Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)

Before Bangalore city goes dry – Let’s close the loop

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Sep 18 2019 - Shiva, 38 years, staying in a pent-house facing the Bellandur lake paid a bomb for this view 10 years back. But in 2019, often he wakes up to snow-flaked froth and smog and even shockingly fire over the lake. It has become a regular sight for him to watch water tankers filling the underground sump. 

Wondering how the beautiful water rich city is approaching its doom’s day?


Water disequilibrium in Bangalore

The city of lakes, Bangalore, that once had 900 lakes has now reduced to 189 lakes, due to unplanned and irrational urbanisation. Indiscriminate disposal of untreated industrial effluents, small scale defunct sewage treatment plants, over drawing of underground water, illegal water pumping; has put lot of stress on potable water. This has resulted in expensive and scarcity of freshwater.

The silicon-valley of India is forecasted to urbanise from 8 million people today to 20.3 million in 2031. With the expansion of the city there will be an exponential increase in water demand by 30 % in within the next three years creating a shortage of 330 MLD by 2021.

Bangalore is sourced by Cauvery river, urban and rural borewells. The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewage Board (BWSSB), civil body in Bangalore supplies 356 Million Gallon per day through pipelines and 45 Million Gallons per day through water-tankers. The water supplied through tankers by government is sold at a fixed rate of INR 100/Kilo litre. Over and above this, there are private tankers catering to increasing water demand. There is no publicly reliable data on total water supplied by private tankers. The price of private tankers is unregulated and varies from INR 58 /Kilo Litre to INR 330/ Kilo Litre.

Let’s Close the loop

In Bangalore around 190 Million Gallon water per day is treated by centralised sewage treatment plants set up by civil body in Bangalore. Less than 30% wastewater water is used for aquafer and public landscapes. The remaining treated recycled water is discharged in rivers and lakes. However, this can be very well utilised for various other purposes to reduce freshwater intake. The non-consumptive across these sectors is more than 70% of the freshwater consumption which is predominantly sourced from ground water or private water tanker. So, what’s the solution to economically reduce our water footprint?

There are lot of options to conserve and judiciously use water – monitoring, conservation, reusing the treated wastewater, etc. Water management and monitoring are definite solutions but not long-term answers for rapid urbanisation. Using recycled water is a sustainable solution, which non-consummative purposes across different sectors; Industries, Residential, Commercial, etc.

In 2017, Bangalore Municipal Authority announced the mandatory installation of Sewage treatment plant in residential gated apartments with more than 50 flats. But this notification faced major pushback from Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) due to high initial cost, regular maintenance cost, space constraint to install sewage treatment plant and existing infrastructures constrains. Facilities with sewage treatment plant, uses only 20% of the recycled water and remaining is flushed into underground discharge line.

Also, centralised wastewater sector is highly unorganised, and the excess treated wastewater is unscientifically discharge into freshwater bodies. Lack of an unplanned supply chain model leads to wastage of a precious resource. Recycled water is 60% cheaper than potable water. The 19 Million Gallon of water per day is treated to Grade III water (tertiary level) which government is willing to sell at INR 60/ Kilo Litre.


Rent-On-Recycle Water

This brings the opportunity for Rent-O-ReWa (RoR) to close the loop with a sustainable long-term solution. The solution intents to strengthen the water supply chain and reduce the freshwater demand. It is an online platform for recycled water trading. The platform would link the excess water suppliers with the buyers through:

  • On demand availability of Recycled Water.
  • Pre-booking services: This service will assure availability of desired quantity of water to a certain limit.
  • Water Quality Test report: With every tanker of water, RoR will provide a water quality test report certifying the grade of water to ensure that the water quantity meets the desired quality.
  • Hassle Free Payments:  Provide purchase orders, bills and receipts to organize expenditure for water consumption.

The platform gives multiple benefits to the buyers and sellers of recycle water:

  • for sellers recycled water is a waste, and they can earn money,
  • buyers can save up to 60% of money by using recycled water.

The platform will reduce 15 Million Gallon per day in our first third year, saving above INR 3 crores for Bangalore government and private users.

The idea of Rent-o-Rent was originated in April’19. The Greenpreneurs program is informative, captivating and well structured. The program is perfect for those who want to start a business, and even for anyone who wants to formulate an idea into a business plan. The mentorship and critical reviewing from Ryan Brown and Shantanu Gotmare helped us develop and improve our business plan. The skills that we gained through this workshop will help the team succeed in all aspects of our start up journey. GGGI have inspired us to be social innovators in our globalized society.

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