(Feature Image: Revived Bansilalpet stepwell in Hyderabad which has a capacity of over 20 lakh litres. Rangan Datta/Telegraph India.)
Marking World Water Day 2023; this compilation by SANDRP highlights top ten successful and worth replicable initiatives and actions being taken in Indian cities for revival of surface water sources and recharge of depleting groundwater table.
1. Bengaluru Million Wells campaign The Million Wells campaign is striving to rejuvenate Bengaluru’s groundwater table while providing a livelihood to the Mannu Vaddar well-digging community
Fourteen years ago, S. Vishwanath was getting on his motorcycle somewhere in south Bengaluru when a man tapped him on the shoulder, asking if he wanted a well. That’s right, a water well. A rainwater harvesting enthusiast, Vishwanath was nonetheless flabbergasted by the random question. In the conversation that ensued, he started to learn of the numerous open wells in Bengaluru up until the mid-1980s when borewells began to take over. And how the Mannu Vaddar community that made a living from digging these open wells was gradually finding itself out of work. The idea of a campaign to dig a million wells for Bengaluru was thus born. https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/cover-story/story/20230116-million-wells-for-bengaluru-well-worth-it-2318283-2023-01-06 (06 Jan. 2023)
‘Million Wells’ campaign aims to recharge city’s gw Biome Environmental Trust is a local civil society organisation that has been at the forefront of urban groundwater management for 13 years. They have been active as a community collective advocating for sustainable water management for much longer, since 2002. The Million Wells Campaign has integrated their traditional knowledge and skills into the process of open well revival. Many well-diggers now have a deep understanding of recharge wells and rainwater harvesting and are able to play an important role in shallow aquifer revival. Consequently, the livelihoods — and self-worth — of many well-diggers have been restored. The well-diggers have renewed pride in their work, as they reap the benefits of their renewed economic and social capital.
Perhaps, the most needed aspect of modern urban water education the world over is an appreciation of the shallow aquifer. Dr Kulkarni adds, “If the revival of the shallow aquifer is carefully curated, it can have tremendous impact from flood and drought mitigation, to improving water security in urban India, and responding to the water quality issues that cities often grapple with.“. https://bengaluru.citizenmatters.in/biome-million-wells-campaign-bengaluru-aquifers-groundwater-citizens-90762 (10 Oct. 2022)
Cleaned and recharged, 6 wells spring to life Left unused, underused, or reduced to litter pits for years, six open wells in Hunasamaranahalli in Yelahanka taluk have been rejuvenated with fresh inflows and a promise of replenished water supply for the surrounding areas. After the rejuvenation, taken up under the Million Wells for Bengaluru campaign helmed by Biome Environmental Trust, the Town Municipal Council (TMC) has initiated work to supply water from at least two of the wells. Traditional well-diggers, the the mannu vaddars, worked for weeks on the six wells — some of them more than 50 years old — before they were opened for the drawing of water. Biome said two months after a 75-year-old open well was rejuvenated, the TMC supplies about a lakh litres of water from the 65 feet-deep well, every day, to three municipal wards. The council is also laying a pipeline to connect water from another rejuvenated well to an overhead tank, near Vidyanagar Cross. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/bengaluru-infrastructure/cleaned-and-recharged-six-wells-spring-to-life-in-b-luru-suburb-1188237.html (06 Feb. 2023)
2. Centre Recharge wells to power multi-city groundwater project. A pilot project on shallow aquifer management, initiated by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs for 10 cities, under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), has identified recharge wells as key to improving groundwater availability. Experts have cited the non-availability of space to allow the percolation of rainwater as a major hurdle to recharging Bengaluru’s groundwater table. The Million Wells programme was launched by Biome Environmental Trust in 2015 to encourage citizens and communities to dig and maintain their own recharge wells. It also opened up employment for the traditional well-digger community, the mannu vaddars.
In Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will be the nodal agency for the project. Biome Environmental Trust and Advanced Centre for Water Resources Development and Management (ACWADAM) will be technical partners in the project, which is led by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, a national think-tank on urban planning and development. The pilot project also covers Chennai, Dhanbad, Gwalior, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Rajkot, Thane, and Pune. https://www.deccanherald.com/city/recharge-wells-to-power-multi-city-groundwater-project-1157262.html (28 Oct. 2022) The President of India, Smt. Droupadi Murmu graced the launch of Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch The Rain -2023 and presented the Swachh Sujal Shakti Samman 2023 in New Delhi on March 4, 2023. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1904145 (04 March 2023)
2. Pune Citizens’ initiative helps in water conservation at Baner-Pashan hill It has taken 15 years for volunteers of Vasundhara Swachata Abhiyan to turn Baner-Pashan hill from barren to lush green, with an increase in groundwater levels and also control the flooding in the area. Baner-Pashan hill was declared as a biodiversity place by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) in 2005, post which Vasundhara Swachata Abhiyan (VSA) started a plantation and growth drive since 2006 on this hill.
Rajesh Uttarwar, another volunteer said, “Continuous Contour Trenches (CCT) are small check dam structures, which we began in 2017 for water and soil conservation. Structures like this arrest rain water from wasting downhill. With the trees growing more than 10 feet, and water and soil conservation resulted in grass of larger height which helped in reducing the speed and impact of rain.”
The CCTs led rainwater to percolate in the soil resulting in the increase of groundwater level and avoid a flood-like situation around the hill. In 2013-14, it was observed that despite the drought, the use of water tankers in the housing societies was considerably reduced because of the increase in ground water, said volunteers. According to volunteers it takes three-five years for the results to show. This was eventually seen during the 2019 flash floods where there was no loss of life in the area. Even on July 13, when the city battered rains, Pashan recorded 69 mm rainfall, highest in Pune, however, all water on the hill percolated inside within 8 hours. “Hills are important as it helps maintain groundwater level, avoid flood and landsliding if it is supported by water and soil conservation work like that on Baner-Pahan hill,” said Shrote. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/citizens-initiative-helps-in-water-conservation-at-baner-pashan-hill-101657994060363.html (16 July 2022)
Vetal Tekdi is water recharge point Dr Himanshu Kulkarni Based on a detailed study of these aquifers, the most conducive recharge areas for Pune’s aquifer systems have been identified. Incidentally, aquifers in Pune provide both, water supplies that supplement and complement civic supplies, and also constitute various amounts of underground stocks of water providing a connection between various other elements of various ecosystems. Protection and restoration of existing natural recharge zones that are related to each of the 28 aquifers, including those within the ridge lines in the Pune city become imperative. Any infrastructure development that is counter-intuitive to the security of aquifers, whether it is in the form of disrupting groundwater flows and stocks, will need to be avoided. https://punemirror.com/pune/others/touch-me-not-vetal-tekdi-is-water-recharge-point/cid1679252243.htm (20 March 2023)
SPPU rejuvenates British-era Hatti Haud for RWH The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) in a joint effort with the Karve Institute of Social Service has successfully rebuilt the defunct Hatti Haud (pond) for rainwater collection as part of a revival mission. The project began in 2019 but faced hurdles due to the Covid-19 pandemic with the original target year of 2021 pushed to this year. According to SPPU officials, the revitalised pond will be ready by the end of May to accumulate rainwater June onwards.
Hatti Haud, located behind the centre for modeling and simulation department of SPPU, was constructed by Mahatma Jyotiba Phule during the British era as part of building a ‘bund’, as per old records. The reservoir was used by British officers for their elephants and horses. However before 2019, the 30 metre long historic pond was filled with construction debris and waste. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/pune-news/sppu-rejuvenates-british-era-hatti-haud-for-rainwater-accumulation-101651598209400.html (03 May 2022)
3. Hyderabad Revived Bansilalpet stepwell to open on Dec 5 The 17th-century Bansilalpet stepwell in Secunderabad which has been restored to its original glory will be inaugurated on December 5 by MAUD Minister KT Rama Rao. The State government with the cooperation of various departments has brought back the past glory of the ancient stepwell that lay in ruins. What began a year ago as the revival of the stepwell, also known as Nagannakunta, has now changed completely. The Bansilalpet stepwell had been neglected for decades, left in a dilapidated condition and filled with debris and garbage.
