Category: Water Management

new year resolution

5 Ways To Decide On A New Year Resolution That Doesn’t Need Work

It’s that time of the year when almost everyone around you is coming up with ways of making the incoming year more productive. Some people have been planning their new year resolutions since the latter half of the year. Piling on one promise after another with a failed attempt at each is not the way to go, is it? Well, ApnaComplex is happy to lend a helping hand. Here are 5 easy new year resolutions in case you haven’t got on to the ‘change is good’ wagon yet. Trust us, these are more helpful than you’d know.

 

  • Save water –

With all the global warming signs getting bigger and bigger, doing your bit for the planet will only make you feel good about the next year. Tracking water usage levels and avoiding water wastage is one option. ApnaComplex provides you with Water Monitor, a water tracking app that allows you to track the volume of water being used by your society. A plus point is that it tracks the billing as per water usage too. Find out more about Water Monitor here.

new year resolution

 

  • Avoid preventable theft –

This one leans towards those who have faced theft issues in the past. Why offer a chance when there doesn’t have to be one? One aspect of this problem is vehicle theft. ApnaComplex’s solution to that is Vehicle Sentry, a vehicle tracking system that lets you stay aware of your vehicle’s whereabouts. Know more about Vehicle Sentry here.

new year resolution

 

  • Family safety –

For all those who believe that safety in any form can never be enough, ApnaComplex has Gatekeeper, a visitor tracking app. Gatekeeper lets you know about your visitor beforehand and lets you verify their entry. Be aware of who knocks on your door. Stay alert with Gatekeeper here.

new year resolution

 

  • Spend less –

Everyone can cash in on this new year resolution. Spending less is never an idea that is unwelcome. One way of going about with this is by holding less change in your pockets and using cashless services. Collection Gateway by ApnaComplex is another such service that lets you pay maintenance dues via NEFT or RTGS. Here’s why Collection Gateway should be your new year resolution this year.

new year resolution

 

  • Make lives easier –

Why not have an easy management system in place for those who work hard at settling the books in your society? Get some good karma under your belt by getting ApnaComplex for your society. Keep track of reminders, bill and maintenance payments and vendors of your society in a more automated manner. This is one of the most easiest ways of fulfilling a new year resolution, don’t you think?

new year resolution

 

So, this time, let’s all make a promise to ourselves to move forward with the new year resolutions we choose. Good luck chasing the new life!


Announcing Water Monitor by ApnaComplex – Track Water Tanker Trips and Consumption in your Apartment Complex

We are proud to announce the launch of “Water Monitor” – an Android App to easily keep track of the Water delivered by Tankers to your society.
Water Monitor by ApnaComplex
Getting Water Supply from private tankers in an inconvenient truth in most housing societies in urban areas. Keeping track of the trips made by tankers is always a tedious and susceptible to manipulation. In addition, at the time of payments to vendors, calculations need to be done manually on the payment to be released. Care needs to be taken to avoid double payments for the same trips. There is no easy way to understand the consumption trends as well.

Water Monitor solves all these and does more.

What is Water Monitor?

Water Monitor is a new-age android app offered by ApnaComplex which is used by the security staff at the entrance gate of large apartment complexes and allows them to record water tankers coming in and the volume of water being supplied with pictures. Committee members can monitor and analyse the number of water tankers coming in and the volume of water being supplied from the ApnaComplex portal directly. The application can be installed on any Android smartphone or a tablet. Just click a photo of the water tanker coming-in, enter details and upload all the details on your complex portal in less than 15 seconds.

Who Needs the Water Monitor App and Why?

Any large apartment complex need this app for easy monitoring of the water supplied by the water tanker agencies. Usually any large apartment complex require a minimum of 300-500 water tankers to address the water needs of the residents every month. This huge volume of water is usually supplied by multiple water supplying vendors. Since there are multiple supplier and multiple tankers coming in multiple times, keeping a track of the water tankers and the volume of water supplied becomes a tedious job. Too many entries and log books leads to confusion, in many cases treasurer ends up paying more money to the vendors.

How does the Water Monitor App Work?

As soon as a water tanker approaches the apartment complex gate. The security guard will open the ‘Water Monitor’ application and enter the 4 digit password to login. The security guard will select details like vendor name, volume of water being supplied – in case of shortage security can update the actual volume, click and upload photos of the water tanker as a proof. The most important aspect of Water Monitor is its ability to run stand alone without internet connection and sync up with master database of ApnaComplex portal as and when internet connection is made available. Once the details are uploaded, an SMS with all the details are automatically sent to the committee member or manager who is responsible for monitoring water supply in the society.

How to View Details and Analyse Data?

