Thursday, May 28, 2009

End of water woes a call away - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

End of water woes a call away - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Come summer, water
wars are common. To better help its consumers, the Bangalore Water Supply & Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has set
up helplines.

"Water supply has been disrupted this season due to erratic power supply and technical reasons. This has led to people in a few areas protesting and even assaulting BWSSB workers. We are working on steps but need cooperation from the public," a BWSSB spokesperson said.

The authority hopes to supply adequate water with co-operation from the public in bringing incidents of dislocation in supply to the notice of the officials.

what causes it?

Presently, BWSSB provides water to nearly 70 lakh persons in the city. The water is upwardly lifted from Cauvery, 120 km away. Pumps function round-the-clock at three places to bring water here in four stages. Whenever there is less power, there is a shortage of water.

In case of acute water shortage

* Call executive engineer of your division to lodge complaint: East: 22945158; West: 22945196; North: 22945130; South: 22945143; Central: 22945187 and South-East: 22945196

* Dial 155313

* Contact the PRO on 22945114

Toxic landfill at Dobbaspet worries residents : Citizen Matters - 26 May 2009

Toxic landfill at Dobbaspet worries residents : Citizen Matters - 26 May 2009
A landfill of hazardous electronic and biomedical waste starts functioning in Bangalore’s outskirts. Is the government’s solution for the city’s garbage disposal issues safe?
By Anirban Sen
26 May 2009, Citizen Matters
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A toxic landfill project, which started operating from February 2009, at the outskirts of the city after facing stiff political and local opposition for five years, could be potentially hazardous for residents and villagers living in that area, warn environmental activists.
Dobbaspet landfill

Toxic Landfill at Dobbaspet (pic courtesy: GTZ)

The Rs. 55 crore project, a joint venture of Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KPSCB) and Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), a German engineering firm, is located almost 50 kilometres away from Bangalore in Dobbaspet near Tumkur Road (NH4) and aims to provide a long-term solution to the state's garbage disposal problem.

Pollution control board authorities believe that the project is completely "foolproof".

"It is a scientifically designed project," said D.R. Kumaraswamy, Environment Officer of the KPSCB, "and only the fourth such project in the entire country. This facility has been long overdue considering the problems that we used to face in disposing off waste in an environment-friendly manner."

Under the laws put in place by the government in 2003, all industries have to store waste in special chambers inside their factories, before the new landfill became operational in February. GTZ officials estimate that these companies produce around 40,000 tonnes of waste every year.

GTZ, a Frankfurt-based engineering company, currently has offices in more than 130 countries and more than 1,00,000 employees on its payroll. Other than landfill ventures, GTZ also deals with education, health and environmental projects.

Concerns against the landfill

Scientists and activists feel that the landfill could contaminate underground water pipes in the long run.

"Environmental damage cannot be completely prevented," said Abhishek Pratap, toxic waste campaigner at Greenpeace India, "no matter how many precautions you put in place. Pratap cited the example of the Raigarh district-dumping site near Mumbai, which resulted in the entire area's water supply getting contaminated.

Pratap says steel linings that are used in landfill projects do not completely absorb the harmful chemicals and absorb "only 70%-80% of these substances". The rest, he says, goes into the soil and percolates through to the underwater pipes.

Bhargavi S Rao, coordinator of educational programs, Environmental Support Group, also said that the scale at which toxic waste is generated in the city does raise a doubt as to whether this landfill has the capacity to take all the waste, without letting any of it seep into the soil.

"There is a possibility of water contamination occurring in that region," said Dr. N.B.Prakash, Associate Professor at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS). "Scientifically designed projects such as these have been built in other countries as well, and environmental damage has still happened. The effects could be seen 10-15 years down the line, even if it appears to be safe currently due to all the precautions that have been taken by the pollution control board."

Other experts feel the water table at Dobbaspet makes it unsuitable for the construction of a landfill.

"There are lots of underground pipes and borewells in Dobbaspet, and there is a possibility of contamination occurring, due to the vicinity of the pipes to the landfill site," said Dr. M.S. Nagaraja, Associate Professor at UAS, who is based out of Hassan.

Bhargavi Rao said that awareness needs to be created among people about the dangers of hazardous waste. “People keep changing mobile phones and laptops at least once or twice every year, without realizing that it all adds to the hazardous waste that’s being generated in the city,” she added.

The details

The landfill, which is known as a Treatment Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF), is spread over an area of 93 acres. It can store a maximum of 40,000 tonnes of industrial and biomedical waste every year and 8,00,000 tonnes – enough waste to fill about 5000 football stadiums – in two decades. Karnataka, currently, is the tenth highest producer of industrial and biomedical waste in the country, according to the Central Pollution Control Board website.

The three other states where such a landfill has already come up are Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra under the supervision of the respective state government and pollution control board. Similar facilities are being constructed in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

"The capacity of an average TSDF varies from place to place, depending on the requirements of that area," said Dr. Jurgene Porst, Senior Advisor at GTZ.

The new landfill disposes toxic substances in three steps. At first, the waste is segregated and treated with chemicals to break it down into simpler components. Then, it is merged with environment-friendly clay and forms a compound called bentonite. Next, the bentonite is sandwiched between two layers consisting of gravel, steel linings that prevent trash from leaching out, clay and a layer of soil and rocks. Finally, the entire chemically treated block is buried at the site.

But, industrial and biomedical waste cannot be buried just about anywhere.

According to the hazardous waste and management rules framed by the Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi, which came into effect in 1989, landfill projects such as the TSDF can only be built on sites that are 800 feet below the ground level, receive minimal rainfall and are sparsely populated. And that is where Dobbaspet, which has the lowest population density in Karnataka, comes in.

Maridi Eco Industries and Semb Ramky Environment Management Private Limited, two other major players who have a stake in the project, supervise the entire process of treatment and disposal of waste.

At the local level

However, villagers and local politicians living in Dobbaspet still remain unconvinced about the project and are far from pleased about the prospect of having moldering toxic waste being dumped in the vicinity of their houses.

"The authorities are only thinking of profits," said K Nandish, the General Secretary of BJP, Tumkur District, "They are more eager to complete the project and are not all looking into the problems that villagers might face."

Another social activist, who has lived in the locality for the past two decades, feels that the project should be opposed at all costs."Dobbaspet is a fertile area and this project is not at all advisable for this area," said 64-year-old N.Nanjunadappa.

The proposal for the project was put forward in 2001, but it took more than five years to get approved due to stiff opposition from villagers and local political parties, according to KPSCB officials.

Porst, however, claims that the villagers had been briefed about the feasibility of the project and the issue had been resolved.

"We have explained to them that this project will in no way contaminate underground water pipes and affect water supply in their homes," explained Porst.

However, Suresh Kumar, Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA), Rajajinagar, who lives near Dobbaspet, contradicts Porst, saying that the villagers had not been briefed properly about the project.

"People will obviously be apprehensive about the unit," said Kumar, who is also the Minister for Urban Development, "if things haven't been explained properly. They should have taken the villagers into confidence properly and not done anything in a hush-hush manner."

He also added that the pollution control board should have taken the problems of the villagers into consideration. "If the project is causing inconvenience to them [the villagers], then proper steps should be taken to rectify the issue," he said.

Karnataka presently has more than 2000 registered industries generating waste every year. Each of these companies will have to pay between Rs.1500 to Rs.2500 for each tonne of waste in order to use the TSDF.

The landfill has already taken 8000 tonnes of hazardous waste, said Dr. Porst, the Senior Advisor of the project. He added that they were “satisfied” with its current progress. Companies like BHEL, Volvo and Toyota have used this facility to dump waste.

He added that it would not affect the environment in any way, as long as all the industries followed regulations. "We're pushing other states at the moment to set up TDSFs," said the German engineer, who has been living in Bangalore for the last seven years. "It is necessary for them to have it as well." ⊕

Anirban Sen
26 May 2009

Anirban Sen is a recent graduate of Indian Institute of Journalism & New Media (IIJNM), Bangalore. This story was written as part of his class assignment.

