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Project K-100: re-visioning of Koramangala valley drainage system

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Urban Development
Whereas having a storm-water drain (SWD) adjoining your property should normally be a welcome proposition, it is not quite so in Bengaluru (and perhaps in most Indian cities), since it is largely raw sewage that is flowing in them. And, it gets worse, with their poor engineering causing overflows, more so in recent times with the intense rainfalls we are experiencing, due to climate change (as climatologists would say).
The Koramangala valley drain (which supposedly originates in Chikka Lalbag - near Majestic - and flows into Bellandur lake) is, in this respect, the bane of a large part of Koramangala - more specifically, National Games Village, Ejipura, S T Bed layout, Nirguna Mandir layout, etc. 
A PIL filed against a large development proposed on the Bellandur flood-plains, caused to draw the attention of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to the SWD too. Eventually, with the NGT ordering de-concretising the whole length of the SWD, the "powers-that-be" got to talking to the eminent city architect, Naresh Narasimhan, some amongst them perhaps having come across one of his talks on the Seoul example of rejuvenating a river passing through the centre of the city, after demolishing the fly-over that had been built over it earlier.
The citizens got a first hint of it all when Bangalore Mirror published an article (accessible here) on 17th Aug. Realising that such a massive project (cost-wise too) would require the buy-in from all stake-holders concerned, Naresh seems to have teamed up with the renowned theatre personality, Sri Prakash Belawadi, who is besides Director, Environment Committee, Rotary Dist 3190, to 'sell' the idea. 
The first of the "webinars" (accessible here - it's a 2hr video) in this connection, largely to introduce the concept, was held on 4th Oct, and the participants' list (see below) will give an indication of the interest shown by varied sections of the society.  
Shri Naresh Narasimhan, Urban Designer
Shri Leo Saldanha, Environment Support Group
Prof TV Ramachandra, Indian Institute of Science
Dr Yellappa Reddy, Bangalore Environment Trust
Prof Mohan Kumar, Indian Institute of Science
Shri K C Subhash Chandra, Hydro Geologist
Shri V S Prakash, Karnataka Lake Conservation & Dev. Authority
Shri Vishwanath, Water Expert, Biome
Dr A Ravindra, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Karnataka
Shri Suresh Hari, CREDAI, Karnataka
Also, the entire team from Rotary District 3190 led by Governor, Rtn Nagendra Prasad
Participant Organisations:
Namami Vrishabhavati
Bangalore Environment Trust 
and other stake holders.
A second webinar to present the concept plan (accessible here - again a 2hr video) was held on 11th Oct, which had participation from the following (in addition to most of the participants from the earlier webinar):
Dr Shubha Avinash, Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre
Shri B S Prahallad, Chief Engineer, Road Infra & SWD, BBMP
Shri Syed Khaja, SEO, Karnataka State Pollution Control Board
Shri B C Gangadhara, Chief Engineer, WWM, BWSSB
Shri Vishwanath, Water Expert, Biome
Dr Udai Singh, IFS
Dr Veena Srinivasan, Senior Fellow, ATREE
Special Invitees:
Shri K Jairaj, IAS (Rtd)
Shri Thippeswamy, Former Chief Engineer, BWSSB
At the end of the webinar, I commented more or less as below, in the chat box:
Fantastic envisioning of the Koramangala valley drainage plan in your K-100 presentation. Best part is the buy in you have managed from as varied stake-holder groups as Rotary, ESG, IISc, KSPCB, BWSSB, experts from among retired bureaucracy etc. All the best.
More webinars going into the detaling are to follow. Perhaps, it was in this connection that both the BWSSB chief, as well as the Chief Secretary, GoK, made their visits to the area recently. 
1) I propose to be tracking the developments and posting my comments on this blog.
2) Since the blog-site is currently under upgradation, PRAJA is currently not in a position to allow fresh member registrations. The inconvenience is regretted. 