Restoration of the stepwell began with cleaning, dewatering, and desilting the well, structural strengthening of retaining walls, rebuilding and finishing works etc. The well has an annual rainwater harvesting potential of 30-35 lakh litres. The Rainwater Project, an organization involved in several water management-related projects in the city, is involved in the restoration work of the Bansilalpet stepwell. Around 2,000 tonnes of garbage, silt and debris accumulated over the past four decades has been removed from the well and restoration began. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/hyderabad/2022/dec/03/revived-bansilalpet-stepwell-in-secunderabad-to-open-on-dec-5-2524531.html (03 Dec. 2022)
The Bansilalpet stepwell is situated in Secunderabad. Kalpana, who runs the Rainwater Project, had signed a MoU with the Telangana government to restore the stepwell in 2021. With over two decades of experience as an interior architect and designer she is also looking to create an experience for citizens, to keep the project sustainable. Kalpana and her team restored the Bansilalpet stepwell in such a way that it is now a matter of pride for the locals there. With six levels, the baoli was reworked on with designs from the Kakatiya period. https://www.siasat.com/model-restoration-hyderabads-bansilalpet-baoli-opens-today-2472412/ (05 Dec. 2022) Once a dump yard, Bansilalpet stepwell has been revived. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUOafx93Omw (06 Dec. 2022)
Today the stepwell is beautifully landscaped and the complex contains a café, amphithere and three galleries narrating the history of the stepwell and details of its restoration. The galleries also demonstrates the importance of water conservation. Gallery 1 is centred around a model of the stepwell and the walls contain photos of the stepwell before and after restoration. Gallery 2 focuses on water conservation. Groundwater and rainwater are the sources of replenishment for the well, which has a capacity of over 20 lakh litres. https://www.telegraphindia.com/my-kolkata/places/hyderabads-bansilalpet-stepwell-ravaged-reimagined-then-revived/cid/1922205 (13 March 2023)
SCR revives 200-year-old well at zonal training college A 200-year-old heritage well at the SCR’s Zonal Railway Training Institute (ZRTI), Moula- Ali, Secunderabad, has been revived and it’s yielding one lakh litres of water, sufficient to meet the needs of the institute, besides generating substantial savings of around ₹5 lakh per month. The stepped-well has been inherited by the railways from the erstwhile Nizam’s government. The heritage well, which has a depth of about 50-ft., will be catering to the water supply needs ZRTI, Supervisors Training Centre (STC) and Territorial Camp (TA) office in the area. Rain water harvesting pits have also been provided in the surrounding areas to reduce rain water run-off and facilitate water conservation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/scr-revives-200-year-old-well-at-zonal-training-college/article66541154.ece (23 Feb. 2023) The well is said to be a 200 years old provided with steps. It has historic significance during the pre-independence era of the Nizam period. Sir Mir Turab Ali Khan, Salar Jung-I (1829-1883), who was considered one of the greatest Prime Ministers of Hyderabad, used the well for irrigating mango gardens. In the post- independence period, the well was inherited by SCR in its formation year 1966. https://www.thehansindia.com/telangana/scr-revives-heritage-well-at-zonal-railway-training-institute-784483 (23 Feb. 2023)
4. Coimbatore Water warrior Recently, due to Manikandan’s undaunted efforts, the officials of Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board, with the help of Public Works Department (PWD), relocated people living in a three-kilometre channel of Vellalore lake, which was an impediment for reviving the lake, and the lake breathed again after a gap of two decades. Soon after the area was cleared, he and his friends planted 25,000 native tree species and 10,000 varieties of flowering plants using the Miyawaki method. This arrangement is now attracting around 150 birds and 98 varieties of butterflies to the area.
