Water Index parameters

153 users have liked.

Participants: Vishwanath Sir, Jenny, Rajesh Shah, Neha Dar, Rithesh, Shekhar, Srivatsva, Swati Dandekar

We met today at Alliance Francaise to define the scope of the water index and chalk out our next steps.

The scope of the index has been divided into 5 categories. The following is an initial list of parameters we came up with during the meeting. This list will continue to be built incrementally before we finalise a stable index.

1. Pipe Water

    a. Hours of Supply

    b. Coverage - Percentage of households having a bwssb connection.

    c. Unaccounted for Water- Calculated by measuring the amount of water that BWSSB bills to the amount of water that it supplies.

    d. Slum Coverage - Percentage coverage in slums. BWSSB mandates that every household in a slum must be given a water connection.

    e. Pressure -  The normal pressure of pipeline supply should be upto 3 meters from ground level. i.e Water should be able to reach an overhead tank on the first floor without any pumping by the house owner.

    f. Residual Chlorine

    g. Other Quality parameters as outlined in BIS-10500

2. Ground Water

    a. Number of borewells

    b. Depth of borewell

    c. Depth to which the borewell is dug

    d. Depth of Water table

    e. Quality as prescribed in BIS-10500

3. Surface Water

    a. Number of tanks/lakes

    b. Storage capacity

    c. Water Level

    d. Number of tanks under repair by LDA and other agencies; status of work

    e. Presence/Absence of Wildlife - Whether people can spot wildlife around the lake.

    f. Hyacinth-

        i. Presence of hyacinth

        ii. Percentage of lake covered with Hyacinth.

4. Sewage

    a. Coverage

    b. Collection Ratio

    c. Capacity of Treatment Plant

    d. Revenues Generated

    e. Personal/Community sewage treatment facility

5. Rain Water Harvesting

    a. Number of structures Targetted by BWSSB/ Number Done

    b. Storage/RWH Installation

    c. Ground water recharge/RWH Installation

Request Praja members to review this list, focusing on
* Any broad category that has not been covered.
* Any parameter that has been left out.

Plan of Action
* Finalise a list of parameters that need to be tracked.
* Determine sources of data for these parameters.
* Come up with metrics to define data
* Review and analysis by Praja members, experts etc.
* Define Index structure

So fire away your questions/comments/feedback.


Index parameters

102 users have liked.


I think its a great idea to identify and quantify different parameters of water quality and availability. Your categories are very broad though, covering availability in slums to water quality testing without clarity on how you will go about collecting this data or testing these parameters (such as residual chlorine). I understand that this may be because you are still at an early stage.

It may be a good idea to break this up into smaller categories and going to greater detail into each one of them, because with detail comes credibility.

Specifically, it would be nice if we could asess the quality of water (testing for chlorine, nitrates, sulphates, and maybe even biological contaminants) from different sources and at different outlets (outlets at slums vs. outlets in more upmarket locations). 






Separate Post for the details

100 users have liked.
The intention of this post is to get feedback in terms of broad categories and parameters within each of them. Do you think there is any area we have left out? Totally agree with your point on going into details in each of them. We shall do that in separate posts.

Two more categories or parameters..

106 users have liked.

 I am not sure how much I understood regarding water index concept, but I am trying to correlate proposed water index with quality of life and environment preservation.

So I think two more can be added somewhere. One being the mineral water/purified water which will be related with quality of life. The other being of recycled (industrial) water for environment.

" My mantra to public bodies=> Enable->Educate->Enforce. Where does  DDC  fit?"

Sulochana, Quality is

113 users have liked.


Quality is certainly an essential class of parameters. BIS 105001 outlines water quality standards, we do plan to track these parameters as well.


Good start

108 users have liked.

I think this is a good start.  Am still perplexed about what a water index would do.  Can we define the final objective a little better?  So is it a water index for Bangalore, or Bangalore metropolitan region or would we start looking at a water index for a locality.  So somebody looking to buy a house in a particular region would say... oh oh, poor water index, better not go there?

Couple of thoughts

-Can we include a financial viability of BWSSB as part of the index. Key questions would be (1) Are the operational expenses fully covered by revenue? (2) What is the status of the infrastructure - are there huge upcoming capex requirements 

Another thing I am curious about is

(1) What is the cities 30 year plan for water supply. How is that plan tracking to reality

(2) Is there a contingency plan in place for a major water shortage year - like say a drought year?


One for each locality, one for city

103 users have liked.


I'm thinking one for each locality we are tracking, as well as a composite city index.

