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BWSSB's plans

Finally, a plan/proposal/idea that shows some clear out of the box thinking and goes beyond the currently fashionable gospels of maintenance, sustenance and development models. In rediscovering the original purpose of many of these man-made lakes of bangalore - as a source of potable water - bwssb might have hit upon a truely sustainable 'novel' idea to save our lakes.

DH News Service, Bangalore:

The CM also gave his stamp of approval to BWSSB’s ambitious integrated water management scheme, which envisages to supply lake water and used-water from treatment plants for potable purpose, and two elevated corridors to ease traffic congestion. BWSSB project With the rapidly expanding Bangalore facing severe shortage of drinking water, the BWSSB has drawn up a Rs 2,533-crore project to supply treated water drawn from selected lakes and tertiary treatment plants to residents, mainly to those living on the outskirts.

“Bangalore is facing around 40 per cent shortfall in water supply. While the demand is 1,200 million litres per day (MLD), the availability is just around 870 MLD. Hence, we have decided to make use of water available in lakes for potable purpose,” he told reporters. As per the plan, water from 80 selected lakes will be drawn, treated, mixed with potable water and supplied to consumers. Similarly, it also plans to convert sewage water into potable by first treating the same in a treatment plant and mix it with fresh Cauvery water before supplying it to residents. Special Ultra Filtration Membrane treatment will be done to ensure that water is bacteria-free. It will also be disinfected. As per the cost, the treated water will be cheaper than the Cauvery water. While the cost of supplying every kilolitre (KL) of Cauvery water is Rs 16, a KL of treated water will cost anywhere between Rs 12.50 and Rs 14.

Recycled lake water

DH News Service, Bangalore:

The proposed plan to supply treated lake water for drinking purpose, will not dry up lakes. Instead, the project will help their rejuvenation and upkeep, BWSSB Chairperson Lata Krishna Rao said. She further said the project is environment-friendly. BWSSB has been diverting treated water from its secondary and tertiary treatment plants to several lakes. In fact, this is the reason many lakes in Bangalore are full. BWSSB is presently treating around 360 million litre of water per day. When the treated water is discharged into the lake, it gets blended with the lake water. Then, under the proposed project, water from the lake will be drawn and treated using a special method, making it potable. “This water will be much better than bottled water,” she claimed.

When his opinion was sought, A K Verma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests said that in many western countries recycling of water is being done to tied over the water shortage. Treatment plants should be erected at the mouth of lakes and only treated water should be let to lakes. If lake water is used scientifically, then there would be no problem. Lakes should be recharged and water impounding capacity should be increased. If such measures are taken then lake water could be harnessed , he added.

tsubba's picture

A beautiful idea

Finally, a plan/proposal/idea that shows some clear out of the box thinking and goes beyond the currently fashionable gospels of maintenance, sustenance and development models. In rediscovering the original purpose of many of these man-made lakes of bangalore - as a source of potable water - bwssb might have hit upon a truely sustainable 'novel' idea to save our lakes. The first thing that is beautiful about this idea is that it assigns a clearly defined function to the lakes. Better yet, the assigned function is of fundamental importance to the city. These 80 lakes are for water supply.

This is an idea that almost everybody can wrap their heads around and respond to. Environment, trees, birds, etc., are fuzzy, even if noble, functions for many city dwellers. If they say water source, i think many more people will understand and respond. One of the side effects of this clarity of purpose is that it also fixes the model of maintenenace & governance for these lakes. Especially when constrained for resources, huge lakes, spanning 100s of acres with no visible use for the city, obfuscates their real latent importance and creates confusion and blurs vision. The result, they start talking about theme parks, hotels, malls PPP, BOT, BOOT, LDA etc ... on lakes. Fixing purpose, clears the cobwebs and establishes the ownership and responsibility of the state in the matter. There might be inefficiencies and discrepencies but some things the state has to own upto and wash its hands off. it also could correctly make the bwssb responsible for lakes. if the pipes and drains leading to and fro from the lakes are bwwsb's mandate then so should the lakes themselves be. Fixing the purpose of the lakes as a source of water supply, could also lead to straightening out upstream and littoral issues like dumping and encroachment. it might not happen overnight, but those things will eventually have to fixed. This also a step towards self sustenance for bangalore and easying of burden for South Karnataka.