BSY launches Rs 3384 cr drinking water scheme for Bangalore

BSY launches Rs 3384 cr drinking water scheme for Bangalore

PEOPLE of Bangalore, who supported ruling BJP in Karnataka in a big way by blessing it with all the three Lok Sabha seats in the city and leaving only the Bangalore rural seat to JD(S), are being sought to be rewarded by a grateful Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa with the launching of the ambitious fourth stage works under the second phase of Cauvery water supply scheme on Monday.

The ambitious scheme aimed at bringing an additional 500 million litres a day (MLD) supply to meet the growing demands of the city is being funded with loan assistance of Rs 3,384 crore from
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) for implementing the project and Rs 300 crore has been earmarked for 2009-10.

Works related to supply of untreated water, processing and pumping of waters in three centres are being taken up. Cauvery water would be brought from Shiva Anekat to Torekadanahalli, where water would be treated using advanced technology. As Bangalore is situated above 1,500 ft from the river base and the water has to flow upwards, water would be pumped from T.K.Halli, Harohalli and Tataguni pumping centres. The BWWSB, established in 1964, conceived the Cauvery Water Supply Scheme and implemented the first stage in 1974 with three more stages being implemented in 1982, 1993 and 2002. Out of the 840 MLD of water presently being supplied by BWSSB to Bangalore, as much as 810 MLD was met by Cauvery river from the four stages of the scheme.

BWSSB has entrusted work of supplying steel plates required for the manufacturer of 2,700 mm diameter water pipes to Central public sector undertaking, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), which would supply 86,000 tonnes of MS plates at a cost of Rs 300 crore.

The chief minister said the BWSSB would install meters to beneficiaries in over 350 slums identified in the city at its own cost.

Yeddyurappa said the government planned to create four mini-Lalbaghs on the lines of the world famous botanical garden Lalbagh and also an equal number of Bal Bhavans in different parts of the city. Plans were afoot to build four major hospitals in four directions of the city and the necessary land would be acquired soon.

The chief minister announced plans to lead a ministerial delegation to New Delhi soon to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the newly inducted central ministers in the union cabinet, S M Krishna and M Veerappa Moily, both former state chief ministers, to seek more funds for improving Bangalore’s infrastructure facilities.

State to create mini Lalbaghs

State to create mini Lalbaghs

State to create mini Lalbaghs
Press Trust Of India / Chennai/ Bangalore May 24, 2009, 23:54 IST

Karnataka chief minister B S Yeddyurappa today said the government plans to create four mini-Lalbaghs on the lines of the world famous botanical garden Lalbagh in the city.

The government is also keen on constructing four Bal Bhavans in different parts of the city, he said after launching various development works including augmentation of drinking water supply from Cauvery river. He said the government was implementing the second phase of the fourth stage of Cauvery Water Supply scheme to bring an additional 500 MLD (Million Litres daily) to meet the growing water needs of the city at a cost of Rs 3383.70 crore.

Yeddyurappa today dedicated 30 new ‘jetting’ vehicles to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board for clearing sewerage drains.

More water to city by 2011 - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

More water to city by 2011 - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
With the city fast expanding, water shortage is becoming increasingly common. However, there seems to be some timely relief.

The government on Monday inaugurated the Cauvery 2nd phase, 4th stage project that will bring additional 500 MLD of water to the city by 2011. Chief minister B S Yeddyurappa announced 30 more jetting vehicles for cleaning sewage, and free water meters for slum dwellers.

The project, worth Rs 3,383.7 crore, is assisted by Japan International Cooperation Association. It involves water supply and waste water management. Processing and pumping of water will be taken up in three centres.

Cauvery water will be drawn from Shiva Anekat to Torekadanahalli, where it will be treated. Since Bangalore is above 1,500 feet from the river base, water will be pumped from T K Halli, Harohalli and Tataguni.

A BWSSB official said contractors have been selected and the civil work will start soon. Steel Authority of India will supply steel plates for the manufacture of pipes.


* With monsoon around the corner, BWSSB will get 30 new jetting machines worth Rs 6.15 crore to clean drains

* The capacity of each vehicle is 6,000 litres

* "These machines have been launched because Bangalore has expanded to 750 sq km. We hope these initiatives will make things easier for the city," Yeddyurappa said.


* 350 slums in BBMP core areas will get free meters

* 17,500 slum dwellers have been identified; 50 got meter cards on Monday

* Free meters will ensure they pay water bill and help detect unauthorized connections

* Rs 800 for meter and Rs 270 for connection waived

* Slum dwellers who failed to pay bills on time are unable to do so because of huge interest. The government has decided to waive this interest, amounting to Rs 5 crore. Waiver opted by 12,000 residents

Malaria thrives in cities - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

Malaria thrives in cities - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Contrary to the belief that malaria is common in rural areas, at least three to four cities in the state are showing up strong signs
of the disease.

Among these, Mangalore reported the highest number of cases -- 1,088 in the last three months, followed by Bellary with 30 cases and Hospet with 11 cases. Last year was worse -- Mangalore reported 5,801 cases. The disease has been reported in Raichur and Gulbarga too, apart from pockets in Dakshina Kannada.

Bangalore, interestingly, has not been afflicted. Dr S K Ghosh from the National Institute of Malaria Research observes: "The geographic location of Bangalore is an advantage. The city is 920 m above sea level, whereas mosquito transmission occurs below 200 m, so occurrence of malaria is rare here. Even the climate, with low humidity, prevents the survival of the vector population here."

Mangalore is 22 m above sea level and its climatic conditions favour vector-borne diseases. The rapid rise in development work and stagnant water
at construction sites in urban areas have also led to a rise in the incidence of malaria in Mangalore.

In Bellary, severe shortage of water supply is the cause. Dr Ghosh points out: "Tap pits which are below ground level are the main cause of all vector-borne diseases, including malaria. It is surprising that urban development authorities have not prevented construction of these tap pits."

The state's city corporations and town municipal councils say they face a severe shortage of health staff, owing to which they have been unable to efficiently monitor public hygiene and prevent the rise of contagious diseases in cities like Mangalore and Bellary.

The state health department, however, acted quickly, holding a meeting of corporation and municipal authorities of 12 cities/towns to outline strategies to counter contagious diseases.

Over the last decade, the incidence of malaria in rural areas has declined. While 15 years ago, the state accounted for 7-10% of malaria incidence in the country, presently less than 1.5% of malaria cases are from the state, Ghosh said. Until March this year, there have been 1,129 malaria cases.

91 percent primary schools in state are ‘headless’; Drinking water and toilet problems

91 percent primary schools in state are ‘headless’
In a damning indictment of the poor state of rural education in the State, a report released by the National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA), New Delhi, has found that around three-fourth of primary schools in rural Karnataka do not have a regular headmaster.

NUEPA, which carried out a nation-wide study of elementary education in rural India, has some disturbing data on the state of rural education in India and the state.

The study found that only 28.32 per cent of all primary schools in the state have a regular headmaster. This figure is much lower than the all-India average of 46 per cent.

Karnataka’s neighbours have fared much better in the study with 88 per cent of schools in Kerala and 85 per cent of schools in Tamil Nadu having headmasters. But Andhra Pradesh has fared worse than Karnataka — only 19 per cent of schools in the state have a headmaster.

In Karnataka, schools with primary sections (Class 1 to 4) are the worst performing, with only 9 per cent of such schools having a headmaster. That means a whopping 91 per cent of schools do not have a headmaster. However, upper primary schools (Class 5 to 8), primary schools with upper primary sections, upper primary schools with secondary sections have performed much better.

The survey has also found that only one in every four teachers teaching in rural schools posess a bachelors degree.

That means, around 77.9 per cent of all the teachers in the state have only completed matriculation or high school.

Karnataka fares much better when it comes to school infrastructure.