I think it makes sense to track some parameters locality wise for two reasons:

(i) Every locality's water experience is different. For example, many apartment complexes along Sarjapur Road depend primarily on privately supplied tanker water. These localities may have a significantly lower BWSSB pipeline connection coverage than do other parts of the city. Similarly, I remember reading that residents of villages surrounding Bellandur lake report a significantly higher propensity towards respiratory/skin diseases than those living in other areas. Highlighting these differences is important because,

(ii) Most of us don't push our local govts for better water/services because we simply don't know any better. 'Bhala uski kameez meri kameez se safed kaise' ('how come his shirt is whiter than mine') is actually a pretty effective call to action. :)

Other parameters (like water unaccounted for) can be tracked at a city level.

An index can be constructed for each locality from both sets of parameters. So, if the water unnacounted for in the city decreases one month, every locality's index will look a bit better. On the other hand, Koramangala's changing coverage would affect its index alone.

Finally, a City index could be constructed on the basis of these parameters as well.

What do you think makes sense?



As for what the water index

120 users have liked.

As for what the water index numbers will do:

(i) draw a comparative picture of water health (quality/quantity/accessibility/reliability etc) across various demographics and parts of the city, and

(ii) track, over a period of time, the impact of policies and programs introduced by the govt. bodies in charge (for eg, BWSSB announces it will increase coverage in Koramangala over a period of 6 months. Our Koramangala coverage parameter tracks this.)

Water index - more categories

103 users have liked.

Some additional important parameters:

- Infiltration vs. runoff: i.e., how much water is received by precipitation vs. how is available as ground water vs. how much runs off w/o being utilized. Extent of infiltration that is enabled than being allowed to runoff (probably just from the less implemented and much-hyped RWH). RWH is one component - see SuDS and LID

- Sources for water: there is talk about pumping from Mangalore! Or, dam"ming" the SW runoff valleys in B'luru. Cheaper to infiltrate than above two. Source / supply will affect cost and the index. Higher distance / cost or dams = lower sustainability = lower no. on index

- Water recycling: Quantity (in percentage), re-supply, cost, etc.

Best to separate out sewage and sewerage from water index except for recycled good or grey water.

- Cost / subsidy: If people are paying or willing to pay high cost for tanker water, why will they not pay un-subsidized cost for supplied water?

- Per capita std. requirement / demand vs. availability (some people dont like "per capita" as a measure ;-) but standards are based on lpcd)

- On lakes: no. of treatment plants, recovery of cost from surrounding establishments / apartments / homes / industries. again, recycling data. No point clearing pollution - just medicine and not preventive.

OK - dont want to inundate (:-)). If it takes off, may add more in future. Most of the data should be available w/ BWSSB (esp. reqd. when applying for loans) - so no point spending extra time. ISEC is also a good source. A base or standard is needed otherwise an index number of 77 means what?? Is 100 perfect?

@ Neha on water index

111 users have liked.

I agree that a water index will be one way to measure, track, and easily communicate the water scenario in Bangalore.  A key, key constraint in developing any index is in terms of what data is available, of course.

My first reaction on seeing this idea was that it makes sense for this to be local, because it will draw a sharp contrast between localities and inspire people to behave competitively - as in the kameez analogy you gave.

However, a local water index should be different from a Bangalore water index. I think locally, we would only care about supply, quality, cost, sewerage and condition of local water bodies.

At a Bangalore level, I am concerned also about reliability of supply, quality of infrastructure, sustainability (and pollution) as well as various financial parameters. and many of the other parameters discussed.

One thought that I have now is to divide the index into a composite sum of several sub indices.  For example, we could have sub indices for 1. Supply 2. Quality 3. Environmental impact 4. Financial health etc. and then simply add up these sub indices/.

Still a tough nut to crack, but this here is one suggestion.

Comparative Index ?

135 users have liked.

Great start - however, I'm also not clear as to how an index can be developed - it has to be comparative, & if this is the case, compare it with what ?

The best way is to link the index to an ideal. To arrive at an ideal, there are some references....

1) S Vishwanath (Founder, Rainwater Club) quotes a per-capital per-day consumption of 135 litres in urban India in this Citizen matters article.

2) Daily indoor per capita water use in the typical single family home is 69.3 gallons or about 262 litres, as per this webpage. This figure has also been quoted on wikipedia here.

Thus, the 135 litres consumption for urban India is about half that of US standards, & probably well below many other countries too. The US reference also quotes a lower achievable figure of 45.2 gallons or about 171 litres per-capital per-day - this too is much higher than urban India's consumption levels.

BWSSB is all set to hike water rates steeply (33-200%) from May-2010, as per this TOI report.

The next question would of course be water quality - some references have already been cited above. Then, there is the question of availability in each locality (or ward) - quantum /percentage of each category per ward: piped water (Bwssb), common /public taps in low income areas & tanker supply from borewells.

Let's talk parameters.

122 users have liked.

@Sanjay : I see the index exactly the way you put it, sub-indices and all. 


