Brookefield Bangalore on 25 Feb 2012, Saturday saw a very special crowd gathering in a conference hall. Around 78 busy & successful Home Owners spent their valuable Saturday trying to understand how they can make the Water Supply situation better for their Apartment Community!
The second Water Workshop for Apartment/Villa Communities saw participants from 50+ Apartment Communities with a total of 78 participants (Attendee List Here)! Participants were mainly Management Committee Members, with one of them – Rohit Talukdar, representing Alpine Eco as well as SNS Arcade, bringing his Fiancee!. Two other Dads brought their pre-schoolers, complete with Toys and Snacks!
Before we jump into the Workshop report, our heartiest thanks to Meera K, Co-founder of CitizenMatters and also President of Raindrops are Falling on my Head Apartment Complex – for anchoring the Workshop, with insightful questions.
Details from each Workshop Session
The Welcome Address was presented by Venkat Kandaswamy, Director of ADDA.com. Venkat listed the 2 main Sleep-Robbers Management Committees of Apartment Complexes
1) How to run the day-to-day management of a modern Apartment/Villa Complex – a problem that ADDA directly helps in solving
2) Managing Un-Interrupted as well as Cost-Effective Water Supply for the Complex – a problem that ADDA can’t solve but can bring the relevant stakeholders and experts together on a single platform.
This workshop is that platform. He concluded by saying “We may have Money, but still we may not have Water. Let’s learn from the Experts how we can take on the Water Problems in our Apartment and Villa Complexes”.
Session 1: State’s Water Supply scenario & Restoration of Lakes
Speaker: Dr. Ashwin Mahesh, CEO at Mapunity, Professor for Public Policy in IIM, Urban Research Strategist for Govt. of Karnataka
- Problem: Not enough water from Cauvery to Supply. 1000 people move to Bangalore every day.
- The problem is more acute in Multi-Story units as complex facilities are handed over by the Builder. Plumbing, Piping restructures etc. are challenges.
- Surface area in Multi-Story units is less, <so Rain Water Harvesting yields limited benefits>.
- The problem is not techno Managerial – not a matter of laying pipe alone, or rejuvenating lakes alone, each has its limitations. It is a social problem – of getting buy-in from all stakeholders and involving maximum people in any initiative.
- Initiatives to “Create Water” have to be undertaken – Water has to be re-used or new sources of water identified internally.
- Lakes can be recreated to turn them into local Water Supply. 5000 to 10,000 families can get water from a typical Bangalore lake.
- In Puttenahalli, 200 families eacy invested Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000 and a little bit of effort into the process of restoring the Lake. It has brought back Rs.200/sq.ft. to each family in the form of property appreciation due to a well-functioning lake.
- The keenest lesson is investing in ourselves is considerably more rewarding than putting the same amount in the stock market. This is something that Apartment Owners must understand when faced with investing in Water-related initiative.
- Millions of people are paying Rs.30 – Rs.45 per Kilo-Litre of Water. If Rs.2 of this Rs.45/KL can be invested to do something on RWH, dual water supply system etc. or buying technology, then the high recurring Expenses on Water can be contained. A way to do this could be:
Form a Working Group for Technology & Finance.
Understand the Technology-Finance Curve.
Start deploying a Solution.
- Increasing the people committed towards each Initiative is the best way an Initiative can be scaled and made successful.
Related Presentation: BWSSB Presentation on Cauvery Supply Realities
Session 2: All about Borewells
Speaker: Avinash Krishnamurthy, Director of Biome Solutions
- For most Apartment Complexes the single largest Source of Water are Borewells. A borewell – a hole in the ground.
- Borewells bore too deep into the ground (600 to 900 feet), till the deepest layer – the Bedrock. The bedrock holds water in cracks and fissures in rocks, and the Bedrock is called a Deep Aquifier. This water source takes long to replenish.
- In contrast Open Wells bore only till the “Shallow Aquifier” (200-300 feet) which is the Spongy Layer of the Soil. This layer is like sponge and Water gets replenished easily by Storm Water Drains or Recharge Wells.
- Hydrofracturing was discussed during this session. Hydrofracturing (or Borewell Flushing) is a process undertaken to recharge wells. This involves injecting water under high pressure and flow rate into the Bedrock, via the well. This cleans out the fractures and interconnects them to neigboring water holding bodies to improve the yield of the Well. The general consensus was that this is not always a successful process.
- In most Apartment Complexes, the water from Borewell is stored in an Overhead Tank. However, in some High-Rises, there are no Overhead tanks. Whenever a Flat opens a tap, a hydro-pneumatic pump is set to work to get water right from the bore-well. This is known to be an expensive process.
