WSSB inks pact with USTDA
Bangalore, Sep 26, DH News Service:
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) on Friday signed an agreement with United State Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) to undertake Integrated Water Management in the City.
USTDA will provide technical assistance to tune of US $ 435,236 .
The technical assistance includes water resources management plant feasibility study designed to analyse water supply and utilities projects in Bangalore's extended metropolitan areas and set priorities for implementing medium and long-term projects for future service areas.
The cooperation agreement for reusable water also demonstrates the public-private partnership opportunities in critical infrastructure that India and US have targeted under their growing strategic dialogue.
The study comprises data collection and analysis, water demand forecasting, alternative scenario, identification and developing cost functions, system dynamic modelling, alternative analysis and developmental impact analysis.
Monday, September 28, 2009
BWSSB leads ‘no power tariff hike’ chorus
Express News Service
First Published : 24 Sep 2009 05:18:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 24 Sep 2009 06:57:52 AM IST
BANGALORE: The final hearing by Karnataka Electricity Regulation Commission (KERC) to discuss the tariff hike proposed by Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL), drew flak from various quarters including the government-owned Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).
BWSSB and four other stakeholders, which took part in the hearing, argued that the 11 paise hike (from 19 paise to 30 paise) was not according to the specified framework.
According to BWSSB, KPTCL had not complied with the multiyear tariff (MYT) framework, and that the proposed hike was based on the actual cost incurred by KPTCL, and not as per the parameters specified in the MYT framework.
It also said that a 50 per cent hike in tariff is not proportionate to the increase in the amount of power KPTCL can deliver.
Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FKCCI), Consumers Care Society, Canara Chamber of Commerce, Laghu Udyog Bharathi and independent petitioner D Subramanya Bhat, are the others to file objections alongside BWSSB.
While Consumer Care Society said that tariff fixing was usually sought on per megawatt/per hour (per unit) basis and not on per kilowatt/per hour basis like in KPTCL’s application.
They also argued that there had been problems in reporting the incurred costs. “KPTCL has purchased power for crores of rupees over the last three to four years.
This is in violation of the 2003 Electricity Act, as it had restricted KPTCL from trading in power.
These costs have been shown in the application as power purchase costs and this is a wrong picture,” a lawyer pointed out.
ater level at Thippagondanahalli reservoir has dropped drastically
Harsh summer in store for north, west B’lore
S Lalitha, Bangalore, Sep 20, DHNS:
Alarm bells on the water level have already started ringing at the Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir.
DIP DIP DIP: The Sangameshwara temple at the Thippagondanahalli reservoir. When the water level reaches a maximum of 2,574 feet, the temple gets submerged. File photoFor the water storage level, that increases annually during the months of August, September and October, has dropped drastically. The storage capacity of the reservoir, located in the downstream of Hesarghatta lake, is 74 feet but the level was hovering at a mere 28 feet, nine inches feet on Saturday. “The month of August is over and half of September too has gone. There has been no appreciable increase in the storage levels. It is during these two months and October that the reservoir’s levels shoot up,” said a top official.
The areas in Rajaji Nagar, Kamala Nagar, West of Chord Road, Vijayanagar, Nagarbhavi and parts of Yelahanka will bear the brunt of the decreased levels in the reservoir, during the coming summer, he added.
The reasons are not far to seek; absence of rains in the catchment areas of Nelamangala, Doddaballapur, Sivaganga and Nandi Hills. “The last three days have shown a minor improvement but that is just not enough,” the official said.
While the increase in water level is usually 500 million cubic feet (mcft) during each of these three months in the preceding years, the level has gone up by a mere 20 mcft for the month of August, this year.
“The inflow into the reservoir is very poor this time. The annual increase that ranges between 1,500 mcft to 2,000 mcft appears to be a distant prospect this time around. Even last year, it had increased well above 1,500 mcft by the end of October,” he informed.
The year 2008 was a good year for the reservoir as the water had touched a four-year high of 40-feet in October that time, thanks to copious rains. The reservoir, located 35 kms from the City towards Magadi, supplies 70 million litres of water to Bangalore on a daily basis. This is a crucial supplement to the 810 million litres of Cauvery water supplied daily by the Thoraikkadanahalli reservoir. TG Halli mainly caters to the needs of northern and western parts of Bangalore.
Inaugurated in the year 1933, the reservoir is located at the confluence of the Arkavathi and Kumudvathi rivers. It used to be the only source of water supply to the City during that era.
Toddler washed away in drain
Overnight rain leads to another casualty; search operations resume today
DEATH TRAP: Fire and Emergency Services personnel searching for the body of Vijay in Hulimavu Police Station limits in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Bangalore: With the death of six-year-old Abhishek in a Lingarajapuram drain on May 31 still fresh in memory, the city has witnessed a similar dreadful accident; this time that of 18-month-old V. Vijay Kumar who was swept away in the rushing waters in an open drain on Wednesday.
Eyewitnesses said the toddler slipped into an open tertiary drain at Chikkadevarahalli, about 35 km from here, around 7.40 a.m.
All efforts to trace the child, including a joint combing operation by personnel from the Fire and Emergency Services, the police and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), have failed. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa has announced compensation of Rs. 1 lakh to the family.
The three-foot-deep tertiary drain, which is two feet wide, is about 20 metres from young Vijay’s house. The drain was overflowing after Tuesday night’s heavy downpour and had loosened the soil.
The boy’s parents, Varadaraju and Lakshmamma, both construction workers, were in their house adjacent to Visvesvaraya Marg of Royal Residency Layout near Chikkadevarahalli while the child was playing with his uncle Kanakaraju (10). The latter said Vijay fell when he went near the drain to pluck some grass.
Niranjan, a waterman with the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) who was doing some maintenance work on the pump house of the nearby water tank, witnessed the incident and tried in vain to save the toddler with help from his colleague Rajanna.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-east division) B.N.S. Reddy, more than 200 personnel, including those from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the Bangalore City Police and the BBMP, were roped in for the combing operations.
Bommanahalli MLA Satish Reddy and senior BBMP officials, including Special Commissioner Maheshwar Rao and Zonal Deputy Commissioners and Joint Commissioners, visited the spot.
BBMP sources said the so far the personnel had trawled a 2-km stretch of the drain. The search was called off at 6.30 p.m. Sources said it would resume at 7.30 a.m. on Thursday, and go all along the drain up to the Madiwala lake. We will look for the body in the lake as well, the sources said.
Residents of the area said that the drain’s embankment had indeed been fortified to prevent such incidents. However, they alleged, construction workers had stolen the cement bricks and stones from the embankment.
Mr. Varadaraju’s relatives told The Hindu that the couple, who hail from Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, and had been working in the city for the past four years, had named their first son Ajay. “The doctors told Ms. Lakshmamma that the second baby could be stillborn. So, when he was born, they named him Vijay, as he overcame all odds and was born healthy.”
When she heard the news, Ms. Lakshmamma collapsed. There was no ambulance available and neighbours gave first aid with glucose and water.
Later, when she fainted, BBMP officials summoned an ambulance, which shifted her to a nearby hospital.
Rural development and panchayat raj minister Shobha Kharandlaje on Monday said the government will stop funding gram panchayats if
open defecation does not stop.
Speaking at a two-day workshop on rural sanitation, the minister said the sanitation programme has to be compulsorily implemented at least at the household level in the state. "I am instituting a state award called Nairmalya at village, taluk and district levels, to encourage proper implementation of sanitation programmes. Due to lack of awareness, toilets are not properly utilized in rural areas. We have found people using them as cattle sheds in some villages. We can save half our health budget if we properly implement sanitation programmes because that is what leads to so many diseases,'' said Shobha.
With this initiative, Karnataka has a sanitation coverage of 38.79%. Some of the worst affected district owing to lack of implementation of sanitation programmes are Gulbarga, Bijapur, Raichur, Tumkur, Chamrajnagar, Kolar, Bellary and Mandya.
Not surprisingly, in some districts like Gulbarga, sanitation programmes have reached only 10.22% and even in Bangalore Urban, the status of individual household sanitation is only 50.29%.
Dr P Boregowda, Karnataka Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency director, said: "With 100% implementation of sanitation programmes in Shimoga district, health conditions have significantly improved there.''
Vanishing lakes: Time to act now
Subhash Chandra NS
The widespread outcry about Bangalore’s vanishing lakes is finally waking up the City’s civic agencies. Plans are afoot to conserve the existing water bodies and even revive some of the old ones. The agencies better speed up, because at stake is Bangalore’s very existence as a liveable City.
Here are some startling findings that should explain the need for urgency: The 262 wetlands that existed in Bangalore in 1962 had declined by a whopping 58 per cent by 2007, according to a study by the Energy and Wetland research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. While the City’s built up area shot up by 466 percent between 1973- 2007, the 51 active wetlands in 1973 dipped to 17 by 2007. During the same period, the number of lakes in Greater Bangalore came down from 159 to only 93.
