Category: Water Management

Does Bangalore face a Waterless Future? – Part-1

ApnaComplex presents thoughts of Mr. S.S.Ranganathan, a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based out of Bangalore, on the Water Crisis looming in the City of Bangalore and the solutions that can adopted, especially by the Gated Communities.

Below is part-1 in the series of 3 parts of the thoughts.

Does Bangalore Face a Waterless Future?

There is a distinct possibility of this becoming a reality in a few years. In early 2010, I happened to see the front page of the Deccan Herald dated 27th March with the Headline “City may become unliveable in 5 years” (reference to the article) which appears to have been prompted by the elections to the BBMP which were about to take place the next day. The article was based on the Study by Indian Institue of Sciences’ Energy & Wetland group at the Centre for Ecological Sciences. Take a good look at what this study says under the heading “Ecological Degradation”. The statistics are mind boggling and, for someone like me, entirely realistic, I believe Bangalore does indeed face a waterless future, and, the worst affected will be the residents of apartment complexes and gated communities.

The number of calls I get from Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) has increased substantially over the last one year. In almost every case the Association has either bore wells with drastic reduction in water yield or which have gone dry. All of them have been forced to switch over to water supplies from water tanker operators, and, they are finding that the monthly water expenses of each family are as high as Rs.2000/- to 2500/- per month!

Worse still, after paying such high prices for water, they can not be sure of the quality of the water they are getting nor the quantity. Summer is here now and water demand will soar to dizzy heights. The result will be steady increases in the cost of water supplied by tankers. I am just re-stating what is reported frequently in newspapers and magazines, the water table in and around Bangalore has dropped drastically and will even turn the tanker operators’ wells dry.

Why are we in such a precarious Position?

In the year 1946, the water table in many parts of Karnataka and in Bangalore was just 8 metres below the surface. Today, practically all bore wells drilled are forced to go down to depths of 400 to 500 metres to find water in insignificant quantities. More often than not, bore well drillers find no water even after they reach these depths. Water pumped from such depths contains very high levels of minerals (known as total dissolved solids, i.e., TDS). These levels are beyond the acceptable limits as laid down in BIS-10500 which is the Indian Standard for drinking water. The cost of purifying this kind of water would be prohibitive. Add to this the electricity required to pump water from such great depths. The power consumption would be so high as to make the whole exercise economically unviable.

Bangalore is developing at a phenomenal rate and this means that population growth & built up area is increasing as rapidly and thereby preventing rain water from percolating down in to the ground to re-charge the water table. At the same time daily water demand is rising fast. A few years ago I had seen a report in the Newspapers about a study made by the Ministry of Water Resources that showed that 7 states in the country had exploited their water resources to a point of no return and Karnataka is one of them.

What can be done to improve the situation?

Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) is one thing that the entire area covered by the BBMP needs to put in place without further delay. The concerned authorities have done very little to make this happen, and, the government too is to blame for not having made RWH mandatory with severe penalties for not implementing RWH. Chennai and the whole state of Tamil Nadu had to implement RWH state wide or face severe penalties. This was the dicktat of the then Chief Minister and this has helped the state and very definitely the city of Chennai. Since it happens to be my home town and I visit it very often, I know that the water table is rising steadily. In 2009, after the rains, it had risen by as much as 5 metres, quite the opposite of Bangalore! I have seen wells where the static depth of water has risen and what is more, the quality of water has improved in many parts of Chennai and is now drinkable with just filtration or boiling to make it safe.

I believe our state Chief minister needs to emulate the former CM of Tamil Nadu and make it happen. I have been approached last year by many Resident Welfare Associations to help them implement RWH. Once they received proposals for installing RWH, they back off saying that it was too expensive. Little do they realize that when they have only tanker water left as a source, it will be so expensive that the cost of installing RWH will seem trivial in comparison. Tanker supplies will get costlier steadily as the water available for Bangalore becomes scarce.

In such a situation, I can only point out that the best thing to do is REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. There is simply no other option since there is simply not enough ground water that can be used, nor can we hope for extra water from the Cauvery since the quota of water awarded to Karnataka which included a specific volume of water for Bangalore which is being utilized fully. There is just no water to spare.

To be continued in Part-2 and 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.

Rainwater Harvesting Knowhow – Structures That Your Housing Society Can Support

Rain Water Harvesting (or RWH) is the latest mantra that’s catching on in every cooperative housing society. Water is scarce, and saving rain water is one of the best ways in which this scarcity can be met and fulfilled. Rain water can be directly collected and stored through tanks during the monsoon season under rain water harvesting, or this method can also be used to replenish the ground water supply.

 RWH Is Important In Every Apartment Complex

The Necessity

Rains during the monsoon are irregular, especially in India. Some monsoon months bring torrential rain, whereas others bring very sparse showers. Conserving water and saving water for daily use becomes essential for this reason, so immediate steps should be taken to capture and store large quantities of rain water.

