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

Friday, August 18, 2023

Biome at RRI - EAB Jubilee Seminar

The Environment Association of Bangalore (EAB), in collaboration with Raman Research Institute (RRI), organised a Jubilee Seminar on ‘Urban Management and Water Conservation’ on July 8, 2023, at the RRI auditorium. Biome was invited to deliver a talk on ‘Rainwater harvesting as an integral part of Integrated Urban Water Management - some experiences around Bengaluru’ in the session on Water Conservation. 

The seminar was attended by around 175 students pursuing engineering, basic sciences, environmental and earth sciences, and other professionals. Avinash Krishnamurthy from Biome delivered the lecture. 

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Integrating the shallow aquifer into Devanahalli Town's water supply


Devanahalli is a small town located 35 km to the north of Bengaluru. It is known for the Kempegowda International Airport, which accelerated the growth of the town. 

The town has an area of 16.63 sq km, 23 wards and a population of ~38,000 and is entirely dependent on groundwater for its needs. The primary source of water has been borewells, whose depths have reached more than 1000 feet now. Since many borewells have stopped yielding, the Town Municipal Corporation had to dig new borewells to meet the increasing water demand. There are around 130 borewells, of which 32 are not yielding anymore. It is estimated that the town has a total demand of around 2.66 MLD (million litres per day) at 70 LPCD (litres per capita per day), according to the standards of the State Water Policy 2002, for its current population. Dependence on water tankers is not only at the private level. In some cases, even the TMC sources water from private water tankers. 

As the water supplied by the town has high TDS (total dissolved solids) levels and is salty, people use RO (reverse osmosis) water dispensed in select places paying Rs 5 for 20 litres for their drinking water requirements. 

Shallow Aquifer Integration – A Solution

Over the last few years, the Hebbal Nagavara Valley project of the Minor Irrigation Department of the Govt of Karnataka, started pumping treated wastewater into lakes around Bengaluru. When Devanahalli TMC desilted Sihineeru Kere, the possibility of integrating the shallow aquifer through an old open well near the lake into Devanahalli’s water supply became a potential opportunity. Biome facilitated the revival of the well by cleaning and strengthening the structure with the anticipation that the well would start yielding. When the treated wastewater pumping to Sihineeru Kere started, the well started yielding as expected, with a capacity of around 100-150 KL/day. To increase the yield from the shallow aquifer, two filter borewells (shallow borewells with slotted casing pipes) were dug, which increased the total yield to 200 KL/day.

The lake provides a livelihood for a fisherman who rears fish here and is also visited by birds like the cormorant and painted stork. 

Sihineeru Kere with water hyacinth due to sewage

A body of water with a sandy beach

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Sihineeru Kere after cleaning

How it all comes together

Currently, the TMC supplies around 1200 KL (kilolitres) of water per day to households at 32-35 LPCD. A Water Treatment Plant (WTP), including a rapid sand filter, a 140-micron multimedia filter, ultraviolet (UV) disinfection and an online chlorinator, has been set up to treat the well water before it is integrated into the water supply system. The WTP ensures that the treated water is compliant with BIS 10500 standards. It has been set up in the existing pumphouse. After passing through the WTP, the treated water is collected in the sump tank. The sump also receives water from the existing borewells, before it is pumped to the overhead tank, the schematic of which is shown below.

A diagram of a well

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The shallow aquifer water from the well requires much less energy for pumping and is, therefore, cheaper than the deep borewell water. It also has a much lower TDS and is potable. 

A group of people working in a well

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Open well before cleaning

A hole in the ground with a hole in the ground

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Well after cleaning

A blue tank with pipes and a dog lying on the ground

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Water Treatment Plant

Ecosystem Play

This project was conceptualised and facilitated by Biome Environmental Trust. However, successful execution happened due to contributions from key partners of the ecosystem - TMC Devanahalli, EFI Foundation, SayTrees, the well-digger community, the Indian Institute of Science, Rotary Club and Carl Zeiss. As part of ITC Mission Sunehra Kal's urban water management which is being implemented in collaboration with Biome in Yelahanka and Devanahalli taluks, Devanahalli TMC members, watermen, plumbers and volunteers received training. This helped people understand the importance of urban water management, and created buy-in for this project.