The study found that the condition of Northern part of greater Bangalore was poorer than the Southern region, where the City is growing faster. Strangely, the BBMP claims there are still 212 lakes in the City.
To protect the existing water bodies from pollution and encroachment, the Lok Adalat had issued directions recently. Following this, the BBMP has now launched a Rs. 900 crore conservation project.
It has been a losing battle for lake conservationists. Public Interest Litigations, Court directions, educational programmes and government stringent norms of the State Government and appeal from Scientific Community and environmentalists have repeatedly failed to arrest the disappearance of the water bodies.
Mass migrations into Bangalore has doubled the City’s population in a few years. “Greenery is disappearing, ground water mining is draining some lakes, while the scourge of unaccounted sewage and indiscriminate use of agro chemicals and pesticides along the wetlands has gripped many,” explains Dr Nandini, Professor, Department of Environment Sciences (DES), Bangalore University.
Ishwar Prasad, Parisara, an environmentalist involved in greening Thippagondanahalli reservoir catchment area agrees: “Some lakes have disappeared due to development works. Even the crores of rupees borrowed from international agencies to clean the lakes have not been fruitful,” he says.
Forty-two lakes lost to development:
Of the 212 lakes, which the Palike claims the City has, 42 were reportedly lost due to development work. They were converted to residential layouts, playgrounds, stadiums, industries, government buildings and bus stands. Scores of private projects, apartments, indepedent houses and commercial complexes now stand on erstwhile lakes.
According to the Palike, the lakes on which the City was dependent on water until the 1970s were neglected following the Cauvery water supply scheme to pump water from a distance of 100 kms away from the City. “This was the genesis of lake destruction as the utility of the lakes was not found for the purpose for which it was initially used as. The lake surroundings were covered by urban set up and irrigation requirement totally diminished,” says the BBMP report.
Indiscriminate sewerage disposal:
Indiscriminate disposal of sewerage into the lakes are cited by both the IISc and BBMP reports, and another study by the Bangalore University. The IISc report finds that of the 360 recognised slums in the City, only 30 percent have underground sewerage system. “In majority of the slums, waste water is discharged through storm water drains,” the reports say. The BU study observes that even waste water from the apartments end up in the lakes.
“With the availability of piped water supply, the importance of surfaced water in lakes lost focus. The lack of adequate underground water drainage system to intercept and divert the used water for its treatment before discharge to valleys, has not kept pace with water use and draining by urban population,” the BBMP report reveals.
Indiscriminate drilling of borewells is another cause cited for the disappearing lakes. With over 1,25,000 borewells in the City, the water level has plunged below 400 feet. The Bangalore North Taluk was declared grey way back in 1994 by the Central Ground Water Board.
With no proper demarcations, the water bodies have been easy targets for land sharks. But now, with the City’s population requiring over 800 million litres of water per day, the BBMP has no option but to revive and rejenuvate the lakes.
Forty-three lakes have lost their entire character either due to government
projects or to private.
Prominent among them:
* Dharmambudi lake: Converted into the Kempegowda Bus terminus.
* Sampige lake: Land used for the Kanteerava stadium
* Koramangala lake: Land used for the National Dairy Research Institute
* Akkithimannahalli lake: Converted into a Hockey Stadium.
* Sunkal Lake: The land now houses the KSRTC regional Workshops
* Hennur lake: Converted into HBR layout.
* Vijinipura lake: Now converted as the Rajarajeshwari layiut.
* Vijayanagar Chord Road lake: Converted to Vijaynagar lake
* Jakarayana Kere: Krishna Floor mills
* Tumkur Lake: Land used for Mysore Lamps.
BBMP’s initiative to rejuvenate a total of 144 lakes is already in the pipeline.
The significant large lakes include:
* Bellandur lake spread across 364 hectare area (ha).
* Yelahanka Lake, area: 121.68 ha
* Kalkere lake, area: 75.68 ha
* Doddanekkundi lake, area: 45.29 ha.
* Hulimavu Kere: area: 44.26 ha
The five smaller lakes under the project with less than 1 hectare area include:
* Devarakere: 0.28 ha
* Kariyobbanahalli kere (Yeshwanthpur), 0.31 ha
* Golaratti lake (BEL layout): 0.31 ha
* Halagadevarahalli kere(Govindrajnagar): 0.44 ha
* Srigandadakaval lake (Rajiv Gandhi Nagar): 0.45
Interview(Bharatlal Meena Commissioner, BBMP )
To rejuvenate the dying lakes of the city, what role is the BBMP playing?
Currently, we are doing a brisk revenue survey of the lakes and taking precautions to clear encroachments and fence them for protection. The survey should be completed in the next two to three months. In fact, as and when the lakes are identified, the reports are being sent to us by the department. We will then be cleaning and desilting the lakes that are perishing.
BBMP’s efforts alone may not suffice to help these water bodies. Is the Palike in touch with other civic agencies?
We already have the co-ordinating agency under former chief secretary to the Chief Minister, A Ravindra’s chairmanship to facilitate all the agencies in helping the dying water bodies. We have also enlisted the help of forest department officials in replenishing and preserving the lakes.
The Palike’s lake report seems to show that most lakes being surveyed are around the Bangalore city. What about those which are in the centre of the city and those that have dried up?
Yes, we are mostly looking at lakes around the City. But, those which are identified and within the City have also been noted. We intend to replenish those lakes by providing water and rejuvenate those areas.
But most inlets have been encroached upon by private residents. How do you intend to clear those structures that have already been constructed?
We will try to identify those lake areas that have been encroached upon and clear them. We will also be trying to treat water that is being discharged by houses in the vicinity and push it to the lakes.
That would mean setting up treatment plants near the catchment areas of the lake?
Yes, they will be small structures dependent on the size of the lakes. It won’t be hard to identify them and set them up at the catchment areas.
Storm water drain encroachments: A major lake-killer
Bangaloreans were once caught in the mystery over the drying up of lakes while rains flooded the low-lying areas. But now it is clear that both the issues have their origin in the encroachment of lakes, their catchment areas and storm water drains, as a study by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) reveal.
Encroachment of lakes has become a common thing, but the land sharks have not even spared the storm water drains and catchment areas. Over 50 percent of lakes are drying up due to this and is resulting in urban floodings, according to the study conducted by the Energy and Wetland Studies Research Centre, Centre for Ecological Sciences,IISc.
The study which analysed various lake beds have found that the natural drainage channels and the catchment areas have been encroached by land mafia in connivance with Government machinery.
“The downstream of Nagavara has been encroached. Even the drain connecting the Sankey lake is encroached, A major portion of the Begur lake catchment area has disappeared. It is not one story, but all the City wetlands are facing similar problem,” says Dr T V Ramchandra, Senior Scientist, Energy and Wetland Research Group, CES, IISc.
Pointing out that the water storage capacity of the lakes has decreased in recent years, the study says that even a slight rainfall now leads to water logging due to the encroachment of drains.
The report says that the changes related to flooding has become a routine after 2000. Even a 30 mm rainfall for half an hour will lead to water logging. The connectivity between Yelchenhalli Kere and Madivala, and between Madivala and Bellandur has been lost due to the encroachment.
In the Bellandur- Ulsoor Catchment area, with six lakes of Sankey, Ulsoor, Chalghatta, Chinanagara and Varthur, out of the total 240 Million cubic meter of rainfall yield, only 90 million cubic meter is percolated and 150 million cubic meter overflows, depriving the lake of most of the water. A major portion of the water cannot flow downstream due to disruption of natural drainage.
The story is not much different in Madivala- Varthur Catchment area with 14 lakes. Now, BBMP is trying to redesign the SWDs at a cost of Rs 950 crore for the core city and a whopping 6,600 crore to build new SWDs in the newly added seven City Municipality Council regions.
SCNS and SDM
Glory that was Bangalore
The lakes in the three valleys of Hebbal, Vrushbavathi and Koramangala Chellaghatta valley in the City had earned Bangalore the tag of ‘ The City of Lakes.’ Most of these valleys were built in the 16th century AD by damming natural valley systems and created in such a manner that each of them would harvest rainwater from its catchment area and the surplus water over flows into the next lake in the downstream.
They form a hydrological chain. The monsoon runoff flow of water runs from North to South East as well as to the South West along natural gradient of the land.Most of these lakes were used for drinking water, irrigation and fishing and they have also influenced the micro climate and have rejuvenated the ground water since ages.
The BBMP plans to prevent further encroachment, enhance water quality to check ground water contamination, restore ecological system, recharge ground water, create an urban asset, restore flora/ fauna habitat and provide lung space and provide recreational facilities.
The three-phased programme focusses on demarcation of boundaries, fencing, sewerage diversion to arrest inflow into the lake in the first phase.