The designated committee members can log into the complex portal and view the details like—
• Vendor and the volume of water supplied
• Number of tankers have entered the complex of a specific or all vendors
• Billed/unbilled trips of specific/all vendor
• Amount of money spend of specific/all vendors
• Select the period and view the total amount of money spent on water with specific/all vendors etc.
The above details can be viewed for different interval period by providing the dates for analysis.

Water Monitor will certainly make a big difference in the way your Society is monitoring the delivery by tankers and the subsequent billing associated with this.

Water Monitor is exciting. How do I get one for my society?

All our Accounting Edition and Ultimate Edition customers can see a new menu item for Water Monitor under “Expenditure” to do the configuration of Water Tanker Vendors and Water Tanker Trips. Next, download and install Water Monitor App and you are ready to roll!

Yet another instance of true innovation from ApnaComplex.com – be it Gatekeeper App for visitor tracking, or bringing real-time balance sheet, or having bio-metric devices for staff attendance, or making society software accessible on mobile phones – we continue to raise the bar higher and higher in Apartment Management space!


Apartment Management Monsoon Maintenance – How to Clean the Swimming Pool

It goes without saying that a beautiful property with a well maintained swimming pool is always a delight to witness. However, proper thought and care should be put in when it comes to maintaining a swimming pool, especially during the monsoon.

Maintaining a pool

Why Monsoon Maintenance is Essential


A swimming pool in a housing society needs to be maintained throughout the year and this can be done changing the water regularly and adding the right sanitizers that are eco-friendly.

This is truer during the monsoon season as there’s a greater chance of moss growing on the slabs around the pool during this time. This can be mainly attributed to the moist weather and the ever damp surface around the pool.

During the monsoon, the pH levels of the water in the pool need to be maintained as the rains can play havoc and affect the pH value by introducing dirty and contaminated water. An imbalance in the chemical composition of the pool water may rise during the rains.

Acid rains can especially be quite dangerous as harmful and toxic substances from the atmosphere may get mixed with the pool water due to such rain. The rains will also bring along a lot of organic materials and pollen that will get accumulated in the pool. Within hours of the first shower of the monsoon, a significant variation in the pool water’s pH level will be easily noticeable.

Maintaining the Pool During the Monsoon


The swimming pool can be maintained well if the right filtration systems or chemical treatment programs are adopted and implemented.

  • Brushing the Pool Walls

Brushing the floor and walls of the pool helps in eliminating the wild shrubs that grow within. Metal rakes can be used in order to remove any fungal or mossy growth on the tiles that surround the swimming pool. You should hose down the mossy spot once you remove the plants using the rake.

  • Regular Chlorination

Adding chlorine to the pool water through specially designed chlorine tablets will help in preventing the growth of algae. Routine chlorination should be done as it helps in preventing health hazards like ear infections, Legionnaires Disease, gastroenteritis and athlete’s foot, which are quite prevalent among people who frequent unclean water bodies.

  • Using Algaecides

An algaecide will also be effective in clearing algae from the pool. You can try using both ammonia as well as metal based algaecides. Ammonia based varieties are more effective and can be used to clean the pool in a stain-free way.

During the rains, the water in the pool tends to get discoloured; so it is important to treat it with ammonia based algaecides to prevent further discoloration. Generally, balancers, stabilisers and shocks are used for pool cleaning.

  • Using Pool Filters

A filter should be attached to the pool and the water should be cleaned on a daily basis during the rains so that the debris and dirt can be completely cleared. Also, it helps in circulating the fresh water well. The filter also needs to be cleaned regularly by the maintenance personnel and dead algae should be removed, as it will solve no purpose otherwise.

An unclean pool can be dangerous to swimmers and the filtering system as well. It can cause eye irritation or skin problems in swimmers. You can help the apartment maintenance crew with cleaning the pool or simply carry out the steps yourself with other residents.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trail as well so that you can try before you buy!

Housing Society Knowhow – Rain Water Harvesting Guidelines in Hyderabad

Infrastructure management in any two cities is never the same, and Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) is one such measure that has different guidelines in every city. The RWH guidelines in Hyderabad are understandably entirely different from those in Bangalore.

Rain water harvesting

To understand the guidelines better, you’ll need to grow familiar the concept of rain water harvesting and the reasons behind the same.

Why Rain Water Harvesting?

Rain water is one of the purest forms of water that is majorly deemed fit for human consumption and use worldwide. Gathering rain water and using the same can help in tackling the demand for fresh water and the practice can also help in preventing floods. Some advantages of rain water harvesting include:

This process will help in recharging water aquifers

  • The quality of ground water can be significantly improved
  • Soil erosion can be reduced when excess rain water is tapped and stored
  • Water logging can be prevented and this will help in negating mosquito related problems
  • Water shortage issues that crop up in cities like Hyderabad during the summer can be tackled
  • Power consumption can be reduced as the process of pumping water can be made rare

RWH Guidelines in Hyderabad City

Guidelines for rain water harvesting were enforced in Hyderabad in the year 2001.

