainable water management. Specifically, its relatively stable ecosystem and recent rejuvenation make it an excellent candidate for integrating shallow aquifers like open wells or filtered bore wells into a holistic water management strategy.

Future steps include comprehensive hydrological and environmental studies to determine the lake's capacity to contribute to the water security of nearby localities.

For more updates on Biome Environmental Trust’s water management initiatives, please stay tuned to our blog and social media channels.

Blog by Ayushi Biswas

Monday, August 21, 2023

Biome Participation in Youth Climate Conclave

 Restless Development India (url) organised a Youth Climate Conclave on 14th Jul 2023. This event was organised as a platform for nurturing new ideas, building connections, and encouraging collective action towards making Bangalore inclusive for all. Biome was invited as panelist for the session "How youth-led actions can catalyze community response in addressing climate change challenges"

Event Date : 14th July, 2023
Event Venue : Bangalore International Centre, Domlur

The opening Keynote speaker was Mr. Anand Malligavad of Malligavad Foundation. He spoke about his journey in reviving lakes and the practical challenges he faced. He also said that self belief and persistent efforts are very important in any endeavor, and that the results will take time to show up.

Panel 1 Topic : How youth-led actions can catalyze community response in addressing climate change challenges


  • Mr Mayur, Youth Climate Champion, Restless Development
  • Mr Koushik Dhayal, Youth for Parivartan
  • Mr Srinivas, Biome Environmental Trust
  • Ms Shalini, community leader from Mahila Housing Trust

Moderator : Ms Parvathi, Restless Development’s Youth Climate Champion

The first panel brought together perspectives from individuals and organizations who are championing action on the ground in tackling some of the key challenges that the city is facing today. The discussion focused on the crucial role that youth-led actions play in enabling community-driven change in the city. The conversation looked at the opportunities and challenges faced by youth-led initiatives in the areas of cleaning up the city, water conservation and low cost housing.

Panel 2 Topic : Facilitating Partnerships & engaging with youth led initiatives - Experiences, impact and learnings


  • Mr Anirudh Dutt, Founder of Let’s Be The Change
  • Ms Pinky Chandran,  Independent  Journalist
  • Ms Vrinda Kapur, Grants Manager at Porticus Foundation

Moderator : Mr Abhishek S, Restless Development Youth Climate Champion

The second panel reiterated the importance of a conducive ecosystem for youth-led change, through the lens of some of the key stakeholders. The discussion was mainly focused around how community level initiatives can be effectively organized through partnerships and what can be learnt from the past experiences. One of the most echoed thoughts was the importance of having persistent belief and working towards the goals, and the time and efforts it takes to convert scalable partnerships. The panelists delved on the criticality of inclusive grant-making that permeates effectively into community action with the right support of advocacy, communication, involvement of decision makers and community champions.

Namma Kere Event

     The first of its kind, this is an initiative by Citizens of Sankey and Bengaluru Praja Vedike to preserve and manage lakes of Bengaluru. The event mainly had two presentations by experts followed by a panel discussion.

Topic of discussion:  The gaps in lake management & preservation, actionable solutions.

Date & time: 19th August 2023 from 10 AM to 1.30 PM 

Venue: Seva Sadana, Malleshwaram, Bengaluru 

Speakers & Panelists: 

  1. (Prof) Dr T V Ramachandra, IISc 

  2. Dr U V Singh, IFS(R)

  3. Prof Rajeev Gowda - ex-MP & Academician

  4. Mukund Namagundlu - Civic Activist

  5. Smaran Shetty - Environmental Lawyer

  6. Preeti Gehlot - Special Commissioner for Lakes, Bengaluru

  7. Vasanthi Hariprakash - Moderator

The discussion had two parts - a presentation by Prof Dr TV Ramachandra and Dr U V Singh and a panel discussion with the experts.

Key takeaways from Prof T V Ramachandra’s presentation: 

  1. Background:

  • Currently, Bengaluru has 193 lakes and less than 4% tree cover

  • An unpolluted lake generates a revenue of around Rs.10,500/day/hectare, while a polluted lake only generates Rs.20/day/hectare. Eg- Amruthahalli Lake

  • Groundwater table & lakes: Removal of lakes decreases the groundwater level from 600’ to 80-100’ while the presence of a lake increases the groundwater table from 800’ to 350’ a year (Sarakki Kere)

  1. Problems involved: 

  • Lack of understanding of lakes 

  • No scientific rejuvenation - Emphasis on civic recreational work rather than eco-restoration; in the name of remodeling, there is only concretisation

  • Unplanned urbanization

  • Lack of proper solid waste management 

  • Unscientific rainwater storms

  • Distribution of pollution (biomagnification) through fishes, vegetables etc 

  1. Plausible solutions:

  1. Reuse and recycle wastewater

  • Compulsory tertiary treatment of wastewater before releasing  into lakes.

  • A successful case study - Revival of Jakkur lake - around 300  wells around Jakkur were revived, and none tested positive for nitrogen and phosphorus.

  1. Mini forest in each ward - a self-sustaining system around the lake 

  2. Proper rainwater harvesting set-up can solve most of the water scarcity problem of Bengaluru.

  3. Increase in environmental literacy involving the public and the youth.

Key takeaways from Dr U V Singh’s presentation:

Recommendations for lake conservation (administrative measures):

  • Inventory of all tanks (live and proposed lakes ) in Bengaluru 

  • Invoking Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority Act, 2014

  • Appointment of Chief Executive Officer by amending KTCDA Act

  • Appointment of authorized officers, required staff and planning regular meetings with them

  • No development of any lake or tank until an STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) is set up for the lake.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion:

  • Retain the lake as a part of the environment rather than making it human-centric. Maintain the integrity of lakes by considering the physical (less concretisation) and chemical (not releasing industrial effluents) components of the lake.
  • Propose a dedicated website for lakes in Bengaluru that includes a list of live lakes, encroachments, recreational activities, etc.
  • Establish a structured Community Participation Forum for each lake that includes the following: 
  • Involve a group of 10 people around the lake as the members of this Forum; maintaining the lake and the website should be their responsibility.  

  • Train the members effectively and arrange informative sessions by experts 

  • The community should have one government representative to smoothen the legal functioning 

  • Revenue from the lake should be recorded and updated on the website regularly

  • Declare all lakes as heritage sites to prevent any type of encroachments

  • The committee meetings should compulsorily involve representatives from the public. Also, EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) reports should be more scientific and transparent 
  • Environmental education should be made compulsory for all governmental employees, Politicians, private players and academicians to create awareness 

Blog written by, Apeksha Deshpande