Around 91 per cent of all schools have pucca buildings, while around 5 per cent have partially pucca buildings, and another 1 per cent has kuccha buildings. However, only a quarter of these schools have a kitchen shed for implementing the mid-day meal programme.

Karnataka also has one of the largest number of schools without drinking water supply, with 22 per cent of all schools having no drinking water facility. Contrast this with Kerala, where only 2 pc of schools are without water supply.

In another shocking statistic, more than one-third of the schools in Karnataka did not have a common toilet facility.

Around 60 per cent of schools did not have a toilet facility for girls.

Radon problem cannot be ruled out in the houses of Ranchi city in India. American Chronicle

American Chronicle | Radon problem cannot be ruled out in the houses of Ranchi city in India.
Earth has many ways to kill us. We keep on the lookout, and rightly so, for volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, landslides, flooding, cosmic impacts, climate change and falling rocks on the highway. Should we still worry about radon?

You remember radon—that radioactive gas that comes up from the soil and collects in basements and ground floors, sometimes in well water. Radon is a prominent villain in many countries. Blamed for tens of thousands of deaths from lung cancer. Like asbestos, radon was looked at more kindly when it was new, and today it too is more feared than it deserves.

Radon Geology:

To the geologist, radon is interesting, not worrisome. For one thing, radon starts with uranium, which is worth knowing about for its energy content and its important role in the Earth's heat budget.

Uranium turns to lead via a long, slow cascade of nuclear decay, and radon sits at an important point in that process.

Not only does the radon nuclide decay quickly, with a half-life less than four days, but the next four nuclides in the cascade decay with a combined half-life less than an hour. In other words, radon packs a powerful dose of radioactivity, and because it is a gaseous element, it can drift out of the minerals where it forms into the air. Thus it's a good signal of uranium, even for buried deposits.

Humans have always been exposed throughout their period of existence to naturally occurring ionising radiation. Specifically, naturally occurring radionuclides are present in variable amounts in our environment. To assess radiological health hazards, naturally occurring radionuclides are being measured in soil, sand, marble, bricks etc throughout the world.

Terrestrial radiation comes from radioactive elements that were present at the time the earth was formed. They continue to decay and form additional radioactive materials.

Unusual soil composition has increased background radiation twenty-five fold or more in a few areas in the world. Locations with high background radiation in the soil, mainly from uranium, include the Rocky Mountains, Kerala India, coastal regions of Brazil, granite rock areas of France, and the northern Nile Delta.

Seeing the rock types and its mineral composition Radon problem cannot be ruled out in the houses of Ranchi city of Jharkhand State in India. This fact was justified by a published report of Research Reactor Institute, Kyoto University, Japan. According to the report Air-gamma dose rate was 0.30 μSv/h on the surface in the densely populated area in the city. In Ranchi the concentration of K-40 (potassium-40) and thorium is high. Concentration of Radium-226 was 75 Bq/Kg in the soils.

Very interesting thing in the Ranchi city is that name of one of its major road is RADIUM ROAD. Till today no body knows from where did this name came from. Name of this road exists from the British rule in India i.e. before 1947.

Seeing the presence of apatite, sphene and zircon in the Ranchi rocks, presence of Uranium cannot be ruled out. According to the report Uranium concentration is also high in Ranchi. All these concentrations are of natural origin. Radioactivity in the bricks made by the local soil may pose threat to the people living in the houses made by these bricks.

When Uranium is there, presence of Radon cannot be ruled out. It is radioactive gas that comes up from the soil and collects in basements and ground floors, sometimes in well water. Radon is a prominent villain in the United States, blamed for tens of thousands of deaths from lung cancer.

Even the granites of the Daltonganj area of Jharkhand state contain anomalous uranium values. Uranium mineralization has also been observed in the granitic rocks comprising the southern periphery of the Hutar basin of Daltonganj area. The Proterozoic granitoids, forming the provenance for the Hutar and Auranga subbasin, have been analyzed which revealed uranium content up to 520 ppm. ( Virnave, 1999).

The radon in home indoor air can come from two sources, the soil or water supply. The radon in water supply poses an inhalation risk and an ingestion risk. Research has shown that risk of lung cancer from breathing radon in air is much larger than the risk of stomach cancer from swallowing water with radon in it. Most of the risk from radon in water comes from radon released into the air when water is used for showering and other household purposes.

Radon in home water in not usually a problem when its source is surface water. A radon in water problem is more likely when its source is ground water, e.g., a private well or a public water supply system that uses ground water.

From last several years people of Ranchi are becoming more dependent on ground water for their daily uses. Indiscriminate deep borings are rampant in the granite rocks of Ranchi city. People are going more and more deeper for search for water.

People of Jharkhand state are unaware of danger from Radon gas.

Radon loves fractures because they set it free. Solid mineral grains are a pretty good trap for gases, but break the grains and the gas escapes. So just having rocks rich in uranium is not enough—they must be fractured, too.

Ranchi rocks are filled with fractures and joints. Ground waters are mined through these fractures and joints. So threat of Radon Poisoning looms large in Ranchi city.

Even the houses build on the rocks filled with cracks and fractures are under threat of Radon poisoning inside the house. Most of the radon indoors is contributed by the ground underneath buildings.

The amount of radon entering buildings from the ground is influenced by the following four factors.

a) Radon concentrations in soil gas: This depends on the concentration of the immediate precursor of Rn-222, Ra-226, in rocks and soils. Elevated levels of radium are found in some granites, limestone's and sandstone's and other geologies

b) Permeability of the ground: This depends on the nature of the rock and soil under the building Disturbed ground can have greatly increased permeability. Usually the radon comes from the ground within a few metres of the building, but if the ground is particularly permeable or fissured it may come from a greater distance.

c) Entry routes into homes: Concrete floors often have cracks around the edges and gaps around services entries such as mains water supply, electricity or sewage pipes. If homes have suspended timber floors the gaps between the floorboards are the major route of entry. Pathways for soil gas to enter houses are often concealed, and vary between apparently identical houses.

d) Under-pressure of homes: Atmospheric pressure is usually lower indoors than outdoors owning to the warm indoor air rising; this creates a gentle suction at ground level in the building through the so-called `stack effect'. Wind blowing across chimneys and windows can also create an under-pressure (the `Bernoulli effect'). The result is that the building draws in outside air, typically at the rate of one air change per hour. Most of this inflow comes through doors and windows, but perhaps 1% or so comes from the ground. In an average house, this amounts to a couple of cubic metres of soil gas entering the house each hour.

The radon concentration in a building depends on the rate of entry of the radon and the rate at which it is removed by ventilation. Increasing the ventilation rate will not always decrease the radon concentrations, however, because ventilation rate and under-pressure are related, and some ways of increasing ventilation, such as the use of extract fans or opening upstairs windows, can also increase the under-pressure.

Recently high concentrations of radioactive gas radon have been detected in Bengalooru´s groundwater, which means a higher risk of stomach cancer for those who drink it.

A team from the Bangalore University and the Baba Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai collected 78 samples of water from bore wells, shallow wells, surface water and the supplied drinking water in Bengalooru. More than half the samples contained radon in concentrations up to a thousand times the permissible limit of 11.1 Becquerel per litre.

In the case of Bengalooru (old name Bangalore) it is the large reserves of granite that is causing the problem. Being highly soluble, radon easily dissolves in groundwater. The rate at which radon is released from rocks depends on the porosity of the rocks and the intensity of water flow.

Radon is a cancer-causing natural radioactive gas that we can´t see, smell or taste. Its presence in the home can pose a danger to family's health. Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in America and claims about 20,000 lives annually.

Any home can have a radon problem. This means new and old homes, well-sealed and drafty homes, and homes with or without basements. In fact, people and their family are most likely to get greatest radiation exposure at home. That is where they spend most of their time. Jharkhand government should come forward to analyze the amount of Radon present in groundwater and in the air inside the house.


Virnave, S.N. Nuclear Geology and Atomic Mineral Resources. Bharati Bhawan, Patna. 169.