  • The owner or occupier of a particular building, which stands on an area of more than 300 square meters, should install a rainwater investing system.
  • It is mandatory to install RWH systems in commercial complexes and housing societies.
  • Trenches and percolation pits should be installed around every building in Hyderabad these can have a dimension of 1.2 x 1.2 x 2.5 meters. The trenches can have a depth of 2 meters, a width of 0.6 meters and a length of around 2 to 6 meters.
  • Terrace water can be sent directly to these trenches and pits, and they need to mandatorily have filter materials. A brick wall should be constructed near these trenches and pits, with an ideal depth so that loose soil does not mix with the rain water that’s collected.
  • Concrete slabs that are well perforated should be provided over these trenches and pits. Fine sand and coarse sand should be used in two layers in these trenches and pits.
  • PVC pipes can be used to connect the terrace to the sump so that the rain water that’s collected can be channeled down to the sump.
  • Rain water harvesting experts should be consulted to build a value system, which will directly discharge the first batch of rain water that’s collected (as it is bound to be dirty due to its interaction with dust on the terrace floor). The secondary batches will them be stored in the sump.
  • Filtering tanks need to be constructed near the sumps in order to purify the water, and these should have two layers – one layer of coarse sand and another layer of fine sand. This filtering tank should have a dimension of 1 x 1 x 1 meters. The tank should have a sloping base so that water doesn’t get accumulated by any chance.

You can check if the rain water harvesting system in your housing society follows these guidelines and bring up any missing features during resident meetings.


This article aims at collating and providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use it only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals. If you need professional advise on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form. You may post your questions/inputs in the Comments section below and we will try and get them answered through relevant subject matter experts.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Housing Society Knowhow – RWH Guidelines in Bangalore

Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) has been made mandatory for every housing society and independent household, and in order to ensure that your housing society is following the norms specified by the government, you’ll have to understand the given guidelines.

Rain water havesting

Rain water harvesting guidelines for housing societies and residential spaces in Bangalore vary largely from those in other cities in terms of implementation. In 2009, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board enforced RWH implementation in certain areas of city and these guidelines were introduced.

RWH Guidelines in Bangalore City

  • The occupier (tenant) or the owner of a particular building (which stands on more than 2400 square feet area), or every owner who proposes to erect a building on an area of 1200 square feet or more, should construct a rainwater harvesting structure.
  • The volume for recharge or storage of rain water should be a minimum of 20 liters per square meter and 10 liters per square meter on the non-roof area of the site.
  • Bore-wells can be recharged by using the necessary catchment management systems and fillers in the rain water harvesting setup.
  • Rainwater that’s collected from the roof should not be sent to a live bore-well, even if it’s taken through a filter.
  • The rainwater should be sent to a separate open well near the bore-well. The water from the open well can be fed into the bore-well if it reaches very low capacity.
  • Filters should be mandatorily used, although the type of filter can vary depending on the owner’s preference.

If a residential complex or a standalone house does not have a rain water harvesting system that’s been government approved, then the drinking water supply to that particular house will normally be cut till the specified changes are made. This was introduced by the government when it was noted that many residents weren’t following the specified deadline.

As of 2009, the Government identified about 58,000 buildings where RWH systems had to be installed mandatorily.

Tips for Installing Rain Water Harvesting System

Following the RWH guidelines won’t be difficult for a residential building or a housing society in Bangalore if it meets some basic requirements. The first and foremost requirement is to have a sump tank to preserve water.

Also, every building should have an installed pipeline to redirect rain water from the catchment area to the tank. A facility to clean the catchment area should also be present in every building to avoid bacterial growth, which can contaminate the water and affect the residents.

  • For installing the system, the managing committee can avail the services of a rainwater harvesting expert who will be able to set up a working model.
  • The rooftop area in the housing society or any open ground area can serve as the catchment region. Ensure that both these areas are wide enough to hold a tank.
  • Ensure that the roof top area is continuously cleaned by the maintenance team to avoid bacterial growth.

Setting up an RWH system can provide a secondary source of water for all members of the housing society and make it a decidedly green zone. It can also help in preventing water logging and effectively remove the problem of stagnant water in the terrace and other areas.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Conserving Water In A Housing Society – Tips For Every Household – Housing Society

Water is a precious resource and the world over; it is also a dwindling resource – even in a housing society. Increasing human population is piling a huge demand on the overall water resources, and reservoirs are drying up and water tables are correspondingly going down. Housing societies everywhere are looking for ways to conserve water usage and replenish water reserves.