So far, the team has revived around four ponds with CSR funds, and their efforts have helped increase the area’s groundwater level. During the Adi Perukku and Amavasai, Manikandan and his team convinced people who were leaving offerings (especially food items) for their forefathers in the Noyyal River and handed over those food items to the people in need.
“Now, my aim is to save the Noyyal River from pollution and increase the green cover of the place. For this, we are creating awareness among the public as their participation is an important tool for achieving success,” says Manikandan. His ardent efforts have brought him countless laurels, including the Water Warrior Award from Jal Sakthi Ministry in 2020. At present, Manikandan and his team are in an effort to document as many as 1,200 ponds in Coimbatore and put them in the public domain with survey numbers. They hope this will help the civic bodies to deal with encroachment and replenish the waterbodies with CSR funds. https://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2022/aug/28/coimbatores-water-warrior—meet-manikandan-2492214.html (28 Aug. 2022) Story of hour volunteer effort helped desilting of lakes in Coimbatore.
5. Delhi How Dwarka residents stopped ground from sinking How Dwarka in Delhi stopped and possibly reversed subsidence due to excessive groundwater use between 2004 and now: by piped water supply, rejuvenation of water bodies, use of treated sewage, rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharging and thus brought the groundwater level up. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-64342196 (22 Jan. 2023) CM has opened to public the rejuvenated Pappankalan lake in Dwarka, Delhi. As water activist Diwan Singh has said, Delhi govt will have to ensure in a publicly verifiable way that the treated sewage being released in the lake is of sufficiently good quality so that there is no contamination of groundwater due to it. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/revamped-dwarka-lake-opened-by-kejriwal-101679164076282.html (18 March 2023)
Rajokri Lake: From wasteland into model lake Rajokri Lake, located near the Delhi-Gurugram border till 2017 was a dying water body that had suffered years of toxic abuse. Domestic wastewater and sewerage from the adjoining semi-urban settlements of Rajokri village were channelled through open drains into the lake, which became a breeding ground for communicable diseases.
The transformation was the result of four years of effort of two individuals, Ankit Srivastava, a graduate of IIT Bombay in Environmental Engineering and Advisor to Delhi Jal Board, and architect Mriganka Saxena, who saw a potential for change under all the filth. Teaming up with the Delhi Jal Board, along with the Irrigation and Flood Control Department (IFCD) the two transformed the Rajokri water body into Delhi’s first-ever decentralised sewage system.
The lake area today is 9,446 square metres of redeveloped public space, with a water body of 2,000 square metres which is now fed with treated effluents, which earlier were its primary pollutants. Gravel-based walking pathways around the lake double up as rainwater harvesting channels. https://citizenmatters.in/rajokri-lake-wasteland-to-model-lake-in-a-year-32146 (24 Nov. 2022)
MCD converts 150 defunct tubewells into RWH pits Welcome, though this could have happened long back. Municipal Corporation of Delhi has completed work on 150 of the 258 defunct tubewells that were targeted to be converted into rainwater harvesting pits during this monsoon season. A budget of Rs 25 lakh was allocated for the project. “The remaining 108 pits are expected to be completed by August end. During a meeting at the LG’s office, the 258 defunct tubewells were identified for making rainwater harvesting systems in different parks. Subsequently, work started intensively on the ground,” said an official. In June, the Delhi high court had taken cognisance of the lack of rainwater harvesting facilities and sought the stand of various government departments on the issue. Later, MCD submitted the information in court. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/municipal-corporation-of-delhi-converts-150-defunct-tubewells-into-rwh-pits/articleshow/93416135.cms (08 Aug. 2022) https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/mcd-parks-with-defunct-borewells-to-be-used-as-ground-water-recharge-zones-101655403683940.html (17 June 2022) Good to see Govt seeing value of rain water and is preparing to dig 1500 RWH pits. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/delhi-news/1500-rainwater-harvesting-pits-to-curb-waterlogging-in-delhi-101655922775305.html (23 June 2022)
6. Chennai An infiltration system to solve silting, flooding & restore gw A German technology using a polymer-based infiltration system has proved to be effective in reducing flooding and water stagnation and replenishing the groundwater. The system, a successful experiment conducted by the Greater Chennai Corporation, is currently in use at Besant Nagar.