JP Nagar residents miffed at delay in underpass
Express News Service
First Published : 14 Sep 2009 04:01:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 14 Sep 2009 07:26:55 AM IST
BANGALORE: The slippery road and footpath at the intersection of 24th main, 15 cross J P Nagar due to the ongoing construction of an underpass has forced senior citizens to remain indoors and for children are often skidding and hurting themselves.
The delay in the construction of the underpass connecting Kanakapura and Bannerghatta has become a cause of concern for residents of this area. There are heaps of mud dumped on either side that has blocked entry of vehicles and also made the roads slippery after every downpour, due to which there has been a rise in cases of pedestrians and motorists skidding and falling.
Residents complain that the BBMP is not taking measures to speed up work on the project.
Some residents have even complained that there was no need for an underpass as the traffic flow was not much and now that they have undertaken the work, they must speed up the work because they are facing a lot of difficulties.
“ Because of the dust, the doors and windows need to be kept closed at all times and the stagnant water at the construction site has become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Health problems especially among children is increasing.
We also face disruption of power, with water supply, sanitation and phone lines getting disconnected” said Dr D B Meundi, a child specialist and a resident.
The underpass work estimated at Rs 23 crore was started in May 2008 and was expected to complete by February, but more than 60 per cent of the work is still incomplete.
Bescom feeder line work hit by component shortage
S Lalitha, Sep 10, Bangalore:
An exclusive feeder line being readied by Bescom for the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to ensure uninterrupted water supply to West and North Bangalore in the event of power disruptions has hit a roadblock.
The BWSSB pumping station at Srigandha Kaval, Sunkadakatte in Bangalore. DH photo
Bescom had proposed the laying of the 4.5 km-line between its Byadarahalli sub station and the Srigandha Kaval pumping station in March this year in the face of the frequent power cuts taking place then. BWSSB had also sanctioned a sum of Rs 30 lakh to Bescom for laying it.
The areas of Nandini Layout and Rajajinagar in Bangalore West and R T Nagar, Malleswaram, Srirampura and its surroundings in Bangalore North were expected to benefit when the line begins functioning.
Shortage of component
A top official overseeing the work had then given an assurance that the work would be completed within a couple of months. Admitting delay in completion of the High Tension (HT) line, Bescom officials said that it was experiencing a shortage of a vital component called ‘Braker,’ which was necessary to complete the laying of the line.
“We had requested Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited some time back for it and since they do not have spares of the same presently, the completion of the line was getting delayed,” said a top official.
The HT line will be equipped with a Rabbit Conductor and it will be able to carry load up to 3,000 KVA. Another official said that they were now exploring alternate arrangements to complete the work. “We are planning to make use of a Ring Main Unit of 11 Kilo Volts capacity, located near the station, to ensure that the job gets completed.”
Officials also assured that it would be completed within 20 days. When completed, this would be the 17th dedicated feeder line to supply electricity to a water pumping station.
Water supply affected
A top BWSSB source said that they did have a problem in supplying water on time in the above specified areas earlier due to the two-hour disruption in power supply which affected pumping of water at the Srigandha Kaval station.
“The feeder line is something we look at as a permanant solution. Right now, it is not causing any problems as there is continuous power supply.” However, if it is not completed soon, we might have big problems when summer strikes, he added.
TZed homes win Platinum award
Chief Minister K Rosaiah with schoolchildren after presenting the Green I Contest certificates at the 7th Green Building Congress on Thursday.
Express News Service
First Published : 11 Sep 2009 03:54:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 11 Sep 2009 10:44:09 AM IST
HYDERABAD: The world’s first ‘multi-dwelling post-construction project’ in Bangalore got due recognition by winning an award at the 7th Green Building Congress which started in Hyderabad on Thursday.
In layman’s language, it means an ecologically friendly apartment complex that has zero emissions, uses no bricks or concrete, no toxic paints, recycles its water and is naturally temperature regulated.
The TZed Homes constructed by Biodiversity Conservation India Limited (BCIL) has won the platinum rating, the Indian Green Building Council’s highest rating for a green building.
‘Platinum’ requires between 60- 80 points on a scale that begins at 0. And Tzed Homes is the first project in the world that has won the award after it was constructed, according to BCIL CEO Chandrashekar Hariharan.
Tzed Homes, located in pensioner’s paradise White Field, is an apartment block spread over and contains 91 apartments. It was completed a year ago. Soil stabilised blocks (hydraulically pressed and sun dried earth) were used in the construction.
“There are no borewells, no chemicals are used for water treatment, we don’t have municipal water supply or sewerage board connections and sewer is not exported outside the building,” said C Hariharan.
So how does the building operate? It uses shallow aquifers, open wells and groundwater recharge systems. Water from flush tanks and baths is recycled through to the garden where it percolates into the soil and recharges the open well. Solid waste is treated for compost or made into gas through biogas digestors. Even the swimming pool (yes there is one) doesn’t use tiles.
“Indians constructed with indigenous knowledge systems for hundreds of years. All we are doing is going back to that technology,” said Hariharan. “Reduction in the use of fossil energy in every form is the need of the hour,” he added.
The homes are built in such a way that the insides are 2-4 degrees Celsius cooler than the outside ambient air temperature.
According to Hariharan, the cost of the houses range from Rs 3,000-3,200 per square feet. There are ‘2 bedders, 3 bedders and 4 bedders’ (2, 3, 4 BHK in other words) and occupancy is at 95 per cent. BCIL is planning to build villas, resorts and more apartment complexes, all ecofriendly of course.
Karnataka seeks early release of WB loan
BANGALORE: Karnataka Government on Friday pushed for early clearance of loans to the tune of $1.175 billion that it has sought from the World Bank to take up various projects in the state.
In a meeting with WB Country Director Roberto Zagha here, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa noted that the WB had sanctioned a loan of $857 million for six state projects.
“Out of this amount, $475 million is yet to be released,'' he said. “Besides, Government of Karnataka has submitted three more projects (relating to water supply and sanitation) worth $700 million'', Mr Yeddyurappa said and sought release of the loan at the earliest.
On the nature of discussions, Zagha told reporters: “We are trying to understand Karnataka's development priorities and see how best we can partner”. He said WB would hold discussions with the state government on loan requirements pertaining to water, hi ghways and rural development projects. Chief Secretary Sudhakar Rao and senior officials of the Finance Department were present at the meeting. - PTI
All about water purifiers
Is your tap water safe or do you need to purify it? Or should you just buy bottled water? How do you decide? Here is a quick guide to water quality and water purifiers.
By Reshmi Chakraborty
08 Sep 2009, Citizen Matters
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Sharad and Sheetal Agarwal, a young couple living in South Bengaluru spend Rs. 500 and above on drinking water every month. They bought a water purifier from a reputed company three years ago but felt it wasn’t safe after frequent gastro problems.
"Our building receives water from tankers mainly and we aren’t really sure of the source and how effective our purifier is, so we felt buying 20 litre Bisleri bottles was a safer option," Sheetal says. The couple plan to acquire a new water purifier but are not sure which system would give them foolproof protection against contamination and water borne diseases. Terms such as activated carbon, reverse osmosis, ozonisation, etc., can also be confusing in this case.
Purified water? Pic: Meera K.
Like the Agarwals, several families in Bangalore wonder what to look for when buying a water purifier that is really effective against chemicals and contaminants than just going by the tall claims of manufacturers. Citizen Matters approached S Ramani of Consumer Association of India, to find out how to buy an effective water purifier for your home. We also got some inputs from India Water Portal, an initiative of Arghyam, an NGO working in the water sector.
Test Your Water
If you really want to be sure of the quality of water you are drinking and be thorough in your pre-buying research, then the first thing to do is to test the water your receive at home, says Ramani. The process isn’t difficult. You can contact water testing labs in Bangalore such as Essen Labs in Malleswaram (080-23341230/1567) and give them two litres of water sample in any clean bottle washed with hot water. They conduct a total of 33 tests to check for chemical, bacterial contaminants and give you the report in 12 working days. The cost works out to about Rs. 993. You could also contact Ion Exchange in Indiranagar or Aqua Diagnostics in Hosur Main Road for the same.
Click here for a list of Karnataka state recognised private labs. India Water Portal has also compiled a list of water quality testing labs in the city. You can find the list here.
Ramani says concerned citizens should "keep the lab test results in mind when shopping for a purifier." He further adds that "there are ads for a portable Water Test Kit, around Rs. 50 per test. (One such possible source is Himedia Laboratories). These kits claim quick results for chlorine, lead, nitrate, nitrite, two pesticides, pH, and total hardness. These also claim to test for bacteria but may require waiting 48 hours. This may be a good test if you are in the habit of buying large water bottles for home use." If you find the tests expensive, Arghyam can do indicative tests for free, post which you can take the samples for lab tests if necessary.