Conserving Water In a Housing Society
There are several ways through which the residents in your housing society can conserve water:

  • Leaky Faucets – Check for leaking taps. The eternally dripping water can slowly add up to gallons of waste water in a short time. Fix all leaks immediately after pointing them out.
  • Flush Tank Leaks – Check to see if your toilet tank leaks water. If you suspect a leak but cannot be sure, add some coloring to the water in the tank. If the water in the toilet bowl colors up without the flush being used, it means you have a leak. Fix the leak as soon as you can.
  • Displace Water in Flush Tanks – If you have a flush tank that takes in a lot of water, you can cut down on that extra water. Fill a water bottle with sand and put it inside the tank. This displaces the water in the tank, and the tank takes less water to fill up. Don’t displace too much water. Insufficient water won’t clear the toilet in one flush and will result in people doing multiple flushes.
  • Install New Flush Tanks – Low flush or controlled flush systems can help you conserve a lot of water as the flush can be controlled throughout.
  • No Bathtubs – Filling a bathtub takes a lot of water. So avoid using bathtubs and use showers instead. These are better and will keep you free of sweat.
  • Restrict Water Flow in Showers – Use low flow shower heads or install flow restrictors in your showers. This way you can cut down the water flow through your showers.
  • Take Short Showers – Do not take long baths. When you are soaping up, turn off the shower. Turn it on only when you need to wash off the soap. Letting the water run throughout can waste a lot of water.
  • Prevent Clogging of Water Pipes – Salt content in water can quickly clog your water pipes. Your housing society should consider installing desalination or water softening systems to ensure clear water gets pumped through the water pipes.

How can this help conserve water?
When water flows out slowly from taps, people have a tendency to leave it running for longer. Also, they leave it on to fill buckets with water, and then might forget to turn it off. In these and other ways, water pipe clogging may result in water wastage. Steady, smooth flow of water through pipes and taps ensure more efficient usage.

  • Don’t Leave Water Running – When you are brushing your teeth or shaving, close the tap. Turn it on only when you need to clean the brush or the razor. Use a glass of water to rinse your mouth, instead of keeping the water running. Teach children to turn off water taps properly.
  • Washing Machines – Use your washing machine only when it is on full load. Using the machine when it’s on half load can result in a lot of water wastage.
  • Washing Dishes – When you are washing dishes, do not keep the water running. Turn the tap on only when you need to rinse the dishes.
  • Recycling – Try installing water recycling systems. Recycle non-toilet water for use in non potable purposes – like flush tanks, car wash, watering the garden etc.
  • Rain Water Harvesting – You housing society can harvest rain water by collecting it in overhead filter tanks, or by redirecting the rain water to the ground to replenish water beds.
  • Avoid Hoses – Use a broom to clean your front porch or yard and don’t hose it clean. If you must use water to clean it, fill a bucket with water and sprinkle it, then sweep it. Use soap and sponge to clean your car.
  • Watering Your Garden – Water your lawn and plants during early morning or at dusk. This decreases evaporation, and gives the plans more time to absorb the water.

Your housing society can get people to practice simple water saving techniques to conserve water. Recycling water and rain water harvesting systems are another way for a housing society to combat water shortage. If all these measures are practiced, you can help reduce the strain on water resources and help replenish them.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

How to Operate and Maintain Water Treatment Plant Efficiently – Easy Guide to Apartment Associations

Most Apartment Associations and Housing Societies are run by volunteers and most of them do not have necessary technical background that is necessary to ensure proper maintenance of the critical assets like Water Treatment Plants, RO Water Plants, DG Sets etc. Typically the operations and maintenance of these assets are outsourced by the managing committee with a hope that the agencies maintain them professionally. More often that not, no one in the managing committee is even aware how to check if the assets are being maintained and operated properly. Due to this, associations typically end up with sudden huge expenses towards the repair/re-installation of these assets.

In an attempt to help all housing societies and apartment associations, ApnaComplex, with the help of Mr. Ranganathan – Water Management Consultant, presents below an guide / checklists on Water Treatment Plants Operation and Maintenance.

Why Water Treatment Plant?

Today water used in apartment complexes and gated communities is obtained partly from bore wells or from tanker water suppliers. Invariably, the water has a total mineral content higher than the “desirable” value specified in BIS-10500 which is the official Indian standard for water used for human consumption. A high mineral content means that the total hardness of the water will also be high and cause problems like scaling of hot water geysers, choking of pipes, poor quality of washing in machines etc. This is often taken care of by installing a water softening plant (also called as Water Treatment Plant). Refer our other article on “Water Treatment in times of Water Scarcity” to know more about the importance of Water Treatment Plants

How does a Water Softener Plant work?

