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ESG Meet 23 September 2009. A Brief Report.

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EnvironmentLakesEverything elseWater

The Conference was from 9:30 AM to about 4PM. Attended by about 50 odd people. The organizers were disappointed  a little as their expectations were much more.

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From Environment Support Group Meet 26 September 2009. A Brief Report. Kindly Click on the link to see the Picassa album for more pictures. 

Bhargavi S Rao of ESG was the coordinator. 

Laxman Rao of Forest department.

He gave the introduction to this seminar. Focus on lakes was given by With urbanization as the driving engine Urban areas have doubled from 20 to the current 40% levels. This has direct effect on Quality of life vis a vis reduction of open lung spaces. Bangalore in 1949 was approximately 49 Sq km. It has expanded to about 760 Sq. km, in 2009. The growth is almost exponential. The norm of lung space which is around 11 Sq mt per person, has decreased from 7 to 2.82 sq. mt. as on 2003 stats. 

Topology of Bangalore, at height of 3000 ft above sea level, is basically these three valleys:-

  1. Varthur / Bellandur
  2. Hebbal
  3. Rishabahvati 

Morning Session


1. Esha Shah 

“A Historical Anthropology of Tank Irrigation Technology in South India (The scientific study of the origin, the behavior, and the physical, social, and cultural development of humans) “

The above paper was presented by Esha, a research fellow with the institute for development studies at the University of Sussex UK. She an environmental engineer turned in to a social scientist teaching anthropology and history of science and technology related to agrarian development in India. Her talk mainly focused on South Indian mythology (A body or collection of myths belonging to a people and addressing their origin, history, deities, ancestors, and heroes.) relevant to tank history. 

Conclusions: The tanks in south India were constructed by the hard labor of “Voddas” a labor class tank builders. They are considered as lower class socially. This was under coercion  Esha has collected loads of folk lore on the subject of method of tank building, water deities and worshiping water god so to say in ancient India. 

2. Professor Ravindra  

He covered important area on the dynamics of Lakes. These lakes were all interconnected by a canal system called “Rajakaluves”, on the three valleys as mentioned above. Bangalore which had 543 lakes to begin with has currently about 372 covering approximately 593 hectakers. There were 1260 minor lakes. The lakes were manly seasonal to start with. Now they have been transformed in to perennial lakes. Thanks to sanitary / sewage water which is flowing in the Storm Water Drains discharging directly in to the lakes. There are a network of 12 Rajakluves which are encroached upon. Approximately about 8000 mld of untreated sewagewater is carried in the existing rajakaulves. Approximately 7 crores per lake is the cost of rejuvenation of these lakes. Mnay of these lakes were seasonal serving as fott ball / hockey fields during dry days of the year.


3. Justice Santosh Hegde  

He dealt with the government’s total failure in Town Planning in not segregating Industrial / IT area from residential / Business area. He was also critical of government not developing IT in other parts of Karnataka like Tumkur Mysre Mangalore etc. In 1985 drought 200 hundred TN families migrated in to Bangalore. TN has not provided relief. To day a situation is created such that people of Karnataka have to migrate out of Bangalore. The Justice main lament was about the caliber of to days politicians who lack statesmanship. About lake encroachment his suggestion was PIL before start of actual construction begins. The main problem is the apartments where the money is collected from public, who become part of litigation. Each rupee spent by government only 15 paisa reaches the beneficiary. GDP goes up but it is mainly those of tatas and birlas. Cross your fingers. 

The next generation will have to rediscover 100 lies of Hitler. Learn to live with nature rather than perish in concrete jungles.

Judges need to be: 

  1. educated in Institutions like National Judicial    Academies.
  2. Be accountable
  3. Understanding importance of intrim   orders
  4. Sensiitising Babus
  5. Understanding Lakes as no mans land
  6. Etc


Post Lunch Session


1. AR Shiva Kumar,  Executive Secretary, i/c and principle Investigator – RWH KSCST, IISc Bangalore. 

Air Water and Light are the three natural resources responsible for life on the planet earth. Water resourece are:-

  1. Natural Springs [No more common]
  2. Step Wells [What are they?]
  3. Ponds
  4. Lakes 

Chellaghatta Lake is now KGF Glof course. Rishibhavati valley water goes back to cauvey. 57% of Cauvery water pumped to Bangalore is not accounted. Bangalore gets 1000 mm of rain. People are so much accustomed to centrally piped water that even in cities like Sakaleshpur people struggle for drinking water. We can do away with half the present Cauvery water. 

2. Lawyer Sunil 

He compared Litigation as remedy for injustice to a stone used for fighting. Mitigation of deleterious effects on environment of any kind of developmental activity should be enforceable under the present law of the country. He gave some details of the PIL on lakes of Bangalore. Lakes belong to revenue department currently. He informed us that Laxman rao committee report has been accepted by the government. Government has passed an order that all lakes should be transferred to forest department with Natural Fencing of Trees. Lake development authority which is a non profit organization making money from lakes is not correct. Public access to lakes being mandatory charging entry fee by privatizing is not legal. The PIL is Forest Department Vs Governament. 

3. AT Ramaswamy  (Chairman of Ramaswamy committee ) 

In short his talk centered on corruption that has reached its pinnacle, in all spears of life. This was really a sad story. I did not take notes. He spoke very well. His speech was in Kannada. (I thought he was a politician) 

4. Leo Saldhana Convener ESG. 

He did a wonderful job hosting the meeting and the second session.


silkboard's picture

Thanks for the report sir

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Thank you for the report PSA sir.

Possible to share more of what Mr Ramaswamy spoke. No idea whats up with his report these days. Newspapers too have forgotten about it lately.