Choosing the right filter
Once you get the test results, find out what is the desirable water quality. According to Arghyam, the common contaminants in Bangalore’s drinking water supply are bacteriological contaminants, nitrate and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). Bacteria is usually found in water from Cauvery and borewell water, while nitrate is mainly found in borewell water. TDS too is found in borewell water supply.
While no bacteria is permitted in drinking water, as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) drinking water specification, the Nitrate permissible limit is 40 parts per million (PPM) and TDS is 500 PPM. According to a report in Down To Earth, a science and environment magazine , a BIS revision started in 2003 introduced limits for 18 pesticides and four disinfection byproducts. However, it is still in the draft stage.
In Bangalore, many people buy Bisleri or Kinley or other branded bottled water for daily use. All packaged drinking waters are to be sold only with ISI certification mark. This scheme is a certification of the processes followed by the manufacturer and checked by BIS. These are to be strictly followed by the manufacturers.
Failure to follow will lead to cancellation of licence. But each and every bottle is not and can not be tested by BIS, says Ramani. Market samples should be tested by Health Department officials according to PFA rules. Ideally, an NGO should take up such studies in the interest of public. And there should be support from the public health departments, BIS and public.
Once you get your water tested, the next best thing is to find out the kind of technology you need to remove contaminants from water. “The water purifier needs to remove undesirable chemicals, materials, and biological contaminants from raw water and make it fit for human consumption. In general, the methods used include physical process such as filtration and sedimentation, biological processes such as slow sand filters or activated sludge, chemical process such as chlorination and the use of radiation such as ultraviolet light," Ramani adds. What the purification process does is reduce the concentration of particulate matter including suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, fungi; and a range of dissolved and particulate material derived from the surfaces that water may have contacted with.
Activated carbon: This is a form of carbon (usually charcoal) that has been processed to make it extremely porous providing large surface area for adsorption or chemical reactions. Activated carbon filters use granular carbon or blocks of powdered carbon that can remove pesticides, chlorine, and other chemicals found in tap water. It is a more commonly used technology and according to the third edition of WHO's guidelines for drinking water quality, technologies such as activated carbon and ozonation are most suitable for removing pesticides and other organic chemicals, says a report in Down To Earth.
Reverse Osmosis (RO): This is basically filtration at molecular level. Mechanical pressure is applied to an impure solution to force pure water through a semi-permeable membrane. It is reverse because under normal osmosis, pure water moves into the contaminated water without any pressure. Reverse osmosis is theoretically the most thorough method of large scale water purification available, although perfect semi-permeable membranes are difficult to create. Unless membranes are well-maintained, algae and other life forms can colonise the membranes. Secondly, this is a very slow process. RO is required in your home if the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) exceeds the upper limit, according to the India Water portal. RO is also suggested if you live close to an industrial area and your water may possibly be contaminated with sewage, pesticides, heavy metals, industrial effluents.
SOLUTIONS TO KEEP IN MIND
Always read the manufacturer's claims carefully: Even within a specific brand, contaminant removal claims may vary. Match the filter to the contaminants in your water.
Consider total long-term costs. Filter replacement can cost low or set you back Rs 3000 or more. So find out how frequent changing candles or membranes and maintenance is. RO filters for instance cost upwards of Rs. 8000 and need to cleaned and examined regularly. The pre-filters and RO membranes also need to be changed. It is also said to lead to a lot of wastage of water.
Life span of system: Theoretically, the system should work as long as proper maintenance is done. There are rarely any moving parts for wear and tear. The additional expense need to be kept in mind is the Annual Maintenance Cost, the cost of consumables like filter candles, cartridges should be included.
Good old boiling: If you find that buying a water purifier with the requisiste levels of purification costs too much and you cannot afford to spend on packaged drinking water as well, then a good measure is to get an inexpensive system with simple filtration and boil that water, says Ramani.
Rain Water Harvesting (RWH): As the India Water Portal points out, RWH is a useful permanent solution if your source of water has unacceptably high levels of TDS or hardness. More information here and here.
Ultra Violet Purification: This method is used mainly for disinfection and to make water containing any disease causing micro-organisms safe for drinking. Passing ultra violet rays makes these micro-organisms unable to reproduce. Usage of iodine, chlorine and plain and simple boiling water also achieve similar effect, Ramani adds.
Ion-exchange filters: This is used to remove hardness in water. Ion-exchange filters can remove iron, lead, copper, barium, radium and nitrates and are usually integrated into the water purifier along with other methods.
According to Ramani, the main purification techniques are boiling, filtration, disinfection, pH adjustment and turning hard water soft using ion exchange resins. The water purifiers available in the market usually integrate some of these techniques. Most of these mainly start with filtering to remove the dissolved solids and use Ultra Violet (UV) rays to reduce the threat of bacteria.
Testing your purifier
Most manufacturers come up with tall claims about their product. How true are these? For example, we often hear in ads that Product X has been certified by the Indian Medical Association. How true are most of these claims?
According to an article in Down To Earth, the Centre for Science and Environment, Delhi, checked a certificate issued by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) to popular water purifier manufacturer Eureka Forbes in 2004 and found out that the IMA does not really test the purifier before issuing the certificate.
The standards for drinking water quality are typically set by governments or by international standards, says Ramani. “These standards will typically set minimum and maximum concentrations of contaminants for the use that is to be made of the water.” he adds. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) does have standards for some water purifiers such as UV filters and candle filters. But we understand that these standards were developed between 1979 and 1999, when it was believed that water purifiers were meant to remove only bacteriological contaminants. Besides, these standards only apply to water that is free of chemicals and suspended matter. The sought after RO systems are also beyond the pale of standards.
Once revered, now neglected roads of Bangalore
A pothole near Ulsoor Road in Bangalore.
Y Maheswara Reddy
First Published : 07 Sep 2009 04:15:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 07 Sep 2009 08:03:32 AM IST
BANGALORE: Airports can be such great levellers. Until the time the HAL Airport was functioning, Cubbon and Dickenson Roads’ claim to fame was them being the most wellmaintained roads of Bangalore.
As soon as the semblance of a pothole was visible, it was plugged because the roads were used by the high and mighty on a daily basis. However, ever since the Bengaluru International Airport started flying
operations, these roads were no longer deemed important and, thus, the potholes on the roads.
If the number of potholes on Cubbon Road, between the signal near the Army School and Manipal Centre, is any indication, the road is no longer safe for two-wheeler riders to use in the night during monsoon.
What’s more, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) employees regularly forget to fill the pits properly whenever they dig the road to plug water leakages. One need not look beyond the pit dug by the BWSSB near Adiga’s Hotel on Dickenson Road to imagine the officials’ apathy.
The pit is big enough for a two-wheeler to get stuck.
If you go a little further on Ulsoor Road, the road between Ulsoor Gurudwara and Murphy Road junctions is another potential disaster zone. The street lights that dot the road are never switched on during the night.
It may be recalled that P R Ramesh, who was the Mayor of Bangalore City Corporation in 2004, wanted to impose a penalty of Rs 1,000 on the engineers concerned for every unfilled pothole found in his jurisdiction within BCC limits. Before his decision could deliver decisive results the civic body’s term came to an end. It has been three years and no mayor or corporator has heard the public's grievances on civic amenities.
When contacted Subhan, Assistant Executive Engineer of Shivajinagar Division had promised to fill the potholes immediately.
However, M V Tavane, Assistant Executive Engineer of C V Ramannagar Division, has expressed his helplessness.
“I had requested the traffic police to co-operate with the BCC to fill the potholes. They are asking us to fill the potholes during the night. If they cooperate with us during daytime it will be easy for us to fill the potholes.” Meanwhile, Bharatlal Meena, Commissioner, Bangalore City Corporation has promised to direct the authorities concerned to fill the potholes.
Even the most optimistic would find this promise hollow. At least the infamous precedences suggest so.
Reservoir not shining in platinum jubilee year
A picture from BWSSB archives shows Sir M Visvesvaraya (centre) inspecting construction works of the dam
First Published : 05 Sep 2009 04:49:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 06 Sep 2009 08:53:18 AM IST
: In parched and expanding Bangalore, year 2008 passed by unsung.
Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) literally fought shy of it. It was the platinum jubilee of the Thippagondanahalli (TG Halli) reservoir, but as officials put it, what was the cause for jubilation when the tank's source itself is sapped? It was also a strange coincidence that the jubilee year of one of the city’s vital water sources followed the expansion of the city’s administrative area as Greater Bangalore in 2007.
Chamarajasagar otherwise known as TG Halli Reservoir was built across River Arkavathy in 1933. It originally served the city 135 mld (million litres of water per day). The current pumping capacity is just about 60 mld to 70 mld. These days, the average water level in the 74-foot storage tank is just about 30 feet. It was learnt to be 26 feet on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a Rs 130-crore project on rehabilitation of the treatment plant and pumping station has also hit a roadblock. “Justifying the investment on revival, when there has been a progressive decrease in the flow of water to the reservoir, is difficult,” a BWSSB chief engineer told Express noting that the question came up when the project was listed for funds from the JNNURM (Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission).