A water softener plant comprises a pressure vessel made of either mild steel or fiberglass composite. It contains a bed of ion exchanger( normally called resin) which softens water. The pressure vessel is fitted with external piping fitted with valves. The softener plant is also provided with a tank in which a specified quantity of salt is filled in and water allowed in by means of the valve provided for this purpose. The water dissolves the salt to make a solution of brine (this is what a salt solution is called).

The resin bed inside is capable of removing hardness from the hard water passing through it . The quantity of water thus softened depends entirely on the hardness of the water and the capacity of the resin. When the capacity of the resin to soften water is exhausted, it has to be regenerated by injecting a solution of salt solution (brine) into it to prepare the resin to soften more water. The manufacturer of the softener is normally supposed to provide a detailed Operation & Maintenance manual which gives detailed instructions on how to operate the unit and regenerate it.

This manual indicates the total capacity of the softener to soften water before it is exhausted (this capacity is called Output Between Regenerations or OBR). The manual also indicates how many kilos of salt are to be filled in to the salt tank to prepare brine for one re-generation. It gives detailed instructions on how to operate the valves on the unit to inject brine into the softener, rinse off the excess brine and then prepare it to produce soft water for another cycle of operation.

Every softener plant must have a water meter fitted at the inlet so that the quantity of water softened can be monitored. The water meter also helps in measuring the water used for regeneration since this water goes to drain and usually ends up in the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant). Every softener operator must have a hardness testing kit so that he will know when the softener is producing soft water and when it is exhausted.

Following two procedures must be followed by Operators for proper Operation of Water Treatment Plant. In most associations, the operations are outsourced to an agency, even then it is imperative that Managing Committee members verify the log books and the hardness reports once every fifteen days to ensure the softener plant is operating properly.

Procedure for regeneration of an exhausted softener

  1. Make a note of the water meter reading in the log book.
  2. Start backwash if the softener manual calls for it. Carry out backwash for the specified duration.
  3. Inject the salt solution(brine) into the softener.
  4. When brine injection is over, start the process of rinse to remove all the excess brine.
  5. When end of rinse is approaching, take a sample of rinse water and test for hardness.
  6. If the hardness is within the figure specified in the manual, usually about 10.00 ppm., stop rinse and open soft water outlet valve and make a note of the water meter reading.

How to know when to Re-generate

  1. When water meter reading shows that softener has treated almost the quantity as per OBR, take a sample of soft water and test it using the test kit. It is critical to note that with out a proper log book and Water Meter, it is not possible to accurately know the amount of water treated since last regeneration.
  2. If the hardness is higher than 10.00 ppm, and the OBR figure has been reached, shut down the softener, prepare it for regeneration and carry out the regeneration as per procedure given above.

Very Important Points

  1. Approximately 95% of the apartment complexes Mr. Ranganathan visited in the last 8 years had no documents/manual for the softener and have operators without relevant knowledge, experience or training in softener operation. So, the first step is to get the manual from the supplier/manufacturer as it is critical. If this is not possible, approach an expert with correct/relevant expertise for help.
  2. The next step is to read the manual 🙂. This is invariably the most difficult step – but there must be few members in the society who must read the manual and understand how their Water Treatment Plant works. If we buy a new electric/electronic appliance such as Microwave in the house, we do glance through the manual – don’t we? Water Treatment Plant is more costlier and many times more critical piece of equipment that owners of apartments have invested in. The more number of people know about the plant the better it is. Some members with relevant background can go through the manual and share the details with the larger community in meetings in simpler language. (By the way, you can upload the electronic/scanned versions of the manuals into the Document Repository of ApnaComplex – easy way to store all documents in a central place).
  3. Timing given in the manual for the various sequences which are part of operation must be strictly followed.
  4. All the sequences of operation given in the manual must be carried out exactly as specified. All this data must be logged into a log book as it will help with troubleshooting if needed. It is critical to ensure log book is maintained by the operator and monitored by the committee frequently.
  5. If these procedures are not followed DO NOT WASTE TIME and MONEY on the softener. Any amount of salt will not help soften the water if the re-generation is not done in time.

This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. Mr. S.S. Ranganathan, who provided inputs for this post, is a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based in Bangalore. He can be reached at +91-93437-34229.

ApnaComplex is an housing society / apartment accounting and management software. We are offering a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.