According to R.R. Sivaraam, rainwater harvesting consultant, the infiltration system is a sustainable solution for recharging groundwater that minimises the impact of urban development on the hydrological system. By using filters and eco-blocks, the system is able to filter the silt in rainwater and replenish groundwater. During heavy rain, excess water is discharged to a nearby waterbody or the ocean. “We first saw the success of this system near the Vadapalani temple tank and are excited about its prospects here as well,” Corporation Commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi said. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/an-infiltration-system-that-may-solve-silting-flooding-and-restore-groundwater/article66170223.ece (22 Nov. 2022)
Civic body to build 47 ‘sponge parks’ to solve street flooding issue Work order for five such parks has been issued and another 42 will be tendered out this month. The project will include construction of mini ponds and trenches at the parks. The trenches will carry water from roads and storm water drains into the ponds. Corporation chief engineer S Rajendiran said they wanted to find solutions for not just floods but also droughts.
An engineer in-charge of the work said the pond will be surrounded by a wall and stone pitching along with a fencing for safety. Inlets into the ponds from the storm water drains, roads and sides of the parks and outlet chambers will also be set up for removing excess water. Rainwater harvesting structures with well rings inside the ponds to allow ground water percolation, tree plantation around the ponds, necessary lighting and benches around the ponds will also be done, the official said.
Experts said while the intention is good, by adding mini ponds alone, these parks cannot be called as ‘sponge parks’. The civic body engineers need to study the entire drainage pattern of the area to make it a holistic solution. Manushi Jain, director of Sponge Collaborative, an expert in sponge parks said, “There are three layers – green, blue and social layer making it beneficial at several levels. Sponge parks should go beyond flood mitigation and bring in communities, creating a space for them using resilient infrastructure. It requires more green cover that will bring in a lot of biodiversity as well.” Residents suggested SWD connections may lead to illegal sewage entering the ponds and that needs to be stopped unless the parks have a STP. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/chennai-to-get-47-sponge-parks-to-solve-street-flooding-issue/articleshow/96210795.cms (14 Dec. 2022)
Need of integrated water management system to prevent floods; drought In an interview with Citizen Matters Chennai, Dr S Janakarajan, the President of the South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies (SaciWATERs), Hyderabad and former Professor and Director at Madras Institute of Development Studies (MIDS), unpacks the issues with water management in Chennai that has led to both flooding and drought and suggests better ways to handle the city’s water resources. https://chennai.citizenmatters.in/water-crisis-chennai-2015-floods-2019-day-zero-reservoirs-cmwssb-gcc-67218 (15 March 2023)
Best practices on flood resilience from Indian & global cities A recent report ‘Catalogue of best practices for building flood resilience’ showcases some of the measures which have been successfully implemented by Indian and global cities towards mitigating floods and building water resilience. The intent is to create a basket of solutions that Indian cities can choose based on their need and priority. https://www.indiawaterportal.org/articles/best-practices-flood-resilience-indian-and-global-cities (21 Dec. 2022)
7. Bengaluru Malls can now tap into a supply of treated sewage water Bengaluru-based company Boson Whitewater has launched an on-demand supply of treated sewage water to malls and industries across the city. Boson is a water utility company which converts STP water into high-quality potable water. It has partnered with Tankerwala, an app that allows customers to book water tankers on-demand, to supply Whitewater to malls, industries and any other commercial operations which might require such treated water across Bengaluru.