30 suckers to declog drains

30 suckers to declog drains
Using bamboo sticks to clear blockages in sewerage lines will very soon become a thing of the past as the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) will be inducting 30 new jetting machines for that purpose on May 25.

A jetting machine has two tanks of 3,000-litre capacity.

One of the tanks is filled with water and the other will be kept empty. The water in the tank will be pumped at an high speed into the sewerage line that is blocked, so as to clear the blockage.

The other procedure of clearing the blockage is that the drainage water in the blocked sewerage line is sucked into the empty tank.

The sucking speed will be such that the solid particles that block the line will also be sucked in, along with the drainage water. The solid particles are then retained in the tank, but the water is pumped back into the sewerage line.

The jetting machine is also called combination machine as it is used for both sucking and pumping water into the sewerage lines. The machines were manufactured for BWSSB by ‘Kamavida,’ a Pune-based company at a cost of Rs 20.5 lakh per machine.

Each machine will be handled by a trained driver and four sanitary workers.

One of the BWSSB officials said that if things work out as planned, the chief minister will flag off the jetting machines on May 25.

Except during emergencies, the jetting machines will be pressed into service between 8 am and 6 pm daily.

Each machine can handle four to six complaints daily.

“Nearly 50 per cent of the sanitary workers, especially those who worked in the man-holes, used to die even before the expiry of their service periods due to various reasons. With the induction of the jetting machines, such deaths will come down,” the official added.

ADB to fund state’s drinking water project

ADB to fund state’s drinking water project
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has come forward to finance the state government’s ambitious project to provide drinking water to all urban habitats in the state, from surface water sources like rivers, streams and lakes among others.

Informing this to reporters, Urban Development and Law and Parliamentary Minister Suresh Kumar, on Wednesday said that ADB had agreed to plan and finance the project whose cost is estimated to be around Rs 25,000 crore to Rs 30,000 crore.

The project - to be called ‘Kannada Ganga’ - will be implemented in all the 219 urban habitats that include cities and towns. A preliminary meeting in this regard will be held on May 5.

To a question, the Minister said that the government would never privatise drinking water supply in urban areas.

“We will not treat drinking water as a commodity. We are only involving private players in maintaining drinking water supply,” he clarified.

The government had roped in JUSCO, a private company, to maintain water supply in Mysore. Suresh Kumar said that the government had released Rs 17 crore each to these corporations to take up works under the CM’s package. The CM, immediately after assuming office, had announced that every corporation would be given Rs 100 crore as special fund for infrastructure development.

In order to ensure quality in works under the package, the meeting decided to conduct third-party inspection of all the works.

Rain triggers pre-monsoon blues - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

Rain triggers pre-monsoon blues - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Short but heavy spells of windy rain cooled down what began as a hot day in the city on Sunday. But the pre-monsoon showers
seemed to lash most areas with a vengeance.

Dayanand slum near Lalbagh was inundated and at least six tree-falls were reported at the BBMP control rooms by late evening. This included one each at West of Chord Road, Mahalakshmipuram, Moore Road and opposite K R Puram police station, and two at Vidyaranyapura.

Three electric poles broke at Kengeri, Ramamurthynagar and Kaggalipura, forcing residents to spend hours without power. Bescom officials at work did not confirm when it'll be restored. Some parts of South Bangalore were also affected by power cuts for a while.


The rain not only dampened weekend plans, but also triggered fears of the upcoming monsoon's impact on areas that were badly hit last year. "Ten minutes of heavy rain was enough to flood low-lying areas in Sai Gardens. It takes just a drizzle for power to be hit for at least two-three hours," a resident of the layout near Whitefield said.

Last year, residents had complained of haphazard repair work after heavy rains. The main problem was due to an overflowing drain connecting Elemallappa lake at Avalahalli and Varthur Kodi. Desilting work promised by the authorities is still not over.


Residents of Ashtalakshmi Layout in Puttenahalli are also apprehensive. Repair work that started more than six months ago is yet to be completed. The roads are dug up and drains choked. Sunday's rain made it impossible for residents to step out. Drains on either side of the main road overflowed in no time and flooded the streets. "It might soon affect drinking water supply from the borewell nearby," a resident said.


Heavy rain in Cambridge Layout, Ulsoor, flooded the streets. Trees and branches were intact, though. "But waterlogging continues, particularly on the road next to the storm water drain that leads to Domlur."

Nothing more than mild drizzle over the past few days is giving residents of Sahakarnagar sleepless nights. "What worries us is lack of precautionary measures," said M S Srinivas, a resident. Storm water drains in the area are said to be in bad shape. "No progress has been made after last year's floods. Only the main road was asphalted. We might have problems again this time if nothing is done soon," he said.


Malathi Varadarajan of Sampigenagar near Electronic City said the area is a picture of neglect with bad roads and no street lights. Rain only makes it worse. "We were almost blinded by heavy rain on Saturday night and landed in a waterlogged pit on a road. It's been a long wait for well-lit roads. We hope to see light of the day at least before monsoon," she said.


Repair work worth Rs 1.1 crore was completed in February at Ejipura, among the perennial problem areas. Despite heavy rain on Sunday, accompanied by strong winds, residents did not have to worry much about damage. Residents of Ashwini Layout had suffered heavy waterlogging due to improper outflow of drain water.

BWSSB all set to use GIS in core areas

BWSSB all set to use GIS in core areas
: BWSSB’s biggest e-governance initiative to implement the GIS has been completed in the core city areas while the board is likely to take another two years to complete the entire BBMP limits. The GIS will help BWSSB to store, access, query and analyse data, which in turn will help to take quick management decisions.

The BWSSB has been working on the GIS for the last seven years. So far, the board has updated all details covering the 229 sq km of the core city and is in process of dovetailing the GIS with revenue billing, employee database and other details. According to the BWSSB officials, the data related to the newly added areas of the city would be updated in the GIS by 2011. GIS performs four kinds of operations — data integration, data storage, data processing and data outputs. Data processing includes data viewing, data querying, data crossover and spatial analysis.

At present, 22 layers of information are available with BWSSB. The most important among them are water supply features like water pipes,valves, reservoirs, fire hydrants, and pumping and sewage features like sewers, manholes, connections in cross roads, consumers, administrative boundaries and BWSSB offices.

GIS provides solutions to implementing a sustainable and durable water supply and sewerage network management information system, and acquiring geographic description and analytical knowledge of BWSSB’s assets, both over ground and underground.

As soon as the GIS is completely updated it would be connected to the internet and all the data pertaining to the BWSSB’s activities including the details of each and every legitimate connection can be accessed by the BWSSB employees by sitting in their offices. A top-ranking BWSSB official said, “GIS helps in effectively managing our resources and taking strategic decisions.

BWSSB is the first organisation that has adopted GIS.

BBMP is also developing the GIS and we are planning club both of them so that we can know those who have not taken water supply connection. It will help in checking water pilferage. It also contains details of the age of the pipeline and other details and it will help us in deciding when to change the pipelines.’’

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

G'nagar highest water guzzler in the country? - Ahmedabad - Cities - The Times of India

G'nagar highest water guzzler in the country? - Ahmedabad - Cities - The Times of India
Gandhinagar is not only the highest consumer of Narmada water in Gujarat, it also has the highest per capita water
consumption among 20 major cities in the country as per an Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. What is worse is that babudom pays peanuts for this precious resource in an otherwise water-starved state.

State capital's water consumption even exceeds cities like Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai although civic authority supplies water only for two hours every day. The consumption pattern is calculated in litres per capita per day (LPCD).

A senior officer of the capital project department which supplies water to Gandhinagar city told TOI that Narmada waters are supplied to whole city covering almost two lakh population. The daily consumption of the the city is 55 million litres a day (MLD) during peak summers and 40 MLD during monsoons and winters. There are almost 14,000 government quarters in the city.