Water Treatment in times of Water Scarcity – Need for better operation and maintenance of Water Treatment Plants in your Housing Society

History of Growth of Water Treatment Industry

The water treatment industry in India is well established and has been around since the early 1950s with just a few players  at that time, several of them subsidiaries of companies known internationally. The market grew over the last 5 decades and today, there are probably close to a few thousand companies(including many small, local companies) as  players now in the market. As the industrialization and development of the country progressed, water use too grew rapidly with water  being used with utter profligacy depleting ground water and polluting surface water with industrial waste water and enormous quantities of domestic sewage.

As water quality deteriorated, there was a clear opportunity for companies to bring in Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology to cater to the drinking water needs of the country. The standard for drinking water BIS-10500 had also been established in 1991 by the Indian Standards Institution (ISI) now re-named Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). This standard reflected the deterioration that water quality had undergone, particularly ground water. BIS-10500 has laid down the desirable quality, the acceptable quality and lastly the permissible quality for water used for human consumption if no better,  alternate source was available. Such a situation was ideal for the growth of the water treatment industry to cater to the domestic segment using RO for drinking water purification since ground water over much of the country had deteriorated due to over exploitation leading to water with dissolved solids content far in excess of the maximum limit specified by BIS-10500.There was enormous growth in the industry that catered to the water demand of the domestic market.

The economic reforms of 1991 too saw the accelerated GDP growth. In this  scenario, the real estate development industry too geared up to meet the pent up demand for housing in the country. If one takes Bangalore as a typical example of this growth, it saw the city of Bangalore growing in size, spreading out, growing in all directions with a virtual forest of apartment complexes and gated communities springing up in almost no time at all! As much of this growth was in areas to which BWSSB was unable to supply Cauvery Water, the residents of such areas had to make do with ground water which was mostly hard water and had excess total dissolved solids. Now, this gave birth to Water Treatment Plants in Apartment Complexes and Housing Societies.

Water treatment plants in Apartment Complexes & Housing Societies

Let us first examine in detail the reasons leading to Water Treatment Plants in Housing Societies.

Hard Water

High hardness in water causes deposit of scales in vessels used for heating water,in hot water geysers and in pressure cookers. Hard water causes poor quality of washing in washing machines, increases consumption of detergent and prevents soap from lathering when having a bath or even when just washing utensils. Hard water prevents dal and rice from cooking, spoils the taste of tea when it is used to make tea and, it also ruins the taste of whiskey when it is used to make a drink!! Hard water fails to  quench your thirst when you drink it. Hard water also forms scales in the pipes carrying water and can warrant replacement of all water pipes in the complex after few years which can be a very huge expense.

Obviously, softeners are the answers to such problems. Softeners have therefore become very common in apartment complexes  in the form of a large centrally installed system that softens all water used in the premises it is installed in. Some times there is no centralized softener in an apartment complex and one finds that some individual apartments have installed small domestic softeners to soften the water for various uses or to soften the water fed to a small domestic RO unit.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Total dissolved solids is the total of all the minerals present in a water including the total hardness. A total dissolved solids content of approximately 300 to 500 ppm (or mg/litre) is acceptable and does not need to be treated by an RO unit.  However, in most places well waters often have TDS levels as high as 1000 ppm or more.

This is where an RO system comes in as very useful as it can remove 90 to 95% of the TDS and thus provide good tasting water.  Using an RO unit would produce treated water with TDS as low as 20 to 30 ppm. However, it is important to note that hard water cannot be directly fed into a RO unit as it forms hardness sacale on the RO Membrane. Thus, Soft water is the best kind of water to feed an RO unit. There are apartment complexes where the residents of a complex have shared the cost of installing a central RO system which is used to supply RO water to all the apartments in the  complex 

Suspended Impurities

In a majority of the cases, softeners need to protected from the presence of suspended impurities in the feed water. This is done by installing a pressure sand filter and, some times by also installing an additional activated carbon filter which protects the softener from the effects of chlorinated water and organic impurities. Such filtration systems are also a must as a pre-treatment for RO systems.

Thus, essentailly we need water to pass through filternation plats, followed by softener, and then through RO Unit to get potable water.

Swimming pool purification process

In apartments / socieites where Swimming Pools are present, swimming pool purification plants need to be present to take care of the clarity of pool water and need to be used  well in advance to ‘turn over’ the entire contents of the pool before swimmers can use it. Pools need water that is clear, have an almost neutral pH and are free from  any bacteria. This involves having to dose a variety of chemicals into the pool water daily. This ends up increasing the chemical content of the pool water which then needs to brought down by diluting the pool with fresh water after the pool filter has been backwashed(cleaned). The backwashing process reduces the quantity of pool water and this is made up with fresh water to dilute the concentration of chemicals in the water.

Now comes the question – with every step of water treamtment, there is bound to be waste water getting generated. How much is this quantity and can anything be done about this ‘waste’ water.

