Archive for May, 2007



May 28, 2007

It’s finally here. Mausim – season, monsoon – rains and you find it in the breeze today. Distinctly from the South West sending the clouds scurrying across the sky and the sound and light shows and the mosquitos blown away this is the season of the sun, disappearing of course. Termites take wing and fly , snakes appear on the landscape, power cuts are the norm with a little bit of rain and vodka is at its tastiest. The constant buzz of the chicadee , the flying insects inside the house and clothes refusing to dry. Rainwater in my tank and my well brimmeth over. Season to plant trees and offset carbon, i go for the pongaemia. Red mud on my shoes and Chyna – the dog- needs a blanket now to sleep upon. The rains are upon us and all is well with the world.


Aerobic Deep rooted rice

May 24, 2007

Arghyam supports Krishi Vigyan Niranatara in the Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra to encourage poor

students to pursue agriculture as a career and especially work on water and sanitation issues . Went

on a field trip with the enthusiastic Harish , the learned entymologists Professors Kumar and Chandru

Chandrashekhar. The students are Manohar and Sridevi doing incredible work I think. Manohar works

for Prof Shashidhar Reddy and the good Prof. is trying to develop a strain of rice which will be deep rooted

drought resistant and consume less than half the water that an average rice crop needs.

Rice with roots

The second

generation of the rice was growing before our eyes with an incredible diversity in size, yield et al.

Manohar is excited as he should be. By the end of the sixth generation Prof Shashidhar should have a

breakthrough in getting a rice strain which can be grown in rainfed area, bore well cultivated area

and yield as much as the normal rice. When good people get together the journey is better than the

destination and on the journey back a shaft of sunlight to make for an interesting photograph.Sunlight


Another well story

May 24, 2007

This is absolutely fascinating. Mr Bhagvan (God himself) came to our home/office. Back from Alemagne

to settle in beloved Bangalore. Has a 100 year old well , as old as the house, in Shankarpuram. Several

such wells there says he. Along comes a bore well digger chasing the pot of gold at the end of his 300

feet deep rainbow. Filling up tankers and supplying to the commercial establishments nearby and in

2 years God sees his well water disappearing into Valhalla. No groundwater regulation in the city

and nothing can be done mesays to God. Such is our tragedy. History, culture, civilization, tradition,

self sufficiency, need all disappears before mammon. What a tragedy for us as a society? A 100

year old kicked where it hurts most and soon to die ignominously. The good fight is however on

More as we go along.


Consultancy, money and all that

May 20, 2007

Rainwater harvesting in Bangalore has really, really picked up. With it our share of troubles. Why is it not understood

that it is simple to catch rain on the roof, filter it and put it into a well or a sump tank? Why do people need designers

engineers, site visits, estimates, drawings,quotations et al and in the favorite

words of the techies of this city asap?

That’s one word that gets my goat. Here you sit on your butt for years

and do nothing about water and next you

expect things to happen yesterday. Why don’t people understand the

difference between a business and an ‘ideas’ group?

Ah well modern times but look at the bright side of life , the city is finally

moving into the solutions paradigm from the

problem paradigm. More power to such a collective elbow then.

Our motto A well in every house. ONWARD


What did my water bill tell me? – Deconstructing tariff

May 2, 2007

Water billWater billWater bill

I am connected to the city mains for my water supply as are you I guess if you are in urban India.The bill comes to me once a month. I do not even bother looking at it and pay it because it is small, until now that is. While travelling in a bus to Mysore (btw I live in Bangalore) and the battery on my mobile phone dead the only option was reading to amuse myself. I dived into my purse to get some money for

a magazine and came out with an old water bill. Read the magazine

– not interesting- then started to read the water bill out of sheer boredom.

Now this was hugely interesting. Let us see what it tells me about the water supply provider in our fair city, Bangalore.

Firstly that I get a bill looks like I have to pay on volumetric consumption. Ah ha , not many cities do that. They collect

a flat

tariff or charge it on the property tax. Experts agree that volumetric tariff is good because you pay for what you get.