Session 3: Water Metering – Why and How
Speakers: Avinash Krishnamurthy, Sridhar B (Ashoka Windows & Annexe), Jaywanth Bhardwaj (Rainbow Drive Layout)
- The average Water Consumption should be: 135 Litres per Capita per Day. The actual Water Consumption is 250 Litres per Capita per Day.
- Setting Water Meters for Individual Homes is the most important Tool to tell people this is a scarce resource.
- Most Apartment Complexes in Bangalore, collect a flat amount per household and put them in one kitty – Maintenance Fund. It is important that Water be costed separately, so should be the Electricity.
- There is a high “ecological cost of water”, which is the cost of returning the water to Nature in the quality in which we extracted it. This is where our high Water Treatment (STP) costs come in picture. Water Tariff needs to be set keeping both the Cost of Supply and the Cost of Sewage Treatment together. Reducing Water Consumption also reduces the Sewage Volume, hence the overall cost can be contained.
Challenges in Water Metering were discussed.
Participants from Shriram Samruddhi mentioned that in 3bhks there are 4 water inlets. The operational cost of 4 meters per flat is high – meter maintenance, reading etc. Wireless metering is available, which costs Rs.6,000 per meter, making the expense to each Flat Rs.25k, also the RFID reader costs in Lakhs.
Participant from Brigade Gateway also agreed with Shriram Samruddhi in having similar challenge.
However, the next presentation by Sridhar B. who is the President of Ashoka Windows & Annexe, and installed water meters for all 110 Flats, brought fresh hope.
Related Article: Triumph of 32 Water Meters – Kannan Venkitachalam’s complete description of Water Metering in Mana Sarovar Apartments in Marathalli.
- Jayawanth Bhardwaj from Rainbow Drive Layout presented his learnings from deploying Comprehensive Set of Water Reforms in his Layout. His lessons were more around People Management while initiating radical reforms.
- In the layout the consumption per month varied between 10KL per household to 200KL in some households! The Water Tariff was per Kilo Litre, with no Slab Rates. The Water Tariff also seemed much less than the actual Water Cost.
- Jayawanth collated all water related expenses – Plumbing, Borewell Electricity, Valve Replacements etc. Then it struck him that the STP cost was not included in the Water Tariff.
- The true Price was Rs.24 per KL while the originally charged Tariff was just Rs.6 per KL.
- The next challenge obviously was to convince the General Body for hiking the Water Tariff by 4X.
Jayawanth’s lessons to Management Committees, to get buy-in on radical Initiatives:
- You need to present data, to make your statement.
- Never get into discussions over email, insist on Face-to-Face.
- Insist on written Feedback, and any discussion needs to be with a group of MC, preferably 12 members.
- The fact to be conveyed is that only 10% of Households may be wasting water, but penalizing 90% of the households.
- When a Circular is to be sent, all information must not be exposed, only the key points.
- Don’t give too much of complex data – provide data as and when required.
- Mobilize support by talking to Group of Residents.
Session 3: Sewage Treatment Plants
Speakers: Dr. Ananth Kodavasal, Dr. Dhanraj Chokappa
Below presentation was given by Dr. Ananth from Ecotech Engineering.
The recycled water fed to the Toilet Flushes was unacceptable by the Residents due to the low Recycle Quality – the water was murky and stinky. The poor water quality of the recycled water was found to be due to vioation of all 3 tenets of a good STP – Design, Engineering and Operations. This was rectified with required investment and change of Operations Vendor and the STP has been functioning perfectly for the last couple of years.
Session 4: RainWater Harvesting
Speakers: Ayyappa Masagi, Shankar Rao
Mr. Shankar Rao who is an expert on RainWater Harvesting presented the case of RWH in Brigade Millennium Cassia Block.
Ayyappa’s work for Apartment / Villa Complexes also involves re-charging in-active borewells. He does this by utilizing open areas to create Re-charge wells. These wells receive rainwater filter them and direct to the Sump. Alternately the recharge wells can receive grey water, filter them and recharge the borewells.
Ayyappa’s work leverages the Traditional methods of Borewell recharging where the Shallow Aquifier which is the spongy layer of the soil can be utilized the most for drawing water as well as replenishing.
That closed the loop on this workshop : )
Contact information of all Speakers:
Avinash Krishnamurthy: avinash(at)biome-solutions(dot)com
Dr. Ananth Kodavasal: ecotech.bangalore(at)gmail(dot)com
Ayyappa Masagi: rainwatermasagi2000(at)yahoo(dot)co(dot)in
Shankar Rao: refurb_india(at)yahoo(dot)com