Waste Water Generated by each treatment process

In such a scenario, it is absolutely essential to take a good look at the waste water generated by each treatment process which are given below:

  1. Filters: Water lost due to backwash to clean filters is between 10 to 15%. This means that for every 100 litres of filtered water, a filter needs 110 to 115 litres of feed water. This applies to swimming pool filters too.
  2. Softeners: Water lost due to ‘regeneration’ or ‘ recharge’ is as much as 30% if inlet hardness is around 300 to 350 ppm as CaCo3 and increases as the inlet hardness increases. Feed water needed will be 130 litres or more for each 100 litres of  soft water or more depending on higher hardness values.
  3. RO plants: Small, domestic units used in individual households are the most wasteful and the waste can be as high as 90% in small units and lower if the RO system is of large capacity and waste in such systems would be around 50 to 30% of feed water.

Need to Reduce Waste Water from the Purification/treatment methods

Hardly any housing society or apartment residents’ association or its plant operating personnel know or bother to monitor the waste water that is created by any of the treatment systems used in an apartment complex. Worse still I have yet to see any plant installed which has a water meter fitted at the inlet that can help to monitor the amount of water treated and wasted during regeneration of softeners, backwash of filters and during normal operations of RO systems which have a steady flow of ‘ reject’ water going to waste during operation. In a majority of the places they do not even have an accurate figure of the total water coming into the property particularly if they have yielding bore wells. As most parts of Bangalore now have dry bore wells and get water in tankers, some vague figure based on the number of tankers supplied is available. Tanker volumes are notoriously unreliable and they seldom supply what they claim as the tanker capacity.

Need to have better operations and maintenance of WTPs

I have seen numerous WTPs (filters,softeners, RO plants & swimming pool purifica-tion).Most of them ( close to 95%) are badly operated or not operated. Maintenance is seldom done as per schedule(actually, I have yet to see a maintenance schedule!). This is a wasteful practice and results in the unnecessary waste of water that could otherwise have been used in some apartments.

Proper treatment of waste water

Regeneration/reject waste and filtration waste waters in any property usually goes as a mixture clandestinely to storm water drains. The quality of this waste water is such that pollution control laws do not permit such disposal and it would normally have to be sent to the STP for treatment, as, normally STP treated water is usually re-cycled and not (can not be) discharged.

Bleak future

If this is the state of affairs with WTPs, I question the need to even install such systems as they do not meet the objective of producing treated water. The main point that needs to be kept in mind is that the increasing scarcity of fresh water will make the use of WTPs unviable as there will not be enough fresh water (from bore wells/tankers) for both use and regeneration/re-charge of WTPs. I also predict that swimming pools will soon become unviable for swimming pool use, but could definitely be used as a storage whenever a sizeable volume of water becomes available.

About the author
S S RanganathanMr. S.S. Ranganathan, author of this guest post, is a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based in Bangalore. His blog at “India Water Portal” explains the work he does in detail. He can be reached at +91-93437-34229.


This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely of Mr. S. S. Ranganathan and NOT of ApnaComplex or its representatives. We suggest to post your queries or comments below and Mr. Rangathan can answer them at his convenience.

Recycle Water: Does Bangalore face Waterless Future? – Final Part

In final part of “Does Bangalore face Waterless Future?” series presented by ApnaComplex, Mr. S.S.Ranganathan elaborates on “RECYCLE” parts of his “REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE” mantra for Water Conservation. He explains how technology can help recycle waste water to potable water.
Looking for earlier parts fo this series? Read Part – 1 and Part – 2.

RE-USE

Reuse of water is possible when you consider that the water used in a washing machine can be collected and used to flush toilets.Of course, this becomes very difficult and cumbersome in an apartment.It is possible without much difficulty in a bungalow, so this
aspect  is not going to be discussed further.

RECYCLE

In the present context, this means that water used and therefore contaminated is subjected to treatment and thereafter used for uses other that drinking , cooking and bathing/washing. Water used by humans emerges with contaminants like soap/detergent/cleaning chemicals, oil, grease from the kitchens and bathrooms due to its use for washing and bathing. This water is referred to as “sullage” or “grey water”. Whereas, water used to flush toilets results in what is often called “ black water” but commonly known as “Sewage”. On an average 75 to 80% of water used by a human in a residence emerges as waste water. In an apartment/gated community, both these waters come out of the buildings/villas through separate pipes, but, are combined and taken to a Sewage Treatment Plant(STP).