The next thing will be to educate the public on the subject. Ms. Lata Krishna Rao will do well to hit the tv channels and newspapers with information of water scracity, treatment options, quality of treated water, etc etc... This will take a lot of political will. But if Yedi can pull this off, then he will go down in the history books as a tall leader. I might be reading more than what the bwssb has in its mind. But this connecting lakes and using them as a water source has been my favourite idea.

karihaida's picture

Great idea

I agree with Tarlesubba. Finally a sensible idea from the gov't, hope this is executed completely. The residents of the  beneficiary areas must make sure that they keep up the pressure on BWSSB to ward off any lobby pressures.
s_yajaman's picture

Water - 3Rs critical

With all the focus on traffic, this area has finally got its due importance.  The amount of non-sewage water that gets wasted.

I would say that 50-60% of water used in a house can be made fit for reuse with minimal amount of work.  Water used in the kitchen, washing and bathing has not really become overly polluted.  It is the toilet water that needs a lot more treatment. They need to start segregating this at source.

Rainwater harvesting should be enforced.  One way is to have smart pricing so that beyond a usage level using BWSSB water becomes expensive and rainwater harvesting becomes economical. 


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.


Electricity supply and services improved a lot when KEB (Karnataka Electricity Board) was split into KPTCL and respective ESCOMs (BESCOM, CESCOM et al).

Similarly, BWSSB could perform better if it would be split into seperate companies and hence invested with more power to crackdown on unauthorised water connections and provide technical assistance to builders to install and maintain rainwater / water treatment facilities.

Ideally, BWSSB could be split into BWSCOM (Bangalore Water Supply Company) and BSTCOM (Bangalore Sewerage Treatment Company). If both companies concentrate on their core competencies, then each could play out with it's respective advantages and improve effeciencey of water supply and treatment. 

narayan82's picture

Rain Water Harvesting

I sure hope this is implemented. We should also re work our storm water drains to supply rain water to the lakes. With this new idea, contaminations such as Drains leading to Lakes (like in ulsoor) will be put to and end. Also Once people around the lake realize that it is their water source, they themselves will help keep the lake clean.
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
dr nag's picture

Bold idea, safety first though

Without doubt, we all consume recycled water everyday - whether from river source or ground water - nature does it in abundance for us!. The only hope is that BWSSB adheres to proven methodologies adopted by other developed countries who value their citizens' safety as a priority. Most of the western countries do not advice using recycled water for drinking purpose directly, despite ensuring the safety of the water.

Can this be an opportunity for BWSSB to bifurcate the water supply lines into potable water line(for bathing, drinking and cooking pupose - where water comes into direct contact with humans) and non potable water line (for other uses as in flushing the toilet, washing machine, car wash, gardening, fountains etc)?

Further reading:

George E Matthew's picture

Land Grabbing/Pollution near Bellandur Lake

My workplace is quite close to Bellandur lake, and I often visit it at sunset, as it is quite scenic. Unfortunately, it has at least two major problems that preclude its usage as a source of drinking water.


At the western end of the lake(near Yamalur village), the water STINKS. The stench is overpowering. Some sort of foamy effluent can also been seen. I wonder who is dumping that into the lake. At any rate, I would not want to bathe in such water, let alone drink it.Despite this, I can see that borewells have been dug nearby, and supply water to private water tankers.I can only pity the customers of these tankers who are probably the residents of Kaggadasapura/Marathalli which does not yet have BWSSB water.


Much of the area around Bellandur lake was marshland. It attracted a lot of birds. Some areas around this lake are still used for agriculture and paddy fields-truly an anomaly for a part of Bangalore that is inside the Outer Ring Road. However, this is slowly changing. The area behind Innovative Multiplex was marshland/swampland as recently as early 2007 . This was connected to the marshes near the lake through a small channel, behind DivyaShree Technopolis Building(housing Logic CMG/I2 Technologies).

Since April 2007, a constant stream of lorries have been dumping sand into this marsh. By Jan 2008, it was completely filled. It is now a large sandy area in the flight path of HAL airport, with an access to the ORR. This is situated next to and behind the water treatment plant of BWSSB.Today,I saw earthmovers digging it again-obviously to start construction of a large office complex. This is land grabbing on a massive scale.

Obviously, this has been going on from at least HDK's time and continues today. Whoever is behind this is clearly very powerful and influential to remain unfazed in his land grabbing, despite three governments in the last one year.