At 101 km, it’s no walk in the park
Save Arkavathy River Vedike members started their four-day march on Thursday from Nandi Hills.
Express News Service
First Published : 04 Sep 2009 04:48:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 04 Sep 2009 12:15:11 PM IST
BANGALORE: As the morning mist cleared itself from over the Nandi Hill range on Thursday, a select group of elected representatives, environmental activists, locals and some seers embarked on a 101 km-long padayatra to Thippegondanahalli. This is no ordinary journey. They hope that this endeavour of theirs triggers a movement that will eventually see River Arkavathy gain the bounce back on its course.
At the small pond-like water spot— about 3,800 metres above sea level — marking the origin point of the river, environmentalist Yellappa Reddy specified the way for that hope. “The original ‘gokattas’ and ‘kalyanis’ (drinking water tanks for livestock and tanks for irrigation) that provided for the fullness in the streams of Arkavathy have to be restored,” he said.
Bangalore city area representative and Minister Suresh Kumar corresponded saying that the padayatris will appeal for “shramadhana” by the locals for “clearing the feeder channels” of the river. Yellappa Reddy observed that sand mining and deforestation have completely destroyed the “right of water way” in the Nandi Hill range and noted that the range is the birthplace of not just River Arkavathy but also four others— Papagni, South Pennar, North Pennar and Palar.
Rule to bite
An inter-ministerial Arkavathy Rejuvenation Committee will be set up soon, Suresh Kumar said and noted that government will see to the strict enforcement of the 2003 notification, which bars construction and certain other activities within a kilometre radius of the T G Halli Tank catchment area.
The rejuvenation efforts must restore the Hessarghatta and Thippegondanahalli tanks to their original capacity, daily water supply of 137 million litres and 180 million litres respectively, he said.
Led by Yelahanka MLA Vishwanath, a few hundred activists and locals will traverse Doddaballapur, Hessarghatta and Sondekoppa before winding at T G Halli on September 6. In a symbolic gesture ‘kalashas’ with water from the origin spot are being carried by the padayatris.
Representatives from Malur, Chakkare Bhavi, Shivagange and Bettahalli Mutts besides religious representatives from River Cauvery’s origin- Talacuavery in Kodagu were among those who were present on the occasion. Arkavathy is a tributary of Cauvery.
A team of BJP legislators led by Yelahanka MLA S R Vishwanath will undertake a four-day padayatra from September 3 along the course of
Arkavathy river to propagate the importance of reviving it.
About 300 people, including pontiffs of various mutts, will also participate in the 190-km-long padayatra under the banner of Arkavathy River Conservation Forum. The padayatra, which will begin from Nandi Hills, where the river originates, will culminate at the confluence (Sangama) near Srirangapatna in Mandya.
"Our basic idea is to create awareness and make people realize the significance of reviving the river,'' Vishwanath told reporters.
The government has already done its bit and sanctioned Rs 2 crore for undertaking a survey to revive the river. "Now, it's for the people to support the cause,'' he added.
The river, which is one of the main sources of drinking water supply to Bangalore, started drying up in 1984 due to neglect.
HC quashes KWSSB chairman’s dismissal
Express News Service
First Published : 01 Sep 2009 05:16:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Sep 2009 08:39:08 AM IST
BANGALORE: The High Court, on Monday quashed the government order of dismissing D Srinivasa Reddy, Chairman of Karnataka Water Supply and Sewerage Board (KWSSB) on corruption charges.
While allowing the petition filed by Srinivasa Reddy, Justice Ananda Byrareddy quashed the government order dated December 17, 2009.
Before dismissing the petitioner, government should follow rules and procedures. The government should have given an opportunity to the petitioner to defend himself, the court observed.
It may be recalled that the Lokayukta on November 24, 2007 had raided the house and office of Reddy and recovered disproportionate assets. Based on the Lokayukta’s report the government had dismissed Reddy from service.
BISWA microfinance raises Rs. 10 crore from SNS Water Fund
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SNS managementMicrofinance Focus, Aug. 27, 2009: Orissa-based BISWA (Bharat Integrated Social Welfare Agency) has raised Rs 10 crore from SNS Water Fund, an initiative by the Dutch-based SNS Group, to provide microfinance loans for installation of individual household toilet and drinking water.
Mr K.C. Malick, Chairman of the Sambalpur-based microfinance institution informed Microfinance Focus that the target groups will be both urban slum-dwellers and rural poor. The loans will be distributed mainly to provide water and sanitation through BISWA instead of making them dependent on government projects, he said.
“The provision of safe drinking water with a toilet at the household will make the people reduce their vulnerability to health hazards and in turn reduce their expenditure on health care, the saving of which will increase their capital creation and will ultimately help in poverty reduction on a sustainable basis in a business model rather than depnding upon the government.” said Mr Malick.
The amount will help the MFI to provide one million toilets with safe drinking water to the peopole and create one million employment opportunities by March 31, 2011, said Mr Malick. BISWA’s future plans include distributing Rs.5,600 millioin in microFinance during 2009-10 in Orissa and neighbouring Chattisgarh and Bihar where it is working.
The SNS Water Fund was created in 2005 by the SNS REAAL Group to invest in international water projects in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, targeting drinking water supply, sanitation, water purification and irrigation.
Earlier this month, Bangalore-based Grameen Koota raised Rs. 1.34 crore from Water.Org for a similar project in Tumkur, Karanataka early this month.
4 squads to check CMC sanitary connections
S Lalitha, Bangalore, August 28, DH News Service:
To regularise sanitary connections in houses and commercial establishments in the former City Municipal Council (CMC) areas, the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) has recently constituted four squads to maintain vigil over them.
Twelve officials have been entrusted with the inspection work. They will regularly monitor buildings in Yelahanka, Dasarahalli, Byatarayanapura, Bommanahalli, Rajarajeshwarinagar, Mahadevapura and Krishnarajapuram and issue notices to the residents to regularise sanitary connections.
As the areas have been brought under BBMP fold, the connections need to be approved by BWSSB. This makes the issue of unauthorised sanitary connections an acute one there. “The squad, which was constituted on August 14, will conduct surprise checks and direct the public to opt for regularisation of sanitary connections. It is mandatory for the owner to apply for a regular, new connection to BWSSB,” he said.
No penalty was being levied presently. Those opting for connections will have to pay only the pro-rata charge the one-time payment collected for new water and sanitary connections, he added. This was apart from the charges that need to be paid for inspection of premises following the submission of application, that ranges between Rs 2,000 and Rs 5,000 depending on the dimensions of the site. The pro-rata charges run as follows: Multistoried apartments are charged Rs 200 per square metre while commercial establishments are charged Rs 300 per square metre. In case of houses measuring 40x60 feet or below, with ground floor or with a first floor, a minimum charge of Rs 600 is levied. “This is calculated in terms of Rs 120 for a water discharge point, like tap, washbasin, etc. and any house is expected to have five discharge points,” the official said.
The move is expected to garner additional revenue running into crores for the BWSSB. “It will take us 45 days to make an assessment of the exact number of unauthorised connections and arrive at the amount the Board would earn,” he observed. The houses that need to regularise their connections are very high in Kaggadaspura and Nagwarpalya presently.
While some of the connections have been attached to the sewerage pipelines of the BWSSB, some pipes let out waste water into tanks or open drains, causing tremendous pollution to the environment. “When regular connections are sought for, all the pipelines will be connected to the BWSSB main sewerage lines,” the source said.
The First Additional Bangalore District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) to return Rs. 5,000 to a consumer for not clearly mentioning why it had collected the said amount from the consumer.
The consumer, V.K. Jain, a resident of Peenya Industrial Estate, reported to the police that his water meter was stolen on March 8 this year. He then submitted an application to the BWSSB’s Assistant Executive Engineer, W-4 Sub-Division, for a new water meter. However, he was made to deposit Rs. 5,000 as penalty for the theft of the water meter in addition to Rs. 850 for a new meter and Rs. 150 towards fixing charges.
Mr. Jain filed a complaint before the forum and questioned the BWSSB’s action in collecting the penalty. The members of the forum - H.M. Bajentri, C.V. Rajamma and Keshav Rao Patil - found that the receipt issued by the BWSSB mentioned Rs. 5,000 under the head “others”. The members observed that “No proper particulars have been furnished as to why Rs. 5,000 was charged”.
Without disclosing the particulars, the BWSSB was not entitled to collect the amount. Terming this as “unfair trade practice”, the forum in its August 4 order directed the BWSSB to return Rs. 5,000 with six per cent interest to Mr. Jain. The BWSSB officials did not appear before the forum.