Boson claims what sets its whitewater apart is that it goes one step further and makes the STP water drinkable quality which is used by the industries for processing, says Vikas Brahmavar, Founder and CEO, of Boson Whitewater System. The benefit is that the industries will not have to add extra chemicals to soften the water, instead, it can be used directly, he adds.The company charges between 14 to 18 paisa per litre for the service depending on the scale of demand. Currently, the company is in talks with 11 apartments and aims to install 10 systems across the city before December, which would help them to save up to 75 crore litres of water annually. By 2025 it aims to save up to 500 crore litres for which it will install 75 systems. The company also intends to expand to Hyderabad and Chennai in the near future. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/bengaluru-malls-can-now-tap-into-a-supply-of-treated-sewage-water/article65524121.ece (13 June 2022)
Treated sewage water for construction: SPCB approaches BIS to fix parameters Last month the SPCB and the IISc, Bengaluru, completed a study regarding the feasibility of using treated sewage water for construction works. The SPCB’s study found that the use of treated water had no effect on the strength of cement. The board has now approached the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for the purpose of fixing parameters for the use of treated sewage water for construction purposes, which would be a first-of-its-kind globally. Furthermore, when determining the parameters, the health impact of the treated wastewater on construction workers will also be taken into account. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/bangalore/treated-sewage-water-for-construction-karnataka-pollution-board-approaches-bis-to-fix-parameters-8140721/ (09 Sept. 2022)
Treated wastewater could mitigate rising construction costs The BWSSB is selling secondary treated water at Rs 15/KL, and tertiary treated water for Rs 20/KL from State-run centralised plants. Builders will be able to save considerably even if the BWSSB accounted for additional transportation charges. These tanker rates could be further reduced if a network is established linking the over 2,500 decentralised STPs in Bengaluru with nearby construction sites. Based on analysis of the BWSSB dashboard and the KSPCB’s masterlist of around 2,500 STPs, we estimate that, currently, around 550 million litres of treated wastewater from centralised and decentralised STPs in Bengaluru winds up in stormwater channels every day.
Moreover, there are policies in place that eases the process of mainstreaming the use of treated wastewater. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) made it mandatory to use treated water from centralised STPs for construction and directed all zonal commissioners not to approve building plans unless the applicant submits a treated water utilisation plan for construction, and proof of payment to the BWSSB for availing the facility. Further, the BBMP will provide no-objection certificates (NOC) to buildings only if they submit an undertaking about the use of treated water during construction. Building owners failing to use treated water for construction will not be given an occupation certificate. https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/opinion/real-estate-treated-wastewater-could-mitigate-rising-construction-costs-9165061.html (13 Sept. 2022)
Opinion Time to put waste water to good use With water scarcity in India becoming alarming, industries and apartments should use tech to treat and reuse wastewater writes S Vishwanath. https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/time-to-put-wastewater-to-good-use/article65867417.ece (08 Sept. 2022)
8. Nasik 22 industrial units likely to use STP’s treated water The officials of Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) said Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (NMC) has submitted a list of 22 industrial units that require more water in bulk for processing. MIDC has also sent a proposal to its headquarters in Mumbai, seeking permission to allow the use of treated water from Gangapur STP in these 22 big industries, said the officials. These 22 industrial units, which are located in two industrial estates of MIDC, need 4 MLD of water per day. Of these, 10 big units in Satpur require 3 MLD and 12 units in Ambad industrial estate require 1 MLD of water. NMC had asked MIDC to submit the list of those industries which require water in bulk.
The officials said as per the fresh guidelines by the Centre, reusing treated water has been made compulsory for the STPs, which are funded by the Union government scheme AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation). Accordingly, NMC has started chalking out plans to reuse treated water. NMC has also received Rs 20 crore from the Centre to create infrastructure so that the STP’s treated water can be used for industries, farming, gardening and construction activities. NMC has just constructed a new Gangapur STP and made it operational for the past five to six months. While the total project cost is Rs 50 crore including the land, the centre had provided Rs 29 crore for the construction of the STP. The Gangapur STP is processing 18 MLD of sewage water. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nashik/22-industrial-units-likely-to-use-gangapur-stps-treated-water/articleshow/93262670.cms (01 Aug. 2022)
9. Noida Depleting groundwater unites RWAs In one of their major moves, the Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) decided to convince authorities across the region to ensure installation of rainwater harvesting systems in all government offices, corporate buildings, community centres, and educational institutions to harness monsoon showers to stave off a looming crisis.