This affects the catchment and natural filtering of the lake, further reducing its water quality. Soon, other parts of the marsh will also get swallowed by the land mafia.

The lake itself is undeveloped. Apart from one board indicating that the LDA is "protecting" the lake , there is no sign of development/cleaning. It is a ripe situation for land grabbers.

The water quality from this lake is bound to be terrible. I cannot see how it can be used for drinking.

If there is a silver lining, it is this. One part of the lake is bounded by an AirForce base and HAL airport.These authorities will not do any encroachement from their side, and will also not allow land to be grabbed either. However, unless somebody does something soon to stop encroachments/pollution, this lake will die.



tsubba's picture

more on BWSSB's plans

BWSSB for PR exercise on water treatment P M Raghunandan Deccan Herald Excerpts ... BWSSB has already called Expression of Interest (EoI) from PR firms who have experience in handling water and environmental issues. The board’s plan is to supply water from selected lakes and tertiary treatment plants after treating it with Special Ultra Filtration Membrane. For this, 80 lakes have been identified and they will be first cleaned up and rejuvenated by BBMP and BDA. The estimated project cost is Rs 2,533 crore, and is approved by CM Yeddyurappa. Educating consumers It is feared that people may not readily accept the idea of consuming treated water as it is being experimented for the first time. Unless consumers are properly educated through demonstrations, the idea is unlikely to sink into the minds of people. In fact, official sources said, experts are of the view that BWSSB should first elicit the views of people and, only if a majority of target consumers are open to the idea, the board should commence the project. Besides the services of PR firm, BWSSB is going to keep its laboratories at Secondary Treatment Plants (STPs) and Tertiary Treatment Plans (TTPs) open for public. Citizens can drop in at these labs and examine the potability of treated water, BWSSB Chairperson Latha Krishna Rao said. “We will carry out a massive publicity campaign to convince people that BWSSB’s treated water under the proposed project will indeed be potable. The work on the project will also commence simultaneously,” she stated. She said in the absence of Cauvery water supply, people living in the vicinity of lakes have been drinking lake water in many parts of the city by drawing it through borewells. “We are going to treat this water to make it potable and then supply,” she added. The water board has decided to implement the project on its own. Hence, it has sought grants from the State Government. “All projects related to utilising lake water will be handled by BWSSB. Only those related to treatment plants, will be implemented on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis,” the Chairperson said.
tsubba's picture

treated water

BWSSB magic: Clean water from sewage Deccan Herald It says BWSSB has been ... ... treating sewage water and the product is used for non-potable purposes. At present 40 MLD of sewage water is treated at treatment plants in Yelahanka and VV Valley. The people have been using treated water for construction purposes and gardening. Water treated at these plants has not yet been suggested for potable purposes. The conversion of tank water or sewage water to potable involves a series of steps. The steps include increasing quantity of dissolved oxygen in water, bringing down amount of total dissolved solids, removal of colour and odour and disinfection. The Board will be following a series of steps to achieve these objectives. Cost factor The project also brings down cost of production of water for drinking purposes. The Board is spending Rs 16 to bring in one kilo litre of Cauvery water to City. River water is pumped at three places. Whereas supply of water from lakes costs between Rs 12.50 to Rs 14 per kilo litre as it is pumped only once. However, the State government has ruled out reduction in water fare for those who use treated water. Urban Development Department Principal Secretary Jyothiramalingam has said that the government cannot have two different prices in the City.
tsubba's picture

thanks dr nag & matthew sir

thanks dr nag that was an informative article. thanks matthew for that note on bellandur lake. you have natural style for logging experiences and observations. regarding sand dumping i think SB made similar observations based on pics he took while in flight. has this been noticed by folks at HU and ESG?
tsubba's picture

Daily water supply in city

Daily water supply in city in four years: Katta The Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), which is facing a shortfall of 349 million litres of water a day (MLD) to meet the drinking water requirements of the city, will take another four years to supply water daily to every household. The board would need 18 more months to provide water to all the newly added areas. “It is inevitable for the residents to depend on mini-water schemes and borewells till then. Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa recently sanctioned Rs. 100 crore for putting up more mini-water schemes and drilling borewells,” the Minister said. The board would replace old and corroded pipelines at a cost of Rs. 170 crore in the next two years and put up dual pipelines in all new layouts, he said. comment guidelines

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