Rs 5 lakh compensation for driver’s kin
Bangalore, August 25,DH News Service:
The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission has directed the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and the State to pay compensation of Rs five lakh to the dependents of an autorickshaw driver, who lost his life due to asphyxiation in a 30-foot deep manhole in Yelahanka, nine months ago.
Sreenivas (35) lost his life on 14 November 2008, when he tried to rescue two labourers, Ambarish and Narasimha Murthy, who had fallen into the manhole.
In an order issued by Commission Chairperson Dr Justice S R Nayak to the Chairman, BWSSB, and the Labour Commissioner, the Commissioner said, “It is just and fair for the Government of Karnataka and/or the BWSSB to pay a sum of Rs 5,00,000 to the dependents of Srinivas.”
The order has been issued by the commissioner under Section 18 (e) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
The order also called upon the State Government, Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Municipal Corporations and Municipalities, to implement the IPD Salappa Committee Report on improvement of living and working conditions of sweepers and scavengers.
The loss in Karnataka on account of floods and deficit rainfall has been estimated at Rs 1,387 crore worth in the current kharif season. Crops such as paddy and pulses and commercial crops such as sugarcane and tobacco have been withered following drought and excess rain in some districts of the state. Crops such as paddy, jowar, bajra and pulses like green gram and black gram are most affected crops.
The crop loss due to floods and drought is together estimated to be Rs 1,387 crore during the 2009-10 Kharif season, according to officials in the agriculture and revenue department. The drought has damaged Rs 871 crore worth of crop, while excess rain have affected Rs 516 crore of both agricultural and horticultural crops in the state, they said.
A central team visited several drought prone districts of the State on Tuesday to study the drought situation. The team would meet the Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday. The team is expected to submit the report on the drought in the State to the Centre in 10 days time.
The team, including joint director of the Central Agriculture and Cooperative Department GG Thomson and director of Oil Seeds Development Directorate Gurumukhi was welcomed by Gulbarga Deputy Commissioner KS Satyamurthy and chief executive officer of Gulbarga zilla panchayat Anbukumar. The team visited the drought affected villages of Afzalpur and Jewargi taluks on Tuesday and arrived in Bangalore in the evening evening to meet the state level officials on Wednesday.
Before arriving at Gulbarga, the team visited Markal and Janawada villages of Bidar taluk, Santpur, Ladha, Jonnikeri and Tegampur of Aurad taluk and some villages of Bhalki taluk on Monday.
Speaking at Bidar, Thomson said all the panels that visited different parts of Karnataka would hold meeting after reaching New Delhi to consolidate the report and would submit it to the Union government.
As there were no rains in Gulbarga from June 19 to August 14, crops like green gram and urad, were completely destroyed and due to non receipt of rains, only 56 per cent of agriculture land has been cultivated. Of this also, most of the crops were damaged due to failure of monsoon.
Another two-member team comprising A.K. Raina, Joint Director, Department of Finance (Accounts and Expenditure), and R.C. Mishra, Assistant Commissioner, Department of Animal Husbandry visited Halvarthi and Haligera villages in Koppal and Kuknur and Vangera villages in Yelburga, Hiremannapur and Tawargera villages in Kustagi taluk today. The team assessed the loss in maize crop which is severely affected due to drought and examined the arrangements for augmenting drinking water supply and fodder in these villages.
The State has sought a central assistance of Rs 394 crore and Rs 317 crore to tackle both drought and floods, respectively, in the state.
The impact of drought has been severe in the state as 16,00,000 hectare of crop area has suffered due to paucity of water, while excess rain have affected 1,34,926 hectare of agricultural crops and 23,000 hectare of horticultural crops.
Over 10,000 hectare of paddy area has suffered badly due to heavy rain and drought. The state has planted paddy in 7.05 lakh hectare, below the governments target of 10.50 lakh hectare, according to official data.
Survey to map socio-economic profile of urban fa
Express News Service
First Published : 25 Aug 2009 07:41:31 AM IST
Last Updated :
BANGALORE: The urban development ministry would take up a survey to prepare a socio-economic profile of urban families.
Minister for Municipal Administration Balachandra Jarakiholi on Monday said that the survey would be conducted in all the 222 urban local bodies of the state. It would mainly focus on educational and employment details of urban families so that the government got an idea about the beneficiaries of various schemes, the minister said.
There were about 40.5 lakh families residing in urban areas of Karnataka, the Minister said, adding that the grants under the special component programme for SCs and STs had been increased to 22.75 per cent from the existing 18 per cent. With this, all ULBs in the state would get funds in the range of Rs 60 crore to Rs 65 crore, Jarakiholi informed.
Kundapur Town Municipality had bagged the prestigious National Water Award for its efficient water supply management and collection of water taxes. The Corporations
Urban renewal mission plagued by delays, cost overruns: study
23 August 2009 | Mumbai
This is one of several articles spotlighting the findings of a BIC commissioned study by Lalitha Kamath and Vinay Baindur. Findings reveal how India's urban poor are meted out injustice as local needs are left unaddressed.
Source: The Hindu
By: Siddhesh Inamdar
Mumbai: The much-touted Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) received flak from a panel of eminent economists and researchers here on Friday for its dismal record of merely 10 per cent completed projects.
The panel observed that the Union government’s Rs. 1,25,000-crore flagship urban development programme, which promotes Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) for financing infrastructure in 63 cities, was plagued by tremendous delays and cost overruns.
These were the findings of a two-year study commissioned by the Bank Information Centre, a non-governmental organisation that partners with civil society in developing countries to influence international financial institutions (World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc.) to promote socio-economic justice.
The study observed that the policy reforms under the JNNURM (repealing the Urban Land Ceiling Act, for instance) were based on the recommendations of these international banks. The resultant promotion to private financing of urban infrastructure “hollowed out urban local governments” and meted out injustice to the urban poor by not addressing local needs, it said.
This was explained with an example by urban planner Dr. Lalitha Kamath, co-author of the report that was released. “Under the Greater Bangalore Water Supply and Sanitation Project, the beneficiaries were made to bear the capital cost. That is, they had to pay for the cost of even laying the pipes,” she said. “The beneficiaries thus contributed 35 per cent of the project’s cost. Despite this, people who paid up in 2005 haven’t got water connections yet.”
The other co-author Vinay Baindur, researcher and activist on urban issues, said that the JNNURM thus failed to provide for the basic needs of the urban poor while focusing on “big ticket” infrastructure projects, as the emphasis remained on attracting private financing.
He added that despite the JNNURM’s limited success, the Centre decided to take an additional loan of Rs. 25,000 crore from the World Bank for Phase 1 and proposed to launch Phase 2 for all towns having a population of 5 to 10 lakh.
The study observed that the current model diluted the role for local, popularly elected governments, instead creating parallel bureaucratic structures to manage infrastructure projects financed by international financial institutions.
No role model
Chief economist of the Aditya Birla Group Dr. Ajit Ranade, who released the report said, “We don’t have any role models [from developing countries] to replicate as we try to figure out how to manage a city with a 20 million population.” Though the job was difficult, infrastructure was a public good and so had to be developed through public money.
He said he was unconvinced about the insufficiency of public money to develop infrastructure, given that the national budget was to the tune of Rs. 10 lakh crore. “I know there is a huge fiscal deficit, but the problem lies elsewhere,” he said.
However, he said that he did not advocate doing away with international banks. “In the absence of international governance, though, it becomes necessary to scrutinise the working of these institutions.”
Reengineering Urban Infrastructure: How the World Bank and Asian Development Bank Shape Urban Infrastructure Finance in India, by Lalitha Kamath and Vinay Baindur, Bank Information Center, August 2009 (PDF 490 KB)
What does it take to save thousands of litres of rainwater? A meagre Rs
A Bangalorean has de-bunked politicians' theory that one needs to go to other states to study implementation of rainwater harvesting. M Rajamurthi, an LIC agent, has created a unique system at his house. And his guide was the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).
After two to three trials, he was successful in making a model that saved him over 10,000 litres of rainwater this monsoon.
Rajamurthi and his family were using a borewell and Cauvery water for their needs before he was struck with the idea of creating a rainwater system for himself. "I was shocked that ministers were going abroad to learn this. It is not a complicated one. All I spent on the pipes and filters was Rs 400 and that has saved me so much of water," he said.
What Rajamurthi did was to pick up an anniversary book of BWSSB that had several models of rainwater systems. He read the guidelines in detail and tried implementing it. The first model did not work. On a second trial, he got it right.
"I used two kinds of filters -- a 150 micron screen tea filter and a bucket tea filter. The water slopes from the terrace into a pipe and comes down to the filter. The solid residue settles at the bottom of the filter and water gushes up into the bucket where it filters again. The filtered water then comes down through a pipe and is collected in the underground sump," explained Rajamurthi.