There are a few ideas floating around about how the index/indices should be constructed, what the base values should mean etc, but nothing has been cemented yet. I expect this will evolve through discussion here on Praja, as well as meeting and talking to other experts offline. Let me collate some of the ideas I have already heard into a separate post, and we can all thrash it out there. :)

However, something we should definitely try to finalise right away is which parameters we want to to track. Already see some good ones we previously missed out through the conversation here, keep 'em coming!




Excellent start, some thoughts.

105 users have liked.

Promise to spend some thinking time on reviewing the components (referred to as parameters) for index (and sub-indices). And also promise to attend one of these project meetings.

From process perspective, if you see comments above, the list of components (parameters) could keep expanding. I suggest this:

  • List all that we can think of by a date, say April 15th. Assume that we get 30 concrete data items.
  • Then, put them to vote in this and other forums and pick top 10 "popular" data items.
  • Get to the experts (as accepted by most members of the project team), as in the likes of Zenrainman sir, past or current BWSSB chairpersons, and not arm chair experts like myself. Keep 5 data items picked by experts
  • Publish first index based on these 10+5 items.
  • Collect data from as many of the data items as possible outside of this top 10+5. This is so that we are somewhat ready for future changes to the 10+5. I bet we will juggle the index components after seeing first few month's numbers.

After we publish numbers for first 3-4 months, we will get a better idea of what the components need to be. Let us just start publishing something ASAP, say by end of May

This is almost like the way most indices are calculated - can't include everything, so pick the most valuable components (Sensex - 30 large cap stocks, not all stocks, Wholesale price index - price of select commodities in select categories, not everything).

However, we will need some maths/stats experts to normalize the data points because if one data point goes out and a new one comes in (from the top 10+5 components), the absolute numerical value shouldn't change the index number in significant way.

to add to Pranav

118 users have liked.

 I think the index is going to be strongly limited by the data that is available.  So just list all the parameters, reduce it to a wishlist of what makes sense.  Then identify what is available.  Voila - you will have your index.

Add more

109 users have liked.

I would say make the 10+5 list first. If some technical data point is too critical for the index, and hard to get or even approximate, then let us look for institutes (IISc, etc) or sponsors to start some work to get those data points.

If we indeed hit such hard to get data points, I would term that to be the first successful milestone for this project. that would prove to all water lovers in the city that we don't even know fully well how good or bad a state we are in.

Can someone start maintaining an excel sheet with index components? Neha - if you can mail me all your notes, and a list in an email, I volunteer to prepare the first excel sheet.

Can someone start maintaining

111 users have liked.

Can someone start maintaining an excel sheet with index components? 

Can this be a wiki here on the site instead?

Actually yes

108 users have liked.

You got me there IDS. Keep preaching to all to use the website more than emails, and I chose not to practice that myself here.

Shekhar - time to try the project wiki feature?

Lets try to keep index stable

98 users have liked.

Shekhar and I were talking about a wiki to maintain the parameter list as well. :)

Am all for pumping out a list of parmeters for vote/review by mid-April and publishing the first index by end of May. Only not so sure if we want to fiddle very much with the 10+5 composition - unless an outside parameter suddenly becomes a key player. Think we ought to take some time to analyse trends in index params over the last year (if possible) and establish a stable composition as soon as we can so tracking over time makes sense.

Project wiki feature enabled.

109 users have liked.
I have enabled the project wiki functionality. Users can now create a wiki withing a project which can be edited by the group members.

water index

112 users have liked.


I am  a late entrant into this; I do not know if what I am suggesting fits into this; however I would like to offer a suggestion;

to day I saw a news item in the DECCAN HERALD that OLD MADRAS ROAD is to be closed for traffic for a week for laying of new pipe lines; I am wondering why even at the time of every re-laying or laying of new pipe lines, we still want to lay the pipelines below the road surface where vehicles ply; if once and for all we plan below the pedestrian paths on the sides of the roads, or about 10 or 15 feet from the edge of the road but below the road surface, then this problem of blocking the traffic for future repairs or re-laying will not emerge; can we at Praja have a discussion with BBMP on this;

one more idea would be to lay the pipe lines exactly below the road median, if possible, so that there will not be any traffic diversions from the road in future, for any repairs or new laying;  

in fact, if I remember, Surkuhalli had prepared apolicy on riad laying, which caters to this; probably, he can be brought into this discussion

many thanks

Srinath Heragu

water index

102 users have liked.


I have a suggestion

why does not laying of water pipelines be a part of the wter index; in this way, we can ensure that no pipelines wil run in the middle of the road

many thanks

Srinath Heragu

rainwater harvesting

102 users have liked.

I live in ward no 195.

this area depends on  only ground water .

areas around this area also depend only on ground water ie borewells.

many common borewells dug by associations and village panchayats and bwssb are dry , left idle as there is no yield or not to the expected level .

If the rain water harvesting or recharging is done around these borewells , water index will improve for the area.

this should be considered for all areas.

so i feel common borewell numbers also be taken in the survey.