Grey water is easier to treat than sewage, but, since in most places space is expensive, it is combined with sewage and treated in an STP. In a majority of cases, fresh water is used by the resident in a building to flush toilets with fresh water whereas, toilet flushing does not need  water that is good enough to drink. It is essential therefore to install a well designed STP and install separate tanks on the roof of each building with dedicated plumbing for toilet flushing, gardening and washing of cars, yards /roads, etc. Recycling is capable of reducing fresh water demand by as much as 50%.

The island nation Singapore has no fresh water of its own, but gets water piped in from neighbouring Malaysia. In anticipation of a possible stoppage of water by Malaysia, Singapore has build STPs with ‘ polishing treatment’ using a process called ultrafiltration which makes purified sewage fit to drink. This treated sewage meets as much as 30% of the drinking water demand of Singapore and is even sold as bottled water with the name “ Nuwater”. I have personally brought bottles of this water back to India and used it for drinking. The technology is available in India too, but it does not come cheap.

I often get questions asking what is the ROI (return on investment) with these investments in having proper STPs, proper plumbing and technology. My answer is that such a question is irrelevant when there is no fresh water to drink! The only alternative is to die of thirst? What would you prefer?

About the author
S S RanganathanMr. S.S. Ranganathan, author of this series of guest posts, is a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based in Bangalore. His blog at “India Water Portal” explains the work he does in detail. He can be reached at +91-93437-34229.


This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely of Mr. S. S. Ranganathan and NOT of ApnaComplex or its representatives. We suggest to post your queries or comments below and Mr. Rangathan can answer them at his convenience.

Reduce Water Consumption: Does Bangalore face Waterless Future? – Part 2

In part-2 of “Does Bangalore face Waterless Future” series presented by ApnaComplex, Mr. S.S.Ranganathan elaborates on ‘REDUCE’ part of his ‘mantra’ – REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE. He goes on to recommend installation of water meters for every flat/villa in a gated community based on his studies/experience. Read “Does Bagalore face Waterless Future? Part – 1”.

REDUCE

This refers to current water consumption which needs to be monitored carefully so that it can be reduced. Water consumption guidelines are laid down by the CPHEEO (Central Public Health Engineering & Environmental Organisation) which is a central govt.organisation is as given below:

How much water does a person need per day?
Sr.No Usage Purpose Litres/person
1. Drinking 3
2. Cooking 4
3. Bathing 20
4. Toilet flushing 40
5. Washing clothes 25
6. Washing utensils 20
7. Gardening 23
Total 135

This is the suggested quota applicable to urban areas, while the quota applicable to the 4 metros is 150 litres. Litres used per person per day is known as “ litres per capita daily”(lpcd). I can say that it is possible to live with a quota of even 90 lpcd ( I have tried it out myself).

First measure your consumption

I have worked with a few RWAs who wanted to monitor water consumption and were willing to spend money to get some realistic data. The results showed that the actual consumption was anywhere between 200 to 450 lpcd!! Another interesting figure that became clear when doing these studies was that approximately 20 to 30% of the homes accounted for almost 80% of the consumption. Currently, RWAs charge each flat an amount for water useage which is simply total water useage & cost divided by number of apartments. In this situation, it is the careful, frugal users of water who subsidise the heavy users of water. This has lead to unpleasant confrontations amongst residents and created the awareness that water consumption to each and every apartment/villa must be monitored by installing a water meter for each flat and apartment.

Then improve

By installing Water Meters, association can mandate charges to be collected on actual useage using a slabwise tariff which makes it very expensive for users of large volumes (in fact such charges should be punitive and thereby penalise profligacy in water use). Single homes like the one I live in who get Cauvery water from BWSSB which gives a water connection through a water meter. Users have to pay for every 1000 litres of water consumed slabwise. Depending on the slab the rate per 1000 litres doubles and triples as the slab goes up. It is therefore highly essential that apartments spend the money that will be needed to meter the water supplied to each apartment. Better still, the state government should enact laws which make it compulsory for builders to design and install plumbing to supply water to every apartment with a single water meter.

I have on occasion given presentations on the water situation to certain RWAs who wanted to create awareness on water amongst their residents. After such presentations there is usually a question from some economically well off persons saying that they are prepared to any price to get water, but my reply has always been that such individuals are in a minority and that when the water crunch hits the city, water will not be available for love or money, so, once again I urge residents of this city to REDUCE their usage of water.

To be continued in Part-3.

About the author
S S RanganathanMr. S.S. Ranganathan, author of this series of guest posts, is a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based in Bangalore. His blog at “India Water Portal” explains the work he does in detail. He can be reached at +91-93437-34229.


This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely of Mr. S. S. Ranganathan and NOT of ApnaComplex or its representatives. We suggest to post your queries or comments below and Mr. Rangathan can answer them at his convenience.