10 steps to better water management in a city

July 13, 2010

Act now, save city


Every new layout should become self-sufficient in water supply. Some useful tips by S. Vishwanath

The news this week on the waterfront for Bangalore is grim. The Arkavathi, supplying water to the Thippagondanahalli reservoir, has failed to flow for some time and consequently the reservoir is dry. Water will not be pumped from it anymore into the city. When the dam was full 135 million litres per day was pumped into the city from T.G.Halli. An additional 35 million litres per day was pumped from the Hessarghatta reservoir upstream of T.G.Halli. Hessarghatta too is dry. The city has lost 170 million litres of water per day.

Till the city seeks only to exploit rivers and not to manage catchments and keep rivers flowing, such events are likely to occur. Ecological stewardship is an alien concept for our water supply institutions. They do not have the vision or the capabilities to be able to do good catchment management.

In the meantime, the city continues to grow. What should the builders, developers and residents of such layouts do for water supply and sanitation?

10-point programme

Here is the checklist:

Ban the drilling of individual borewells in the layout. Only community borewells will be drilled and water distributed equally to all plots for construction as well as for domestic consumption.

Create a storage system and network capable of delivering 24/7 water supply at a residual pressure of 10 metres and with BIS 10500 standard water quality.

Create an efficient decentralised sewage collection and treatment system. Treat sewage to levels which it can be reused for non-potable purpose and ensure that waste-water is not wasted.

Calculate the production cost of water, collection and treatment of sewage and collect money on a volumetric tariff basis to recover full costs.

Make rainwater harvesting mandatory in every house. The household should either store or recharge every drop of water falling on the plot.

Adopt recharge structures on stormwater drains so that every drop of water from the common amenities area like roads, parks and playgrounds is collected and recharged.

Adopt a simple landscaping system which is tree based and which does not demand more water than available through treated sewage. Landscapes can demand enormous water if badly designed.

Keep a record of all water and sanitation assets in both map and written form with the association. Even failed borewells need to be maintained as informative data for suitable planning.

Educate the residents on water consumption and sewage treatment and encourage conservative use of water

Employ the best skills and technologies for they are the cheapest and most sustainable in the long run in maintaining and using the assets created for water supply and sanitation

It is possible to use the 10-point sutra and be completely sustainable for water and sanitation without depending on private tankers or the city suppliers.



One comment

  1. Thank you for posting this. Some good tips especially for the average youngster to follow in the urban set up. Water utilization needs to be optimized in order to implement effective usage of minimal water resources for as much work as possible. As the population is going up, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a steady water supply all round the year!

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