ADB report Benchmarking and Data Book of Water Utilities in India for 2007-08' states the average per capita consumption of water in Gandhinagar is a whopping 250 LPCD. Officials say this would go up to about 300 LPCD as summer peaks. A cursory glance over the report shows that Gandhinagar shares the dais with Jamshedpur that consumes 203 LPCD.

On Saturday, TOI had revealed how Gandhinagar was wasting water with impunity. It gets water supply mainly from Narmada, supplemented by borewells. Like Gandhinagar, in Ahmedabad, the ADB report claims that since production of water is not metered by civic administration, the end user does not learn to value the resource. Only 3 per cent connections are metered in Ahmedabad while there is none in Gandhinagar.

The report goes on to say that unaccounted for water (UFW) in Ahmedabad is not measured by civic administration. A rough estimate by AMC reveals that 45 per cent water connections in the city are illegal.

Nearly 25 per cent water supplied to Gandhinagar residents is used in the upkeep of gardens. Besides this, government quarters get free water. The recovery, from private houses, is just one-tenth of Rs 11 crore spent each year on water supply.

Gandhinagar city's consumption is almost double the water supplied to other Gujarat cities the average in urban areas being 140 LPCD. Rural areas in the state get 70 LPCD.

Villagers ransack gram panchyat office - Mysore - Cities - The Times of India

Villagers ransack gram panchyat office - Mysore - Cities - The Times of India
Enraged over irregular water supply, villagers of Siddaramanahundi, the native of former DyCM Siddaramaiah, ransacked the gram panchyat
office on Monday. The district administration has asked Mysore tahsildar Geeta Krishna to submit a report on the incident.

Upset over not getting water for three days, the villagers said they have been living with irregular supply four months.

Another reason for their ire was Siddaramaiah, who failed to supervise developmental works in his native place, despite several complaints.

Villagers protested in front of the Siddaramanahundi gram panchayat before attacking it. They ransacked the offices of the president and secretary. There was none in the office when the incident took place. A computer
at the office was damaged and a board was burnt. Women joined the protest with empty pots and broomsticks. The villagers accused the officials of misappropriation of the funds released for maintenance works and National Employment Guarantee scheme. The GP secretary is away in Bangalore on official duty.

DC Manivannan told TOI that a show-cause notice has been issued to the village accountant seeking an explanation on his failure to address the problem.

"We are probing if there is any misuse of funds as alleged, " he stated.

'Kannada Ganga' water scheme on the anvil

Mangalorean.Com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World!
Bangalore, May 12: Karnataka Government has decided to implement a "Kannada Ganga" drinking water project on a pilot basis in two drought-prone districts of Bijapur and Chitradurga from August.

Minister for Urban Development, S. Suresh Kumar told press persons here on Monday that the detailed project report on the scheme would be ready by next month and the project would be launched in August. The scheme aimed to supply drinking water from surface water sources such as tanks, ponds, rivers.

He said the drinking water problem in towns and cities was common during the summer and officials of the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) have been told to drill bore wells wherever it required to tackle the drinking water crisis.

A decision has been taken to extend 24/7 drinking water supply scheme to all wards of Hubli-Dharwad, Belgaum and Gulbarga city corporations, and work on the scheme would be commence in a couple of months. Now, the scheme has been successfully implemented on a pilot basis in eight wards of three corporations and the Department has decided to cover all wards in three corporations, which would solve the water problem, in three corporations, the Minister said.

The Minister said there was no proposal before the government on selling or auctioning of civic amenity (CA) sites. He said formation of new layouts in jurisdictions urban development authorities was a Herculean task.

The land acquisition was a major problem for developing layouts and sites. The department has proposed to grant 40 percent of the developed land to those from whom authorities acquired lands for formation of layouts and commercial complexes.

The minister ruled out the misuse of the Karnataka Organised Crimes Act (KOCA) of 2000, he said the Bill pertained to the Act was introduced in the State legislature session held last January in Belguam. The Cabinet had decided to promulgate an Ordinance to amend the Act, since it would deal only with the act of terrorism, there was no scope for misusing of the Act, he said.

No water on May 14,15

No water on May 14,15
Due to maintenance works at the pipe line of Cauvery I and II stage, the pumps will be switched off from 8 am on May 14 to 8 am on May 15. The water supply will be affected in the following parts.

EAST: OMBR Layout, HRBR Layout, HBR Layout, Janakiram Layout, Kasthuri Nagar, Kalyan Nagar, Ramswamipalya, Chikka Banaswadi, Dodda Banaswadi, Kacharakanahalli, Kammanahalli, Lingarajapura, Ramaiah Layout, KSFC Layout, Shammanna Garden, Babusab Palya, Channasandra, East of NGEF Layout, HAL 2nd and 3rd Stage, Indiranagara 1st and 2nd Stage, Murphy Town, Jayarajanagara, Kallahalli, Laxmipura, Shasthrinagara, Thippasandra, BM Kaval, Binnamangala, Byappanahalli, Sadananda Nagara, Anandapura, Sudhamnagara, Geethanjali Layout, Appareddypalya, Motappanapalya, Vasanthappa garden, Doopanahalli, OMBR Layout, Pillanna Garden, Devarajeevanahalli, Jeevanahalli, K G Halli, Anwar Layout, Shadabnagar, Gandhinagara, New & Old Bagalur Layout, Frazer Town, ITI Layout, SK Garde, Wahab garden, Coles Road, Huchins Road, MS Nagara, Doddigundi, Jeevanahalli, Vivekananda Nagar, Old Byappanahalli, Sathyanagar, CV Raman Nagar, Kaggadas pura, GM Palya, Suddagunte Palya and surrounding areas.

SOUTH: Banashankari, Padmanabhangar, Hoskerehalli, Poornapragna Layout, Chikkalasandra, Katriguppe, Bhuvaneshwarinagar, Girinagar, Srinivasnagar, Devagiri, BSK II stage, Hanumanthanagar, Srinagar, Mountjoy, Nagendra Block, Basavanagudi, Chamarajpet, JP Nagar, Jayanagar, Wilson Garden, Siddapura, Shantinagar, Sakammagarden, Mohamoden Block, Yarabnagar, Kumaraswamy Layout, Basavanagudi, NR Colony and surrounding areas.

WEST: Magadi Road, Cholarapalya, Gopalapura, Basaveshwarangar slum, Magadi Road, Bhuvaneshwari Nagar, Netaji Nagar, KP agrahara, JJ Nagar, Padarayanapura, Hale Guddadahalli, Devaraj Urs Nagar, Annappa Garden, New Binny Badavane, Markandeshwara Nagar, Mysore Road, Kasturbanagar, Raghavanagar, Byatrayanapura, Hosa badavane, Bapujinagar, New Guddadahalli, Shamnna Garden, Manjunathnagar, Jagajeevanramnagar, Anjanappagarden, New Binny Layout and surrounding areas.

It's raining promises in Pulakeshinagar - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

It's raining promises in Pulakeshinagar - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Better drinking water supply, new sewage lines, renovated markets. If BWSSB minister Katta Subramanya Naidu is to be
believed, a slew of civic measures are in store for residents of Pulakeshinagar.

The government has earmarked Rs 38 crore for road and drain work in this assembly constituency, he said. This apart, Rs 9.26 crore has been set aside for remodelling storm water drains. The minister has promised a periodic follow-up on the projects.


* New borewells: One of the perennial problems here is lack of drinking water. Limited Cauvery water supply and non-functioning borewells are the reasons. There are 40-45 borewells in the area, but none of them work. Now, there are plans for 50 new borewells

* Healthcare: Renovation of Annasami Mudaliar Dispensary (near Moore Market) in the next 3-4 months; upgradation of Corporation Maternity Home on Bore Bunk Road built in 1962

* Markets: There was a plan to renovate Moore Market but it was stalled due to poor response to tenders. The minister has said BBMP will do the work now. A garbage dump next to a drain opposite the market will also be cleared

* Title deeds: Slum dwellers in Pottery Town have been promised title deeds within the next 15 days

City goes dry - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

City goes dry - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Why should water supply be shut down in most areas of the city for
repair works

While BWSSB says the problem happens often in summer as power cuts affect pumping of water from reservoirs, Bescom insists that there are no power cuts in the city.