You are rewarded for

good behaviour i.e. less consmption and punished for over consuming. Great beginning for Bangalore’s water supply.

The reverse side of the bill first if you please. It talks about a sanitary cess. Hmmmm.. I pay for my sewage too, very funny. I flip the bill around, hey

I consume less than 25,000 litres every month, just 7000 this month and so i pay a flat sum of Rs 15 for all the shi… that

I send into the drain. Pretty cheap huh.

Then I come down , what’s this? A differential slab for my water bill. If i consume less than 8000 litres I pay at Rs 6 / a

kilolitre. So now that i have consumed 7 kilolitres my bill should be 6 x 7 = Rs 42 ah ha a right royal sum. Hey but these guys charge me Rs 48/-? How come? That is a minimum then, so I harvest rain, use it and consume less but i pay Rs 48 /- nonetheless.Might as wellhave consumed the 1000 litres . Would’ve been free for me. .. and where is the incentive for harvesting rain? Let it be.

But lookat, the guys in the hotel business pay something called non domestic rates which is high and the industrial consumers are rogered , they pay Rs 60/= on top of which a cess of 20% thats Rs 72/- a kilo litre. No wonder they drift to a bore well or a private water tanker. That costs a lot less.

But whats this? A bore well cess of Rs 50 /- a month per house . Thank god I do not have one. So these guys must have a count of the number of bore wells in the city or atleast

wherever they have extended their connection. very interesting. Now if they could put a meter to the bore wells at least

we would know how much groundwater is being consumed in this city. Got to work on that with these guys.

There is message to conserve water. Are these people serious. In Kannada there is a dire warning not to employ child labour.

Wonderful look at the social concern of these guys. but wait no ‘lifeline ‘ water for the poor. 6000 litres per month per family free.

Like in South AFRica that would have been good.

Now the front side. The bottom line says if connection is not made by due date then disconnection process will be

initiated. Hey what was the last date for payment? 27/09/2006 I see on the top right side. Good that I have paid

on time. These guys are also gentle. They at least don’t say that they will disconnect. Only begin a process.

Hopefully there will be a notice. I generally am late for everything so guys like me deserve a notice. is there a fine or a

late payment fee? hmmm… nothing about that. Got to find out more from the sub division I guess. Which is it? N3 says

the bill. Informative. What does N-33 and RR no. and consumer i.d mean. ? I’m a number and I know what that means?

There is a meter reading date and last date for paymet nt is 15 days from that day. Great 15 days. but do these guys send

me the bill on the date of the reading itself? Gotta check sometime. Then there is the water charge.. that I understand and

a meter charge of Rs 10/-? Hey I pay for the meter. The meter costs about Rs 600 /- methinks. Do these guys stop after

60 months and they have collected Rs 600/- Nope . I built my house in 1994 and this is circa 2006 and yet the meter charge.

Must be for the meter reading methinks. Oh alright about that one then. What is this S.C for bore wells? Sanitary charge

looks like. If I use water from a bore well obviously the sewage goes to the system for which these guys are responsible.

So a sanitary cess on bore well water use. Rs 50/- a month too. If only these people could put a meter on the bore well.

they would have known exactly how much sewage is entering the system from bore well water not to mention how much

bore wells are used in the city. Bangalore is one of the first city in India to do this. Great going guys. Hey there is an arrears of Rs 4/ What happened? I didn’t pay 4 bucks to these guys last month? .. and they keep tabs on that. Wonderful.

I see that I can pay my bill 24 hours at their kiosks. That is great. I get water 2 hours every alternate day but these guys

collect money 24/7 Must be a World Bank plot. That Paul Wolfinsheepsclothing and his girfriend. Grr… Must rally with

the anti privatisation and anti world bank guys next time. Remind me to take out my khadi clothes and jhola.

Finally there is some kind of bar code at this end. Modernity and swiping machines i guess.

Now how many cities in India have this kind of a bill and this kind of a water supply? Would be god to compile.

Guys and girls please help and send me your water bills. Just a copy will do from anytown India. We’ll discuss that in the

coming blogs.. that is if you are not fed up with this one 🙂