Ground water is a primary source of water in Bengaluru, especially for peripheral areas of the city which are not connected to the city municipal supply (BWSSB). Around 40% of total water requirement of the city is met through ground water, which is largely unregulated. It is a scarce resource and many areas including the South east areas (Electronics City- Sarjapur-Bellandur-Whitefield corridor) are severely stressed. There is a high reliance on private supply (tanker) of water, the source of which is again mostly ground water. Ground water being a shared common pool resource, the governance choices are complex – from unregulated to centralized responses to community centered management. Data plays a crucial role in assessing groundwater resource and then in planning towards managing the resource. However, groundwater resources continue to be a ‘blind spot’ in urban planning on one side and ‘Groundwater Management’ on the other.
Through the three year Participative Ground Water Management (PGWM) Project, we aim to pilot a community centered participatory approach to management of ground water. The watershed area selected for this program, is part of the Yamalur watershed, and extends for approximately 34 square kilometers around Wipro’s corporate office. A central idea of the program is to build advocacy with government organizations and city authorities through community centered engagement.
The broad outputs of the program in the first phase (18 month, till Dec 2015) were as follows:
- Conversations/engagements with diverse stakeholders - residents, government bodies, and academia - through events, conducted tours
- Preliminary understanding of certain characteristics of aquifer: possible water level zones, relationships with land use and surface water (lakes)
- Documentation of best practices, potential uses of treated water, treatment solutions and understanding of change enablers and levers. This has been done based on quality and quantitative studies of around 16 water bodies (lakes), continuing monitoring of around 30+ bore-wells, open wells, land use, geology of the region and case studies and responses at a reasonably granular level.
The next phase of the program, from Jan 2016, focuses on community engagement through communication and action research projects. It will broadly comprise of two tracks - hydrogeology science track and the social track. Both of them reinforce and inform each other.
This program is being anchored by BIOME Environmental Solutions based in Bengaluru with hydrogeology expertise from ACWADAM (Pune) and mapping-IT solutions from Mapunity (Bengaluru).