At the meeting, the RWAs also decided to soon organise a national-level seminar on the depleting groundwater levels in Delhi-NCR and invite Union and state government ministers to the event so that eventually a policy on groundwater conservation could be formed by Parliament. Representatives of residents’ bodies from Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Delhi, Gurgaon and Faridabad participated in the meeting organised by the Confederation of NCR RWA (CONRWA), the umbrella body of the region’s RWAs, at Safdarjung Club. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/depleting-groundwater-unites-ncr-rwas/articleshow/91824298.cms (27 May 2022)
An approach to Pond and lake rejuvenation by Ramveer Tanvar, known as pond man of India. https://www.counterview.in/2023/03/an-approach-to-lakepond-restoration-by.html (3 Mar 2023) Noida’s water hero Vikrant Tongad, awarded by Government of India for water conservation. https://hindi.news18.com/news/uttar-pradesh/noida-world-water-day-2023-jal-shakti-ministry-awarded-vikrant-tongad-form-water-hero-5614461.html (22 March 2023)
Admin digs up 40 pits to harvest rainwater Noida administration is digging 40 new rainwater harvesting pits to help replenish the city’s depleting groundwater levels, officials said on Monday, adding that these will be ready before monsoon. Currently, there are 45 harvesting systems installed in parks and green belts, out of which about 30 are operational and 15, defective. According to officials, around 45% of the city’s water needs are met by groundwater, and levels have fallen rapidly over the past few years. Authorities supply 240 MLD of water daily, but the demand is that of 332 MLD. To address this gap, the Noida Authority is planning to provide an additional 90 MLD of water from Ganga river to the city by the end of this year. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/noida/as-monsoon-nears-noida-digs-up-40-pits-to-harvest-rainwater/articleshow/92190846.cms (14 June 2022)
10. Mangaluru Small soak pits, big changes Surrounded by lush greenery, a soak pit with a square border and a circular lid complements the many environment-friendly practices at organic farmers Peter and Lona Serrao’s farm in Permude in Dakshina Kannada – located about 22 km from Mangaluru. The soak pit has proved transformative in the management of wastewater in the area. “Earlier, grey water was discharged in the open, resulting in waterlogging, bad odour and increased incidence of diseases like malaria,” Peter recollected. The term ‘grey water’ is used to describe wastewater generated from bathing, washing clothes, kitchen and other household activities. https://www.deccanherald.com/spectrum/spectrum-top-stories/small-soak-pits-big-changes-1143081.html (08 Sept. 2022)
Some More Reports on Positive Urban Water Initiatives
Shimla Welcome news: High Court has asked the Shimla authorities to harvest rain, rejuvenated water bodies. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/build-water-storage-capacity-in-shimla-406080 (23 June 2022)
Mumbai Siddharth Nagar finally gets water after 10 years The residents of Siddharth Nagar in Versova are finally getting legal tap water after a 10-year-long fight. It was in 2015 when the Pani Haq Samiti applied for a legal water connection, but the fight had already begun in 2013. After a decade, BMC engineers finally connected the pipeline and hundreds of families living in the area witnessed legal water flowing from the new red taps installed. Pani Haq Samiti (PHS) is a people’s campaign for universal access to water. They are actively involved in informal settlements across Mumbai. https://www.mid-day.com/mumbai/mumbai-news/article/mumbai-siddharth-nagar-finally-gets-water-after-10-years-23277312 (26 March 2023) Pipe Dream Prachi Adesara and Suraj Katra have made this film ’Kanooni Pani (Legal Water)’ for Charles Correa Foundation’s Nagri Film Festival. The film tries to showcase the efforts of Pani Haq Samiti. https://youtu.be/ADhHHcRom1k (27 Oct. 2022)
Karnal STP treated water to irrigate over 6,300 acres With the new 50 MLD STP in Sector 37 in Karnal becoming functional, the work to lay pipeline has been initiated to use treated water for irrigating fields.
