MoM from meeting with Prof. M.Sekhar

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Notes from our meeting with Prof. M. Sekhar, Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil Engg., Indian Institute of Science.

Participants: Shekhar Mittal, Neha Dar, Deepak Rajanna.

Our discussion mainly revolved around the IISc report on groundwater commissioned by the BMRCL. See Two important sources of information exist on the ground water situation in Bangalore.

1. The Department of Mines and Geology which has 8 collection points spread around Bangalore city that capture information on the ground water on a monthly basis. However, this data might not be available to the general public in it's raw form. Prof. Sekhar has given us references in the department who will be able to lend us the reports that they generate out of this data. See page 26 for more information; the "plus" signs on the map indicate the sampling locations.

2. IISc's ground water report for BMRCL. The main focus of the IISc Report is the impact of the underground sections of the metro on the ground water flow in Bangalore.

  •  472 wells (including public and private open and bore wells) were sampled for this study. Page 31 indicates the location of the sampled wells.
  •  The sampled wells span 34 wards within the city.
  • The research focused on the water levels and not on the water quality.

(note: The impact of the tunnels on the ground water distribution is mapped on page 52)

Crowd-sourcing information on ground water: Prof. Sekhar concurred that a crowd-sourced approach to collecting information on groundwater seems like the best way to gather city wide statistics on this subject. However, since the measurement of water levels need specialized equipment, a crowd-sourcing approach of data collection will have to rely on more rudimentary methods such as calculating yields by gathering the following data

  • Time it takes to fill a bucket of defined quantity (say 10 litres)
  • Horse power rating of the pump used
  • Depth of the well

Apart from the main agenda of the meeting, Prof. Sekhar enlightened us with several other tidbits. For eg., in some areas of Bangalore, the ground water level has been increasing due to the seepage both from the water supply as well as sewage. Also, the model of water distribution used in the developed world, where drinkable water comes straight out of the tap, may not be sustainable after all. Considering that drinking water comprises only about 1% of the total usage, localized treatment (using filters, aquaguards, the home level) is significantly more energy efficient.

Neha, Shekhar: Please add anything that I may have missed.


Thanks for the report

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Must say you guys are really at it, and wil inspire more people to join in the water index effort.

So, can we get data from The Department of Mines and Geology on a regular basis? Something like a raw data feed?

I have downloaded and saved IISc water report from BMRC website. I suggest we save all such good data carrying reports from govt, they tend to disappear and get lost.

Good report

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Thanks for the report guys.  I think it might be worthwhile to arrange for data from the dept of mines and geology.  Crowdsourcing ground water levels from the public is difficult, especially in a quantitative fashion.

I have also saved the report from IISc :-)

Data from Mines and Geology

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To reply to silkboard's query...We don't know yet. Prof Muddu was not very hopeful. He was saying that the Deptt of Mines and Geology does not have the policy of giving raw data to random people. For the fear of misinterpretations. But we can go to their library/office and access all the reports we want.

Cannot just rely on Mines and Geology

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According to Prof Muddu, Mines and Geology collects data at a very high level. Plus, they don't really focus on urban groundwater as much as they do on rural. Also, this data isn't released regularly - if I remember right, their last released study on groundwater quality in Bangalore was in 2003.

The only options he believes to be feasible are to either hire a couple of people/ recruit volunteers to go around the city and screen groundwater at selected locations OR have this info crowdsourced.

Another source for Ground Water Data

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Another source for ground water data could be the Central Ground Water Board.  They also monitor ground water levels across the country.  Their regional office address is:  Central Ground Water Board, South Western Region, Bhujal Bhawan, HSR Sector-1. Ph: 080-25726965, 25723791