For drinking purposes, 25 members residing in the three-storeyed house are still using Cauvery water, but Rajamurthi says rainwater has been purified enough to be used for drinking as well. The terrace area is 30 by 40 feet, which fulfils the description specified by BWSSB to come under mandatory rainwater systems.
BWSSB chairman P B Ramamurthy will visit Rajamurthi's house soon to see the model. On his part, Rajamurthi plans to start an NGO by employing plumbers who will be trained in making the system. Then he will fix it at other houses for Rs 100. "I have already fixed the system at four other houses and some houses at Bidadi and Ramanagaram,'' he said.
While developers have come to accept it as a fact that affordable housing holds the key to realty revival, there exists a huge gap between the buyers’ preferences and project locations, which grossly lack the required physical infrastructure, according to a report.
However, the much tom-tommed mantra of affordable housing may help realty firms in Kolkata and Pune more than their counterparts in Mumbai, National Capital Region (NCR) and Bangalore. Reason? Kolkata and Pune offer the maximum number of affordable locations than the other three, a research report by property consultancy Knight Frank says.
There is a flip side to it, though. The report indicates a sizeable gap between the preferences of the buyers and the projects under development. Although a number of affordable projects have been announced, the locations do not have adequate infrastructure, which is of utmost importance for the proper development and successful implementation of affordable housing.
Knight Frank’s research report on ‘Affordable Housing’ was based on what they called "requirements of the Indian middle class" with household income of Rs 3 lakh-Rs 10 lakh per annum across 1,400 households in seven cities — Mumbai, NCR, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune.
The report reveals that good connectivity to workplaces is the most important factor influencing buyer’s decision in selecting the location of their residence. This is followed by infrastructure and potential for future development. Besides, customers are more concerned to know whether the project has uninterrupted water supply and sufficient power back-up and effective security systems than frills such as gymnasium, swimming pool and the like.
The affordable housing segment may be fraught with challenges, but it surely offers developers an opportunity to tap a huge realty market that is estimated to cross over Rs 300,000 crore by 2011. One can gauge how mammoth the scope in this sector is from the fact that more than 2 million housing units would be required by 2011.
Mumbai, with a market size of Rs 647,00 crore, has a housing requirement of 404,673 units, which would need 324 million sq ft. Similarly, NCR requires 547,434 units that would be spread over 438 million sq ft. It market size is expected to grow to Rs 876,00 crore. On the other hand, Bangalore’s 327,694 units would come up over 262 million sq ft and its market size would reach Rs 524,00 crore by 2011.
Experts say that the size and value of units varies from city to city. “In larger cities such as Mumbai, units measuring 1,000-500 square feet can by no yardstick be considered 'affordable',” says Anuj Puri, chairman & country head, Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, a property consultancy.
On the outskirts of Kolkata, however, housing units of 450-600 sq ft can be had for Rs 5.5 lakh. Same is the case with Pune, where a small-sized, 2BHK house on the peripherals can come at Rs 6 lakh.
According to the report, while those earning between Rs 3 and 10 lakh would drive demand, the largest contributor to this market size is expected to be the group with an annual income of Rs 3-6 lakh. Interestingly, buyers in the Rs 8-10 lakh income group quoted a more conservative budget for a house than those in the Rs 3-6 lakh group.
This reflects the extremes on which higher income group consumers operate during boom and recession periods. The report also throws up interesting facts about the expected timelines of deals. Over 32 per cent of these middle-class, potential buyers plan to purchase a residential property in 6-12 months while 7 per cent of them would
like to own a dwelling unit in the next 6 months.
Jayakar Jerome, managing director of Bangalore-based Provident Housing, the affordable housing wing of Puravankara Projects, says, "Our objective is to cater to the middle class buyers who just cannot afford homes that are available in the market today. Primarily, we are looking to tap government employees, young working couples as well as those who are retiring soon.”
Bangalore: 16 Rivers in 3 Coastal Districts to be Interlinked
From Our Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network
BANGALORE, Aug 20: Vehemently opposing the proposed diversion scheme of Netravathy river, the lifeline of coastal Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka Coastal Development Authority Chairman B Nagaraj Shetty said an ambitious plan for interlinking all the 16 rivers in three costal districts was under preparation.
The former fisheries minister felt the Nethravathy diversion scheme, mooted for providing drinking water supply and irrigation facilities to drought prone districts such as Kolar, Tumkur, Chikballapur and Bangalore Rural districts, would be detrimental to the coastal region.
However, he said the Authority would study reports submitted by A G Kodgi, K C Reddy and G S Paramashivaiah on interlinking of rivers and diversion of the Netravathi river project.
``We will come out with a possible and feasible report on interlinking of 13 rivers of Dakshina Kannada, Udupi districts and three rivers of Uttara Kannada district,’’he said.
Shetty also promised to hold consultations with irrigation experts on the issue and prepare a report in a year.
Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu had submitted a report on interlinking of rivers to the then Vajapayee government, he said.
Asked about the investment required for interlining of rivers in coastal districts, the former minister said the A G Kodgi report, which was submitted to the State government about four years ago had estimated the cost to be around Rs 6,000 crore.
With the escalation of costs of all material, Shetty said the cost might be in the region of Rs 10,000 crore for taking up the project
Interlinking of rivers would reduce flow water into the sea as well as waste of water. The project would also help setting up of hydro-power plants and promoting fishing activity in the coastal region.
He felt the Netravathi river diversion project as "unscientific" and said the people of the costal districts have been opposing it since it would reduce water flow to the region.
An expert committee headed by Paramashivaiah submitted the report in 2001 on "A Scheme for Gravity Diversion of Netravathi River to the Drought Affected Regions of Karnataka."
The Hyderabad-based National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) has prepared satellite survey maps of the command area. The Netravathi diversion project is intended to divert water from the rain-fed west-flowing Netravathi towards east.
According to the plan, dams would be built across nine tributaries of the Netravathi.
It may be recalled that the Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, Dr D Veerendra Heggade, has been one the most prominent critics of the Nethravathy diversion scheme as being ``most unscientific and not acceptable to the people of the coastal region.’
BANGALORE: In our ongoing 100 day series, we are looking at the government effort to improve urban infrastructure. And here's an example from India’s IT capital, Bangalore. The city is powering its way out of its energy problems with the BJP-led state government getting serious on tapping solar energy. After making it compulsory for new buildings to use solar water heaters, the government now plans to install solar panels in major state buildings and public utilities.
After spending days and nights in the dark, power-starved Bangalore is now looking up to the sun to make-up for the energy shortfall in the city. It is now the top city in the country with usage of 60% of household and industrial units using solar water heaters. Experts say Bangalore is clearly leading the way in solar power adoption but the government needs to incentivise it further.
According to environmentalist S Vishwanath, Bangalore has the single largest application of solar water heaters. Though on the solar cooker and photovoltaic it's a bit behind... But it can ratchet it up. What the govt needs to do is to incentivise the R&D aspect of photovoltaic, solar water heaters and cookers plus to build capacity to train people and upgrade their skills and give economic incentives.
Currently facing a shortage of 300-500 MW, Bangalore bears the brunt of power cuts every summer.
Under the recently announced solar city project, the state government is now planning to install photovoltaic panels with a capacity of 2-5 KW on rooftops of over 10,000 houses. Power generated by these units will be used for energy requirements of the locality and the rest will be pumped to the State grid.
The state is also proposing solar power to operate street lights, drinking water supply and in government buildings.
The state electricity board has also restricted the supply for billboards from unlimited to 2-3 KW since April this year. There is also a proposal to power streetlights and park lights with solar panels.
Shivanandamurthy from the Karnataka Renewable Energy Department says Bangalore's power problems might soon be a thing of the past if solar energy sees widespread adoption.
H G Shivanandamurthy, MD, KREDL, said: "We are saving 10-12% due to solar water heaters, solar lights, etc.. We are projecting it to go up to 20 percent.
Bangalore is one of the four cities in Karnataka which is working towards sourcing 10 percent of its energy needs from solar power. Even a 7 to 10 percent dependency on solar power would mean huge power savings for Bangaloreans and ensure they don’t go powerless.
New areas under BBMP thirst for treated water
First Published : 20 Aug 2009 04:44:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 20 Aug 2009 10:03:59 AM IST
BANGALORE: People living in areas newly integrated to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) are at a greater risk to water-borne diseases, as untreated water is being supplied to many such places.
Places like Suknadhatte, Luggere, Svathantra Yodhara Nagara, Shivapura and parts of Peenya are receiving water that is neither treated nor chlorinated.
The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is not in a position to supply treated Cauvery water to these areas and hence is supplying water from its 5,000-odd borewells.
Moreover, waterlogging is rampant in these newly-added areas as even basic drainage facilities are not avaiable. There is even a possibility of drainage water contaminating the borewells that are used to supply drinking water in these places.