The Way Forward

To make this ecosystem more robust, the following interventions are being planned in Phase 2

  • Wetland at the inlet point of Sihineeru Kere to treat the water flowing into the lake 

  • Additional filter borewells to increase shallow aquifer withdrawal

  • Biodiversity enhancement interventions around the lake

  • Cleaning of the channel called poshakaluve, from the inlet point of used water to the lake

  • Lake bund stabilisation, connection of the overflow weir to the nala, roadside planting and seating around the lake

Last and probably the most important is to make this a learning laboratory and a case study that can be used in other towns and villages for reviving and integrating shallow aquifers into the water supply.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Talk on Water & Sanitation at Christ University

Christ University ( has taken an initiative to include Sustainability as part of their BBA curriculum. The 3rd year students of BBA have being divided into several groups and each group has chosen an SDG goal of their choice to work on. One of the groups is working on the SDG goal 'Clean Water and Sanitation'; this group invited Biome as a Guest speaker to conduct a session for them.

Venue - Christ University, Hosur Main Road, Bengaluru
Date - 10:00 am to 11:00 am , 9th Aug 2023

Attendees -

  • Prof Leena James, faculty at Christ University
  • 35 students, studying BBA (3rd year) at Christ University
  • Srinivas C from Biome Environmental Trust as Guest speaker

The session was interactive. The following topics were covered by Biome,

  • Water
    • Water supply situation in Bengaluru
    • Energy cost of Cauvery water supply vis-a-vis Ground water from Shallow aquifer
    • The need for Recharge Wells
    • BWSSB rules regarding Rain water harvesting
  • Sanitation
    • Informal use of Wastewater and Fecal sludge for Agriculture in Devanahalli
    • K-C Valley project and its impact on the districts of Chikkaballapur and Kolar


Brainstorming session on Water Security at IISc, Bengaluru

 Biome participated in a Brainstorming session on Water Security that was conducted at IISc, Bengaluru

Venue - Indian Institue of Science, CV Raman Road, Bengaluru
Date of session - 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, 20th Jul 2023

Subject of discussion - Developing an integrated and holistic Water Security Solutions under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM-2.0- Exascale Computing Vision) that is initiated by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

The conversations focused on how the Supercomputing capacity being developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) can help with providing models for various dimensions of Water security, including Water Supply, Sewage Generation, Treatment and Disposal,  Groundwater Scenario, Flood - Water Generation and possible Harvesting, RWH etc.

The Brainstorming session was attended by many experts, government officials and water practitioners , some of them are mentioned below:

  • Mr Ramesh and Mr Hari Babu - Centre for Development of Advanced Computing
  • Prof M. S. Mohan Kumar - IISc
  • Dr Lakshminarayana Rao - IISc
  • Dr H. N. Chanakya - IISc
  • Dr Shubha Avinash , formerly with KSNDMC
  • Dr PN Ravindra - KIADB, formerly with BWSSB
  • Mr Vivekananda - Jacobs Solutions
  • Prof Shekar Muthu
  • Mr Rajiv K N - BWSSB
  • Mr Maheshwarappa - BWSSB
  • Mr Avinash Krishnamurthy - Biome Environmental Trust
  • Mr Srinivas C - Biome Environmental Trust

The speakers provided inputs on additional water management aspects that can be incorporated by CDAC  in their computing models, which will leverage their Supercomputing capacity along with Big data, Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Shubha's talk for the CoA / Reva University

 The Council of Architecture Training and Research Centre, Pune, in collaboration with the Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Design, Reva University, Bengaluru, organised a 5-day online conference on ‘Water and its role in designing the built environment’ from August 7th to 11th, 2023. Shubha Ramachandran of Biome was one of the invited speakers - her session was titled ‘Sustainable Urban Water Management: Learnings from Bengaluru City’. 


Shubha at BAI / Spoorthi

 The Builders’ Association of India (Bengaluru Centre) and Spoorthi Women’s Wing organised a talk by Biome’s Shubha Ramachandran on the topic ‘Sustainable Water Management in Cities’ on July 26, 2023, at Builders’ NGV Club at Koramangala, Bengaluru. Shubha was also felicitated on the occasion.