Caught in the crossfire are hapless Bangaloreans who are forced to go without water and power!

On Tuesday, BWSSB admitted that water supply can be less in the near future if power cuts don't stop. The frequency of water shortage in different parts of the city has increased over the past month.

On Monday and Tuesday, many parts of the city didn't get drinking water due to repair works of a pipeline. And, it could get worse in the next few days.


There are 50 low-level reservoirs (LLRs) with a depth of 8-12 metres. If the reservoirs are 75-80% full, then gravity makes pumping easier. But, if the level comes down, then the flow is less. "About 57 motors run day and night. They are of different capacities, varying from 1200 hp to 1650 hp. The frequent power cuts are affecting the inflow, as motors are not able to work at 50 cycles per second; they often work at 45-48 cycles. Recently, there was no power at Harohalli, which caused severe water shortage in different areas. Due to some repair works, water flow was stopped to the 4th stage areas of South-West and East Bangalore,'' officials said.


Over 70 lakh people depend on Cauvery water pumped from 100 kms away. There is no scientific solution or alternative to this problem. We just hope the power woes settle.


BWSSB assures that if there is no water for five to six days at a stretch, then BWSSB will arrange for tankers to supply water.


* There is water shortage in S T Bed, Koramangala, specially in the northern parts like Friends Colony. It's been more than a month. In fact, unofficially they have told us that supply will be 30% less because of inadequate power to pump. A pump is supposed to come up at HSR Layout and the situation will improve when that happens.

B S Ananthram, RWA member, S T Bed Koramangala

* Parts of Jayanagar did not have water supply on Monday and Tuesday. There has been acute shortage in 4th and 4th B Block.

H Keshavakumar, RWA secretary, Jayanagar

* Many areas in Basaveshwaranagar have been facing shortage on a regular basis.

M Venugopal, Citizens for Civic Amenities

All's well: Bescom

There is no problem with power at all. We provide 24 hours power to Bangalore city and we haven't received any complaints from BWSSB on this.

B N Satya Premkumar, general manager, Bescom

Karnataka's finances likely to be hit Mangalorean.Com

Mangalorean.Com- Serving Mangaloreans Around The World!
The economic recessionary trend and slump in revenues from stamps and registration and motor vehicle taxes is all set to cast a shadow on resource mobilisation in Karnataka.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurppa on Tuesday reviewed the progress of the Finance Department and said it is expected that the revenue resource mobilisation target of Rs 48,380 crore set for 2009-10 could come down by at least six per cent due to the effects of economic slowdown and reduced earnings from stamps and registration and motor vehicle taxes.

Mr Yeddyurappa, who is also holding finance portfolio, said the state mobilised resources to the extent of Rs 41,151 crore (07-08), it was Rs 43,292 crore in 2008-09.

He told reporters after reviewing the financial position at a meeting with Finance Department officials here that during 2008-09, the revenues from motor vehicle tax witnessed a two per cent decline at Rs 1,617 crore as against Rs 1,650 crore in 2007-08.

Similarly in stamps and registration sector, the realisation has come down by 15 per cent touching Rs 2,908 crore in 2008-09 compared to Rs 3,409 crore earned during the previous fiscal, Yeddyurappa said.

Despite the recessionary trends, he said the State government's financial position is better compared to other states and the plan and non-plan expenditure for the year 2009-10 has been estimated at Rs. 58,860 crore.

Karnataka ranked first in the tax collection in 2008-09 in the country and its tax resources constituted 11.5 per cent of the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) while Andhra Pradesh secured second position and its tax resources formed 10 per cent of the GSDP, the Chief Minister said.

The fiscal deficit has been restricted to Rs. 8,424 crore in 2008-09, which amounted to 3.35 per cent of the GSDP against the limit of 3.5 per cent fixed by the Central government. The government was expected to borrow Rs. 8,493 crore during 2009-10, he said.

The State's plan expenditure up by 23.5 per cent in 2008-09 compared to 2007-08 while non-plan expenditure increased by five per cent during the same period. The plan expenditure in 2008-09 was Rs. 19,960 crore against Rs. 16,263 crore 2007-08. The plan and non-plan expenditure in 2008-09 was Rs. 51, 918 crore.

"The recessionary trend, which is a global phenomenon, has affected the state's economy also. But the impact is not that serious." Mr. Yeddyurappa said the government has been successfully restricting the non-plan expenditure to some extent. The non-plan expenditure was restricted to Rs. 31,958 crore which was only 5 per cent more than the previous year (2007-08).

The Chief Minister has directed officials of the Finance resource mobilising departments to increase the enforcement and other regulatory measures to achieve more compliance and increase the state's tax revenue.

Assuring that all promises made in his annual budget, including farm loan at three per cent interest would be met, Mr Yeddyurappa said the government had released Rs 400 crore towards procurement of fertiliser and Rs 500 crore each for road development and purchase of power.

Replying to a question, he said despite good collection in revenue and capital expenditure, the global economic meltdown had caused adverse impact on industrial, agricultural production and affected the export of IT, Bio-technology and other industrial products.

''The new government which would assume office at the Centre after the general elections is likely to take remedial measures to overcome the recession,'' he added.

CM unhappy with execution of schemes

Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa has expressed unhappiness over poor implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and other rural development progrmmes of the state government in the last financial year (2008-09).

In his address to the meeting of Chief Executive Officers of 29 zilla panchayats in the State, Mr. Yeddyurappa, directed CEOs to prepare action plans to expedite implementation of all rural development schemes in the current fiscal year. Mr. Yeddyurappa reviewed the performance of NREGA, Rural Drinking Water Supply Scheme, Prime Ministers' Grameen Sadak Yojana and Suvarna Gramodaya Scheme on Tuesday evening at the Vikasa Soudha.

The State Government has not utilised the funds available under the NREGS in 2008-09 and several reasons have been cited for less utilisation of funds granted by the Centre.

The scheme aimed to enhance the livelihood security of the people in rural areas by guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to rural households.

He said under the PMGSY, the State ranked second in the implementation of the scheme and the Centre has granted additional Rs. 850 crore under the scheme. As many as 200 villages had been identified in the Gulbarga division under the Suvarna Gramodaya scheme at a Cabinet meeting held in Gulbarga last year. But the implementation of the scheme was slow, the Chief Minister said.

Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Shobha Karandlaje and other officials of the department were present at the meeting.

Water reuse will stave off shortage - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

Water reuse will stave off shortage - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Bangalore pays the least water tariff compared to other developing cities of the world; it doesn't even have control over
water usage. While there is a cry over the looming water shortage, experts give good news -- that Bangalore faces no water crisis. They say it's bad management practices that are driving us towards an imminent dry situation.

Jan-Olaf Drangert, senior researcher at the department of water and environmental studies, Linkoping University, Sweden, was in the city to conduct a research on the water situation.

He told `The Times of India' that Bangalore should focus on water reuse and demand management to mitigate the crisis.

Drangert has authored several books on water management and is currently writing a paper on recycling and reuse of water. Excerpts from an interview:

Q. What're the crucial issues with water supply that you saw in Bangalore?

A. There is no doubt a dearth of water but I haven't seen much work on the demand management side. Only 15% of the water bill goes into sewage treatment, and treatment costs are high. There should be a system of progressive tariff. The tariff here is just between 3% and 10% of what we pay in the West. Consumption here, however, is almost equal to that of Europe. So the current slab should be maintained for the lower middle-class but increased considerably for upper income levels.

Q. How can water be managed prudently?

Per capita use of water is usually 150 litres per person per day. This applies to Europe too. But there are households that consume more and waste water. Servants who are at home most of the time need to be trained in careful use of water. Reuse is the most practical solution. I know there are hygiene concerns in India and people usually don't want to use it for household work. But reused water can be used for gardening, irrigation, flushing, etc. Many apartments in Bangalore are resorting to this option.

