One may not expect a topic like borewell recharging or types of sewage treatment plant hold a 70+ strong audience engaged and animated over 7 hours of a Saturday. But last Saturday saw a bunch of residents mostly apartment owners, many of them representing over 50 apartments’ management committees at a workshop on water.
The session was organised by ApartmentAdda which provides apartment management solutions. Co-founder and director Venkat Kandaswamy, talked about bringing the relevant stakeholders and experts together on a single platform so residents can be empowered to tackle water problems.
The opening talk was by Dr Ashwin Mahesh, CEO at Mapunity, Professor for Public Policy in IIM, and member of ABIDe.
Ashwin pointed out there will never be enough Cauvery water for the city which adds 1000 people to its population everyday. He said "solution cannot be just technology or better management. It is not a matter of laying pipe alone, or rejuvenating lakes alone, each has its limitations."
He advocated initiatives to "create water" – Water has to be re-used or new sources of water identified. He added that Bangalore with its vast number of lakes has the potential to use lakes as water supply sources.
All About Borewells
Avinash Krishnamurthy, Director of Biome Solutions explained how borewells work. He compared it to open wells and how water is extracted from shallow and deep soil aquifers. He advocated open well since the borewell water sources take longer to replenish.
He explained Hydrofracturing (or Borewell Flushing) which can recharge wells. He added however that this may not be a very dependable or effective solution.
Krishnamurthy then talked about water metering. While national town planning norms specifies a per capita Water Consumption of 135 Litres per Day, actual numbers are much higher. Water Meters will force residents to be careful about the scarce resource.
He talked about how to calculate the cost of piped water, what are the parameters to consider etc. He suggested that water should be metered and charged separate from the maintenance fund just like power. He added that the cost of water should also include the cost of treating it.
How are apartments controlling water usage?
The next session was by B Sridhar from Ashoka Windows & Annexe apartments, C V Raman Nagar, who explained how they have installed water meters for all their 111 flats. His witty presentation covered every single detail they went through, from the design of the pipe systems to the meter and plumber cost. He designed the pipeline network himself and got it implemented by plumbers.
Jayawanth Bharadwaj from Rainbow Drive Layout, Sarjapur Road, talked about his efforts to introduce water reforms in his Layout. He gave tips on how to convince residents and get the support of management committees. Bharadwaj started with an in depth analysis of his community’s water usage patterns and the process of creating a combination of incentives and tariffs to encourage sustainable water usage.
Post lunch session included another success story of rainwater harvesting from JP Nagar’s Brigade Millennium apartment (Cassia block), presented by Shankar Rao, who had implemented an innovative hydraulic RWH system through his company Refurb. His solution does not require electric power and utilises the water pressure in the roof top tank.
STP maintenance by apartments
Dr Ananth Kodavasal, expert on waste water treatment, explained how Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) work in terms of physical, chemical and biological operations. He talked about the various types of STPs commonly found in Bangalore.
Then Dr. Dhanraj Chokappa, an engineer at Texas Instruments, talked about how his RWA got a dysfunctional STP in his apartment, Purva Riviera, Marathahalli functional. Chokkappa said many STPs are designed, built and operated ignoring basic flaws. Residents often complain and refuse to accept the treated water for flushing.
In the final session, Ayyappa Masagi presented an overview of Rain Water Harvesting. Masagi focuses on re-charging in-active borewells using open areas to create re-charge wells for shallow aquifers. Recharge wells can also filter and utilise grey water.
Citizen Matters was the media partner for the water workshop. ⊕