The work to lay around 250-km-long pipeline from the STP has been started and the treated water will be used to irrigate around 6,384 acres of agricultural land in 11 villages. This plant was constructed under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) programme, said Satish Sharma, XEN Karnal Municipal Corporation. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/haryana/treated-water-from-new-karnal-stp-to-irrigate-over-6-300-acres-385849 (13 April 2022)
Bengaluru BBMP begins to set up RWH pits to avoid floods & increase groundwater Following repeated instances of flooding and inundation in the city during heavy rainfall, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has now set a target to install 5,000 Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) pits in parks and roadside drains to smooth the flow of water and increase the groundwater table. The civic body has so far installed 1,000 RWH pits in the city and set a target of constructing 5,000 more in another three years across the city. The BBMP is planning to harvest at least two crore litre of rainwater annually. “According to experts, the city receives 600 mm to 1,000 mm rain annually and most of this rainwater gets wasted flowing into drains. Hence, the BBMP is installing RWH pits in parks and various places in the city which will contribute to the increase in groundwater,” a BBMP officer from the horticulture department said.
The civic body says that the RWH pits are been installed with the help of various non-government organisations and under the Corporate Social Responsibilities programme scientifically. “We are now digging a 12-foot-deep RWH pit, which includes concrete rings, iron meshes and covering slabs at around the cost of ₹35,000 to ₹40,000,” the officer explained. BBMP is already started implementing the project in phase by phase manner and last month, in the Basavanagudi assembly constituency, the civic body called a tender for implementing the RWH pits at the cost of ₹8.79 crore. According to BBMP, there are around four lakh RWH pits across the city, however, the BBMP has no data on how many are in good condition. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/bbmp-begins-to-set-up-rainwater-harvesting-pits-to-avoid-floods-and-increase-groundwater-in-bengaluru/article65972546.ece (22 Oct. 2022)
Gujarat Researcher adopts stepwells to recharge depleted water reserves Considered to be a fine example of Gujarati architecture, Vav or stepwell is not only an ancient site but also has a cultural tradition associated with it. Amritalingam’s book ‘Ecological Traditions of India’ states: “Wells and stepwells have played a very important role in the history of Indian architecture.
Kapil Thacker, a history and architecture lover of Ahmedabad, has taken up the challenge of restoring these places to their former glory and importance. He has been running a magazine called ‘Atulya Varso’ on water body tradition and architecture for a long time with a special focus on architecture and culture. Thacker, founder of Atulya Varaso, recently adopted a stepwell and a well. He spoke to IANS about this. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/gujarat-researcher-adopts-stepwells-to-recharge-depleted-water-reserves-122080700160_1.html (07 Aug. 2022)
Hyderabad India’s first city to fully treat its sewage Hyderabad can become the only city in the country to have 100 per cent sewage treatment facility by the end of next year. Work on the 31 STPs in Greater Hyderabad and its outskirts are on at a brisk pace and are expected to be completed by next summer. In fact, some of them are expected to be ready by the end of this year. Apart from treating the generated sewage, the new STPs would also help protect water bodies including lakes, tanks and ponds. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/sep/05/hyderabad-all-set-to-become-indias-first-city-to-fully-treat-its-sewage-2494886.html (05 Sept. 2022)
Leachate treatment plant is now operational The 2 MLD capacity (increased from 1 MLD) leachate treatment plant, built at the cost of Rs 250 crores is now fully operational to resolve the issues associated with Jawaharnagar dump yard. Ramky Infrastructure Ltd was assigned the task of building the plant by the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). Jawaharnagar has been the site of unscientific waste dumping for decades. The treatment plant is expected to wave off the issue of foul smell, groundwater pollution, and other hazards triggered from the dump yard. https://www.siasat.com/hyderabad-leachate-treatment-plant-is-now-operational-2550756/ (20 March 2023)
Report How can water be saved and recycled at home? Devices which conserve and recycle water could become critical infrastructure in our homes in the future, as global temperatures rise and the population’s water usage changes.
New technology can treat ‘grey water’, which comes from the bath, shower or washing machine, so it can be used again for other purposes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9ODb6YAeFc (04 Feb. 2023)
Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat (email@example.com)