In some areas like Dodda Nekkundi, Ramamurthynagar, Kothnur, Hegde Nagar, Panathur, Varthur, Bellandur, Bhadrappa Layout, Byatrayanpura, Sarakki-Puttenahalli, Bijnapura and Mangammanapalya water stagnates for days after it rains.
Water expert Captain Raja Rao, says, “There is a high risk of mosquitoe-borne diseases like malaria, dengue and chikungunya spreading in these areas when it rains, as the stagnant water provides congenial breeding ground for mosquitos.’’ According to Dr P A Shankar, Technical Director of Filtex Technologies Pvt Ltd, “Bacteria, viruses and protozoa cysts that cause water borne diseases spread with the flow of water during rainfall and cause diseases like jaundice, cholera, different sorts of flu, hepatitis, typhoid, and gastroenteritis, among others.
Some of these diseases can be fatal if not treated in time.’’ A senior BWSSB official said, “ At present we are supplying borewell water to most of the newly added areas. It is difficult to treat the water supplied to all these areas as we do not have adequate resources or reach. We are trying to treat the water wherever it is needed after getting it tested in our laboratory.’’ Another BBMP official said, ‘’We are carrying out fogging and spraying activities to check the growth of mosquitoes in the newly added areas. It will take sometime to provide drainage facilities in these places.’’
Grameen Koota venturing into Water Credit, gets Rs. 1.34 cr
* Wednesday, August 19, 2009, 16:33
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By Naagesh, N.
Microfinance Focus, Aug. 19, 2009: Kansas-based WaterPartners has agreed to provide Rs 1.34 crore to Grameen Koota, a Bangalore-based microfinance institution with presence in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
The project, to be implemented in Tumkur district of Karnataka, aims to provide individual water connection and sanitary facility provision and create awareness about the hygiene in slums and rural areas, especially among the rural women.
“The community members have to wait hours for the water supply and thus, lose portion of their daily income. Their time is wasted in water collection at public stand posts. Though this is the reality in many villages, through this program we will address the unproportionate time spent on collecting drinking water by families from lower income groups,” said Asha Rani, Project Manager of New Initiatives, Grameen Koota. The project will be completed by May 2011.
“Water, Sanitation and hygiene are inter-related. The project will have a hoslistic approach in bringing about change in the water supply and sanitary habits of the people and in improving the quality of life in rural areas. Microfinance has unique opportunity to link with such services in a sustaible manner,” said Suresh K. Krishna, Managing Director of Grammen Koota, which has 265,000 clients across 80 branches in Karnataka and Maharashtra.
“WaterCredit Initiatives is one of the successfully demonstrated models in the field of micro-finance by our partner organisations where the repayment rate is successful like that of income generation loans. We would like to expand our projects to potential experienced MFIs so that more number of people could get access to improved water facilities and sanitation,” said WaterPartners Country Director in India S. Damodaran.
WaterPartners, founded in Kansas City in 1990 by Gary White, helps communities in South Asia, Central America and Africa gain access to safe water and sanitation through grants and micro-credit financing. Recently, the H2O Africa Foundation, a non-profit body has joined WaterPartners to create Water.org, a new organization.
BWSSB plans mega water treatment plant
N R Madhusudhan
First Published : 18 Aug 2009 04:40:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 18 Aug 2009 08:11:23 AM IST
BANGALORE: Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) will construct the country’s second biggest water treatment plant at Torekadanahalli (TK Halli) to supply drinking water to the city under Cauvery IV stage II phase project.
BWSSB will be supplying 500 million litres per day (MLD) under Cauvery IV stage II phase and the water treatment plant will have a capacity to purify 500 MLD of water. Delhi Jal Board has constructed three water treatment plants of 550 million litres capacity.
Raw water from Cauvery river will be pumped from Shiva Anicut to TK Halli, which is at a distance of 18.5 km, through open channel and steel pipeline. The water will be purified and treated at TK Halli and will be pumped to the city in three phases, after treatment.
Nine working pumps and five standby pumps of high pumping capacity will be installed at TK Halli, Harohalli and Tataguni to pump water to the city, which is 98 km away from TK Halli. These pumps will be regulated with the supervisory control and data acquisition system.
The water will be pumped to the city in a steel pipeline of diameter 2700 millimetre and the water will be directed to six different ground level reservoirs (GLR) that are to be constructed at Jambu Savari Dinne, Uttarahalli, Parappana Agrahara, Gandhi Krishi Vignan Kendra, OMBR and Hudi.
These GLRs will have a collective storing capacity of 147 million litres of water and will help in regulating and diverting water to different parts of the city through 40 GLRs that are already existing and nine GLRs that will be constructed with aid from Bangalore Development Authority at different parts of the city.
All the aforesaid works will be undertaken under Cauvery IV stage II phase and will be jointly funded by Japan government and state government.
One of the BWSSB officials said, “Some of these works are yet to commence. If everything goes according to the plan, they should be completed by the end of 2012.”
WaterViews | India
August 18, 2009
Compared to other environmental issues, Indians consider water pollution and fresh water shortages to be the most serious, together with failed food crops because of weather.
Circle of Blue Reports
Photographs by Anita Khemka/Contact Press Images
Compared to other environmental issues, Indians consider water pollution and fresh water shortages to be the most serious, together with failed food crops because of weather. On specific water issues, majorities demonstrate concern for all issues. Indians do not feel especially empowered as individuals to address water problems, and three-quarters say they need more information to be able to help protect water. Indians hold government the most responsible for community water supply.
India in Focus by Anita Khemka/Contact Press Images
When prompted on eight environmental issues, Indians consider water pollution, fresh water shortages, as well as failed food crops because of weather to be the most serious. Concern for air pollution is also high. Seventy-one percent of Indians surveyed agree that it is important for all people to have adequate, affordable drinking water. Seventy-four percent worry that fresh water shortages will become an increasingly severe problem worldwide.
Majorities demonstrate concern for particular water issues in India. Although there is little differentiation among these issues, concern for the cost of water tends to be lower than concern for other water issues (60 percent are very concerned).
When asked who should be held responsible for ensuring clean water in communities, Indians place primary responsibility on the government (44 percent). Approximately one-third of respondents believe large companies, water companies and individual citizens bear complete responsibility. Little responsibility is placed on farmers and NGOs. While Indians do not place primary responsibility on large companies, they do believe that companies need to be a part of the solution (66 percent agree).
A majority (66 percent) of Indians agree that water shortages are such a big problem that there is little individuals can do. Seventy-five percent indicate they need more information before they would feel able to help protect water.
Survey analysis provided by GlobeScan in cooperation with Circle of Blue. Download the complete GlobeScan/Circle of Blue Report [pdf].
INDIA BY THE NUMBERS:
Click for Infographics
Population Demography: 29% urban | 71% rural
GDP per Capita: US $2,800
Access to Safe Drinking Water: 96% urban | 86% rural
Access to Sanitation: 52% urban | 18% rural
Daily Domestic Water Use: 128 L/day
Water Use by Sector: 8% domestic | 5% industrial | 86% agricultural
India: Country Profile
Once the crown jewel of the British Empire and now the largest democracy on earth, India faces enormous environmental and economic challenges. Cities like Mumbai and Bangalore have well developed infrastructure but receive only four hours of piped water a day. Along the Ganges, the sacred river of Hinduism, two million bathers cleanse themselves daily in an ablution of fecal bacteria, untreated sewage, chemical runoff and partially cremated corpses.
Access to proper sanitation is, by far, the biggest water-related issue on the subcontinent. Open defecation is still viewed with remarkable social acceptance. Seven hundred million people in India do not have a toilet. The World Health Organization estimates that 700,000 Indians die each year of diarrhea. Other waterborne or water-contact illnesses include hepatitis A and E, typhoid fever and leptospirosis. Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever are also common.
A 2003 Indian government report found that in India’s four largest cities, barely 30 percent of wastewater is treated before disposal. The rest ends up in the rivers, lakes and groundwater that provide drinking water to more than 60 million people.
In cities across India, the average resident gets just over four hours of access to clean fresh water a day. In contrast, urban residents in other developing countries enjoy nearly universal 24-hour access. Even Colombo, just offshore in Sri Lanka, has running tap water 22 hours a day.
About 60 percent of Indians work in agriculture. Intensive cultivation of crops like rice, sugarcane and cotton on the Ganges Plain also puts stress on the country’s water resources. For example, it takes 3,000 to 5,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of rice. India produces more than 100 million tons of rice annually.
In addition, nearly one billion people — most of them Indians — live in the shadow of the Himalayas, where alpine glaciers are rapidly melting under the effects of global warming — they are projected to disappear by 2035. If they melt, so does a source of seven of the world’s major river systems that provide water for 40 percent of the world’s population.
Find Circe of Blue’s past coverage on India here.