Q. What's the progress in Bangalore on water reuse?

I'm happy to hear that the BWSSB chairman plans to focus on waste water reuse. But the huge blank space lies in the household sector. Reuse needs to be popularized among households. Cauvery water is pumped from a far away place and is inadequate. The bed rock is hard and groundwater levels have gone down. The best way is to reduce demand and focus on reuse. If your apartment is looking at reuse, then use less pollutants, biodegradable soaps and detergents. This will enable recycled water to be used for different purposes.

Leakage, mismanagement clog Delhi water utility - Economy and Politics -

Leakage, mismanagement clog Delhi water utility - Economy and Politics -
Efficiency in delivering services is one of the arguments made in favour of the increased focus on urbanization. But it is a hard argument to make when a state utility does not even know how much water flows into the city, let alone plug leaks that lead to an astounding 47% of water pumped from collection points in other states not being put to use. Part 2 of a three-part series.
The Capital’s state-owned water supply utility, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), has a leakage and loss rate of 47%. But to plug a leak, the first step is to know where it is.
Also Read Water woes for rural India as cities keep expanding
Archaic system: Street children taking water from DJB’s tanker in the Ranjit Singh flyover area, New Delhi. Lack of metering, illegal connections and illegitimate use worsen the problem of ageing pipelines. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
Archaic system: Street children taking water from DJB’s tanker in the Ranjit Singh flyover area, New Delhi. Lack of metering, illegal connections and illegitimate use worsen the problem of ageing pipelines. Ramesh Pathania / Mint
According to responses received from DJB under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, the utility does not have any bulk water meters at the six major points it received water from.
“Their RTI reply said that the water that daily flows into Delhi is measured by a weir system, which is archaic. Moreover, bulk meters at input and output points at DJB’s water treatment plants have been defunct for five years,” said Arvind Kejriwal, who received the RTI, replied.
“You don’t even know what or where the problem is, you don’t even have estimates on how much water is treated or distributed daily. There is absolutely no accountability. The problem is not of shortage at all but of management,” said Kejriwal, who also spearheads Parivartan, a citizens’ movement for transparency and accountability in governance through RTI.
In an emailed response to questions, DJB said the 47% referred to non-revenue water (NRW), or water for which the utility did not generate revenue.
“Water lost due to leakages in the conveyance system accounts for 10-15% and the balance is water which is consumed in the city but does not generate revenue for DJB,” the reply said. “The NRW can be accounted for by the fact that 35% of the city’s population is living in unauthorized habitations, slums,...where drinking water needs are met through free tanker service, tube-wells, water hydrants and deep-bore hand pumps. Apart from the above, up to 6 kilolitres is supplied to the consumers but is not billed in real terms as per the existing tariff structure.”
The utility is conducting a water audit by installing bulk flow meters on the distribution network. “It will take a year. Then we will have exact accounting,” chief executive officer Ramesh Negi said.
Lack of metering, illegal connections and illegitimate use worsen the problem of ageing pipelines. A 2007 study on the performance of Indian water utilities by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which was conducted to benchmark urban projects under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, said: “Metering is a critical component for determining unaccounted for water... Only Coimbatore claims to have both production and service connections fully metered. Bangalore and Mumbai have fully production metering but consumption metering are 95.5% and 75%, respectively, whereas four other utilities have fully metered production but virtually nil to only 40% consumption metering. 100% metering of production and consumption, repair of visible leaks, elimination of illegal connections, and identification and repair of invisible leaks are critical.”
New Delhi, by contrast, has meters at production and consumption points but most of these are defunct. “Delhi and Faridabad have meters but most of them don’t work for the simple reason that you must have a continuous water supply for them to work. Currently it is intermittent for a few hours in a day. Billing is only on estimates of previous bills and averages,” said R.K. Srinivasan, coordinator, city water and waste management unit at Centre for Science and Environment, a New Delhi-based non-governmental organization.
The ADB report said the Bhopal, Jabalpur, Mathura and Varanasi utilities have no metering at all. “For Indian water utilities, this is perhaps the single most important area requiring improvement,” it said.
Hundred per cent metering also ensures accurate billing and tariff collection. Very few of Indian utilities, such as those in Chennai, Mumbai, Jamshedpur, Nagpur, Visakhapatnam, Bangalore and Coimbatore, manage to cover their operation and maintenance costs from revenue from tariff.
Compared with expenses of Rs1,209.27 crore, DJB recovered only Rs564.91 crore from revenue. The Kolkata water utility does not even charge domestic users, resulting in a high operating ratio.
But metering and pricing uniformly also bring the issues of distribution and equity to the forefront. Community taps in public areas, mostly urban slums and unauthorized colonies, are responsible for most unaccounted for water, according to the ADB study. But then, there is also the question of who pays more and for how much.
“Why do we pay taxes? Providing water is critical. The government has to decide who gets water at what price. That’s not a subsidy but a responsibility,” said Kejriwal.
Part 3 will focus on equity and distribution in a Delhi neighbourhood.

Water woes for rural India as cities keep expanding

Print Article - livemint
Along the way, the water passes impoverished rural communities, where piped water is often an unheard of luxury and rivers are so polluted that no one would consider drinking their water

Padmaparna Ghosh and Rahul Chandran

New Delhi: As the mercury rises this summer, long multi-coloured bucket lines will begin to appear at community taps in cities and villages across the country. Tempers will fray as formerly amicable neighbours fight bitterly for their share of the precious commodity. Meanwhile, in affluent neighbourhoods, state-subsidized water will be used to wash cars and water gardens. As water tables sink and frustration increases, Mint looks at the conflict and politics surrounding water in an election year.

Short supply: Empty water pots lined up as people wait for their turn in the Amruthhalli area of Bangalore. Cities do not view resource planning for water as part of the master plan, points out an expert. Hemant Mishra / Mint

Numerous canals and reservoirs, some as far as the Bhakra dam in Punjab—about 360km away—provide water to the 16 million residents of Delhi, one of India’s wealthiest cities.

Along the way, the water passes impoverished rural communities, where piped water is often an unheard of luxury and rivers are so polluted that no one would consider drinking their water.
Meanwhile, ageing infrastructure and mistargeted subsidies ensure that a lot of water is lost forever, dripping anonymously out of the system.

Call it India’s water paradox: The country’s teeming cities, forever swelling with migrants, are dipping farther and farther into the hinterland to source water for their residents, often drawing it from rural areas at the cost of the rural populace.
It wasn’t always like this. In a not-so-distant past, New Delhi used to get its water from wells in the Yamuna floodplains and step-wells in the Capital’s so-called Ridge, a wooded area.
Delhi’s water utility, the Delhi Jal Board (DJB), is proposing to tap water from the Renuka dam in Himachal Pradesh. Chennai sources its drinking water from at least 235km away, Mumbai from 160km away and Aizawl from 1km down the valley, the equivalent of several hundred kilometres on the plains.
With nearly half the country’s population expected to be urban within the next four decades, cities will continue to cast their resource net way beyond their boundaries, escalating simmering tensions between urban and rural populations.

Traditionally, water bodies have been a source of conflict in the country, but the issue of cities tapping into reservoirs that supply water to farms is a sensitive one. “Now, when the farmer is deprived of water, he will put up his claim. In Mandya (a district in Karnataka), they (the government) wanted to implement a 40 million litres per day (mld) project, but farmers protested. Upstream people (those near the source of the water) are going to have a lot of say (in cities tapping water),” said M.N. Thippeswamy, ex-chief engineer, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board.

Already, water is proving to be an electoral issue in states. In Rajasthan, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which earlier had barely a toehold in this Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress dominated state, won three seats and considerably increased its vote share after it led a farmers’ agitation on the lack of irrigation networks.

And in the south, tensions between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are just one bad monsoon away.