Also - who put out this statement - "57% of Cauvery water pumped to Bangalore is not accounted."

Thats a big one - who did the speakers say is at fault for this? BWSSB alone? Does "not accounted" mean not being "paid for" (illegal connections - BWSSB's stat was 36%), or loss in water transport (bringing water from Cauvery to Bangalore)?

Should have attended this one. Feel bad for missing it.

RKCHARI's picture

That Report Speaks Volumes!

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Psa Saar,

Thanks a million for attending and them summarising the day's events so accurately bringing out all salient features of the various talks.

Strange that no one seems to have any concrete solution to offer (except guys like me who go hoarse shouting about availability of ecological solutions, but no one seems to care!)!

When I meet the ESG folks next time, I will try my best to "educate" everyone there about some of the the solutions they can consider. Let us hope the next brainstorming session leads to some concrete action.

Thanks once again PSA garu.




tsubba's picture


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thanks psa sir.

that was useful. (expecially since i got some positive reinforcement aka support for my theory from the good meshtru :)

Also read Lawyer Sunil carefully. Is he with ESG? Can he discuss some of those issues here? We badly need some lawyers here to help us understand how all this fits.

so AT Ramaswamy was there? You mean AT Ramaswamy of AT Ramaswamy Commission? WoW!! Next time you meet him, can you please his autograph for me. I am a huge fan.


psaram42's picture

I have corrected the report which was written in a hurry

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 Sorry it was confusing about who made the statement: 

57% of Cauvery water pumped to Bangalore is not accounted. Bangalore gets 1000 mm of rain.” 

It Was by AR Shivkumar as is made clear now.

Thanks for pointing out, SB.

sanjayv's picture

Unaccounted water

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 Dear SB: BWSSB has about 45% Unaccounted For Water (UFW) as I wrote in my gyaan section on BWSSB earlier.  It is a very well known fact.  Reasons include leaking pipes, unauthorized connections etc. They had a pilot project with L&T in couple of wards to detect and fix leaking pipelines.  I am not sure what happened after that.

Another interesting point, in the IISc event, it was pointed out that Victoria hospital had a water bill of 35-40 lakhs per month (expenses on medicines per month for 4000-5000 patients was about 15 lakhs).  A lot of this was due to leaks, unauthorized connections etc.  After recent corrective measures the water bill is 15-20 lakhs per month!


tsubba's picture

the 3 valleys

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if the 3 valleys are important, then i suggest we conceptually break blr into 3 regions and  make the waters from these 3 lakes an inalienable part of consumable water for these regions. that consumer interest. and only that can stem the rot.

for example koramangala, i'nagra etc should depend on belandur for waters. jaynagara, vijaynagra etc on "erstwhile" arkavathy" etc. just bcoz technology allows it, if you start pumping in from cauvery then this is never going to see an end.

sanjayv's picture

Actually, this was another point discussed at IISc

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 The zero discharge city concept was discussed at IISc.  Some experts there felt that this is the future.  One of the IiSc profs who said he works extensively with BWSSB said that BWSSB has some crazy ideas along those lines (crazy, not in a bad sense of the word... just that they were far out ideas). We have to engage with this organization.  I also made friends with an Asst Executive Engineer of the BWSSB and got some info from him.  Nice guy... was very interested and making detailed notes.  I did not write notes on that in this forum because some of my thoughts on this are more from a gut feel level than based on clear facts.  I got a feeling that this is a strange organization... with ideas and good people and its own head-in-the-sand-edness  to coin a term. We have to engage with them...somehow.

psaram42's picture

Pumping water from far away Cauvery Vs self sufficient RWH

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 This was the sentiment echoed through out the seminar by one panelist after other. In fact I would go further than Tarale if you don’t mind sir, that Residents of Bangalore for that matter those of the whole planet should get their drinking water locally preferably by efficient RWH techniques of each residence. It would in fact be a natural and wise choice. If you think of it this will save humanity of the in-evitable embarrassment sooner or later, in context of population explosion. Don’t we see movies like Swadesh, where a space scientist does a drinking water project stunt?

I am game to elaborate on this theory if some interested would like to pitch in. In Praja people are more conscious of Traffic rather than the greater life critical global issues. I am not complaining!

RKCHARI's picture

I am game!

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PSA Sir,

I am game to pitch in on working on any theory that popularises RWH (as being in preference to traffic related problems).

I think you have hit the head on the nail when you say each and every person on this p[lanet must be self sufficient in getting his or her own requirement of water from nature's abundance in the form of rainwater which needs to be properly harvested.

You will be glad to know that I have managed to persuade HDFC Bank to seriously consider funding RWH projects for individual homes by arranging micro financing for the home owner. The nitty gritty is being worked out and I expect an extremely attractive package for home owners on the lines of a fixed EMI to be worked out soon. I hope this will be incentive enough to go in for RWH systems which actually work!




Naveen's picture

Great Report !

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Thanks PSA Sir - enjoyed the report & would have certainly made it to the conference if I had been in bangalore.

psaram42's picture

A T Ramaswamy committee report

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here is the link to the TOI Bangalore article, published to day.

  “The jinxed A T Ramaswamy committee report on encroachments will soon come to life again”

Earlier Hindu report is here.


sanjayv's picture

Copy of Ramaswamy report

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 This report should be public record right?  Wonder if a copy is available somewhere?  This is the sort of thing that should be out there in the public domain so that the public can exercise some caution while doing any sort of land related dealings in these "encroached" areas.

psaram42's picture

Perhaps TOI could help us out?

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 We should contact the Editor, TOI Bangalore Mr. HS Balaram. After 4 PM he should be available at his office. I will try to get his contact number. comment guidelines

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