This can be easily done with the help of a few structures that every cooperative housing society should have. Rain water harvesting is becoming commonplace, so a cooperative housing society with a good RWH system can ward off problem of water scarcity better.

Structures That A Cooperative Housing Society Should Have

There are two ways to store rainwater:

  • Rain water can be collected in tanks and used whenever required
  • Rain water can be collected and redirected to replenish that groundwater supply

The latter option is a better idea, as it will serve the community as a whole. Structures that can be constructed in a cooperative housing society for this purpose are:

Dug Wells

Dug wells or water wells can be used to recharge the groundwater supply. These wells are open structures, though, and proper care should be taken to filter the rain water before it is diverted underground.

Pits

Pits can be used to recharge underground layers of water, and these recharge pits are generally filled with stones. This will help filter the water, and it will also serve as a safety measure. Pits are safer than dug wells, which are open structures and can be dangerous when kids are around.

Recharge Wells

These are forms of wells that are used to pump water into aquifers that are underground. This is another way of recharging the groundwater supply. It should be noted that these wells are also known as injection wells.

Trenches

Trenches can be created all around the cooperative housing society in order to save water. Rather than leaving a trench open, filter materials can be used to ensure that the water which reaches the underground aquifers is clean. Trenches are not as dangerous as dug wells, as these are just a meter deep.

Shafts

Lateral shafts can be constructed along with a couple of bore wells in order to recharge the groundwater body. These shafts are not dangerous as they’ll be filled with pebbles, gravel and sand for filtration purposes.

These structures can be constructed in a housing society, once a consensus is reached on Rain Water Harvesting and its importance. The housing society can potentially enjoy uninterrupted water supply even during the driest summer months in this way.


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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.

Tips for Water Management by Apartment Associations

Water does not flow quietly and freely anymore. It has become a scarce commodity, and a cause of dispute between neighbors, districts, states, and nations. A severe water crisis is imminent, if people fail to make water conservation a part of their daily life. In all the major cities of India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai, there is a severe water crisis. This shortage of water is especially acute during the summer months.

People living in a gated community are at an advantageous position to adopt an environment friendly lifestyle, which incorporates water conservation measures. The managing committee can play an important role in initiating collective measures of water conservation. This can impact not just the apartment complex, but the society in general.

There are numerous innovative methods of water conservation that apartment complexes can adopt. Here are some of them:

  1. Placing water conservation on the agenda:

    Residents can keep water conservation as an agenda on the monthly meetings, and set aside some time to discuss lifestyle changes that can save water. The group emails, notice boards, and club house bulletin board can be used to share information about water conservation. Encourage neighbors and residents to become environment friendly, and go green.

  2. Rainwater harvesting:

    Rainwater harvesting is a system of directly collecting rainwater on a surface on which it falls, such as rooftops, and saving it for later use. This water is clean and need not be treated before using for non drinking purposes. When stored in tanks, rainwater can be a safe water source for periods of water scarcity. With the consent of all the apartment owners, money can be collected to construct a simple rainwater catchment system for the entire apartment.

  3. Greywater usage:

    Greywater refers to water from the non toilet plumbing systems, such as wash basins, washing machines, showers etc. A popular water recycling method is creating a plumbing system to collect the greywater from all the apartments, and using it for non potable water requirements, such as washing cars, watering plants, and toilet flushing.

  4. Dual Piping:

    In a dual piping system, one piping system supplies potable water, while the other supplies recycled water, greywater, or rainwater for washing, toilet flushing, etc. For successful greywater usage, a dual piping system needs to be installed in the entire apartment complex. The existing plumbing system can also be modified to create dual piping.

  5. Water friendly bathroom fixtures:

    There are many water saving fixtures, which can be installedin bathrooms to reduce water usage. For example, low flow shower heads reduce the amount of water discharged by showers, while increasing the pressure of the water flow. Similarly, dual flush toilets can help save a lot of water. A dual flush toilet has two flush buttons, which release different amounts of water. This results in less water being discharged.

  6. Installing individual water meters for each apartment:

    In many apartment complexes, there is a single water meter, and the water bill is divided amongst all the residents. However, research shows that installing individual meters can make residents more careful about their water usage. Billing based on individual water meter readings can bring down water consumption by as much as 15%.

  7. Xeriscape Landscaping in the gated community:

    There are many apartments and housing complexes which have large gardens and recreational toys which are water based. While doing the landscaping of your gated community, ensure that water conservation is kept in mind. This is called Xeriscape landscaping, which incorporates water conservation and pollution control into landscaping.

Yes, most of the tips above require some investment in terms of infrastructure. But, Water is a precious commodity. Don’t wait for a crisis; start taking proactive measures to make your gated community an environment friendly one and conserve water. Surely, any investment that improves conservation of water pays off itself over a time period.

ApnaComplex is an apartment managment 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.