DJB chief executive officer Ramesh Negi points to the inherent paradox in the water supply scenario in India, with rural areas, which are usually the most efficient water users, suffering because city dwellers get most of the government’s attention. “Water as a resource is still tied to geographical boundaries,” he said.

Citing the example of Delhi and Haryana, which have bickered periodically about the amount of water that Delhi sucks up, Negi said: “The time has come for Delhi and Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to be on the same side. If there is an NCR (National Capital Region) concept in other areas, why shouldn’t there be an NCR perspective for water?”

Mandya is not the only instance of such water protests. Two years ago, six people were killed when the police fired on farmers in a village in Rajasthan.

The farmers were protesting against the state, which had rejected their request to route water from the nearby Bisalpur dam to their fields, because Jaipur (70km away) needed the water. The Hogenakkal drinking water project in Tamil Nadu is another instance where Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are currently contesting water sharing between the two states. Under the project, Tamil Nadu will source water from the Cauvery river, within Karnataka borders.

Thippeswamy said the major problem is that cities do not view resource planning for water as part of the master planning process. “The Bangalore master plan doesn’t say anything about water. How can you accept that plan then? Where is the water going to come from?”

Thus, even though experts agree that extending pipelines indefinitely is not the solution, most cities have plans to draw water from farther sources.

“There is no doubt about it, we are definitely at the point of crisis,” said a senior official at the ministry of water resources, who did not want to be identified.

But the official doesn’t have a solution. Most villages and satellite towns of big cities, he says, “make do with less”.
That’s not an optimal solution because the real problem isn’t availability of water.

In Delhi, for instance, DJB supplies around 3,375mld of water, with the average of 240 litres per capita per day being the highest in the country.

“Industrial, agricultural and domestic uses are competing against each other. Under domestic use, there are urban areas, which are water guzzlers, and rural areas, which have water but are not able to access it,” said Richard Mahapatra, national coordinator, WaterAid India, the local arm of an international organization that works in the area of drinking water and sanitation.

Agriculture alone uses at least 80% of the water utilized in India. “But 90% of agricultural usage is met through groundwater, which is also critical for rural drinking purposes; more than 85% of rural drinking supply is met through groundwater. That immediately puts agriculture in competition with drinking water,” Mahapatra added.

Increasing the length of pipes doesn’t only mean invading new territories for water. It also means escalation in production cost of infrastructure and the continuous pumping of water from far-flung areas, as well as more losses from leakage.
Delhi, for instance, has the highest leakage loss—a whopping 47%. Mumbai has 30% and Bangalore, 39%. “Look at the kind of leakage utilities have; imagine a pipeline that long and its maintenance and monitoring,” said Mahapatra.

Add to this the associated increase in costs of production. Aizawl, which has to pump water from a valley just a kilometre away, spends Rs53.93 per kilolitre (kl). Delhi, which fortunately doesn’t have an incline to contend with, has a production cost of Rs11.33/kl and Mumbai, Rs9.27/kl.

None of the parameters are projected to change in the future. By 2021, according to the economic survey 2007-08, Delhi will have to contend with a deficit of at least 1,000mld for a population in excess of 22 million.

“The benchmark of drinking water per person is 3 litres per day. For a family of five, it is 15 litres. If you can’t provide that, you are fighting the hardest for the least amount. That shows how acute the situation is,” said Mahapatra.

Dual water pipelines in new layouts - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India

Dual water pipelines in new layouts - Bangalore - Cities - The Times of India
Dry conditions, limited stock of surface water and over-exploited groundwater makes water supply a Herculean task but the near future
might see a change with projects and collective efforts in conservation of available resources.

On Friday, BWSSB chairman P B Ramamurthy listed a few initiatives at the inaugural of the two-day workshop of Indo-German water network and BWSSB. “It’s unfortunate there are no dual pipelines in the city. But, we’re making a start with the new layouts. They get water only after 2012 but they’ll have separate lines for inflow potable and non-potable/treated water,” he said.

The board also looks at better management of water resources through a few amendments to the BWSSB Act, 1964. The suggestions include making rainwater harvesting mandatory and making punishment more stringent for over-exploitation of water resources.

There’ll be a thrust on alternative sources of fresh water -- one is to get treated used water into regular supply. The board has also taken up awareness campaigns. “We’ve set up a visitors’ centre at two places to spread awareness on reused water,” he said.
In addition to the 14 Sewage Treatement Plants, the board plans nine new plants only for the newly added BBMP areas. The city generates more than 700 MLD waste water per day but the old pipelines do not get all of it into the STPs and a majority of it also drains into the storm water drains. “We’ve already started replacing old pipelines and also increasing their size. This will ensure taking up more tertiary water into the plants to be treated and reducing pressure on potable water,” Ramamurthy explained. The measures initiated to rejuvenate 29 lakes and tanks across the city were among other initiatives discussed.

Trade body Nasscom warns of bottlenecks like infrastructure

MIS Asia
India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) said Tuesday that the country's outsourcing industry can potentially earn revenue of US$225 billion by 2020, of which about $175 billion will come from exports, and the balance from the domestic market.

The country's revenue from outsourcing in the fiscal year to March 31 was about $60 billion, of which $47 billion was from exports, a Nasscom spokeswoman said.

The Nasscom figures include revenue of both Indian outsourcers and the Indian services and research and development subsidiaries of multinational companies.

Nasscom however warned that the industry faces some challenges, including competition from other countries, and poor quality of education and infrastructure in India.

Currently only a small percentage of graduates have the skills necessary to be employed directly by the outsourcing industry. Only about 26 per cent of engineers, for example, can be employed for technology services.

Nasscom has teamed up with management consultancy McKinsey & Company to draw up a plan for the outsourcing industry for 2020.

More than 95 per cent of India's services exports originate from nine major cities whose infrastructure like power, road and air transport, and water supply is already constrained, according to the joint report. A recommended move to smaller cities has not gained momentum, it added.

Competition from at least 25 to 30 other low-cost countries could reduce India's market share by 10 percent, according to the report.

In its best-case scenario, the report forecasts a potential revenue of $375 billion by 2020 for India's outsourcing industry.

Former Karnataka ’super cop’ reaches out to voters in style

Former Karnataka ’super cop’ reaches out to voters in style
Congress candidate H.T. Sangliana, a former “super cop” of Karnataka, says electioneering in the prestigious Bangalore Central parliamentary constituency is like a dream unfolding as the April 23 polling day nears.

Sangliana was elected to the 14th Lok Sabha on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket from the adjacent Bangalore North constituency after defeating Congress veteran and former Union minister C.K. Jaffer Sharief.

This time, after switching parties, the 66-year-old former city police commissioner is contesting from Bangalore Central, which includes some of the areas of his previous constituency post-delimitation. He has been on the move over the last fortnight to reach out to as many of the 1.9 million voters as possible.

“It’s been a dream life. Over the last two weeks, I’ve lost count of the people I met while canvassing door-to-door and campaigning in several localities across the eight assembly segments of this huge constituency,” Sangliana told IANS while on the campaign trail in Gandhinagar.

Though Sangliana’s nomination from the much-sought-after constituency was late in coming, he lost no time in plunging headlong into hectic campaigning that begins early in the day and drags on till midnight.

Typically, he gets cracking at 7 a.m. for the campaign grind after a quick shower and breakfast in his modest sixth floor flat at the National Games Village in upscale Koramangala suburb.

By the time Sangliana sets out in a Honda CRV, with six gun-toting commandos providing him Z plus security cover in an escort jeep, he is swarmed by hordes of party cadres and local leaders to chalk out the day’s campaign route and the schedule for meetings in designated localities.

Sangliana is locked in a triangular contest with P.C. Mohan of the BJP and B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan of the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

“If elected, I will improve electricity and water supply, repair roads and the drainage system. I will prevent moral policing,” Sangliana claimed, drawing a round of applause from his audience.

“I have always believed in good work to be part of public life. I want to spend the rest of my life working for the people,” he asserted.