murali772's picture

living on hope

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An excerpt from a New Indian Express report of yesterday, read as @ Birds can be seen flocking to Bellandur lake and its surroundings for the third consecutive day. The lake which was in news for all the wrong reasons - being choked with sewage, flooding, frothing and even on fire, is now becoming a photographers delight. For the full text of the report, click here.
So, the work taken up on the lake proper, as directed by NGT, is apparently beginning to take effect, after all - good to know! But, this is very likely the result of the dilution of the sewage in-flow because of the torrential rains over the past few weeks. Not sure if the bird-life will continue when the in-flow reverts to "pure sewage", once the monsoons recede. 
At the presentation made on the 11th Oct, Mr Naresh Narasimhan had claimed that the sewage flow in the SWD, upstream of the Intermediate pumping station (IPS), at the National Games Village (NGV), had reduced hugely, since the commissioning of the station last month. However, logic suggests that all that it could have achieved perhaps is speedier flow, since the work on the pipeline linking the IPS and the 150 MLD STP (at Belur Nagasandra complex) is far from complete. The most difficult part of taking it below the footings of three bridges across the SWD (check the red route marked out in the map accessible here) is yet to start.
In Mr Naresh Narasimhan's presentation, a sewage trunk line was shown running alongside (or through) the entire length of the SWD. One wonders if this is the case in Seoul too (on which the K-100 project is largely modelled). If yes, how are they checking mixing of sewage with storm water - by having a number of de-centralised STP's? If not, where are their sewage lines laid, and what kind of an arrangement do they have for treatment?
All in all, a massive and costly project. But, at the end of it all (say 3 to 5 years), if we can have Bellandur lake, and the SWD's (restored as Rajakaluve's), nurturing flora and fauna year-round, like we got a glimpse of presently, perhaps it will be worth the effort.
And, this is supposed to be a pilot. Based on the learnings, restorations of the Chellagatta (check here for it's boxed-up state), Rishabhavati, and Hebbal valley drainage systems too are to follow. We live on hope - pray it actualises! 
PSEqually exciting have been similar efforts of rejuvenation 
  • a) of the Godavari in Nashik, by de-concretising the ghats that had supposedly been built-up to accommodate the thousands of devotees coming to take a dip in the river during Kumbh-mela,  
  • b) of the Vishwamitri in Vadodara, by re-modelling (through de-concretisation) of the river-front vista, that had been built-up as a part of city beautification drive,
Extensive damage had been done to the rivers by the earlier exercises, and now, teams of local architects, in both the cities, have come together to undo the damage, and take it beyond, along sustainable routes.
I learned of these while attending some of the webinars, part of a series put together by INHAF ( - headed amongst others by the renowned, Gujarat based architect, Sri Kirtee Shah).
Muralidhar Rao
srinidhi's picture

Heavily treated water needed

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Cheonggycheon restoration or the Seoul project taken in reference here has very few similarities to what we have in our ooru. The Seoul stream today is fed by Han river water to maintain the stream flow along with treated water from a huge sewage plant. Together the objective there is to maintain a BOD of less than 3 mg/l so that the water is actually potable.

So coming to our ooru's koramangala valley, there needs to be a similar approaches of highly efficient waste water treatment plants all along the way, if at all we need to green the path as planned which can be used by public effectively.

Will be interesting to see how the board/authoriteis approach the problem and dont make it another white topping type of a scam.

murali772's picture

A note of dissent?

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"The civic body should invest in getting all houses connected to sewer lines. The money spent on sewage diversion channels is bound to go to waste as no storm water drain is free from sewage” professor Inayathulla M, professor of water resources engineering at Bangalore University said. According to him, the only solution is to is to identify buildings that are letting sewage into the drain and ensure all the sewage flows into treatment plants instead.
The above are excerpts from a 24th Sept report, headlined "What the muck", in the "Bangalore Mirror". For the full text, click here
While the pictures in the report pertain to the K-100 project, from the text it is not clear if the learned professor is indeed referring to this project. Well, I had mentioned in my opening post itself as "Best part is the buy in managed from as varied stake-holder groups as Rotary, ESG, IISc, KSPCB, BWSSB, experts from among retired bureaucracy etc". So, has the buy in from stakeholders not been complete? 
Prof Inayathulla's name didn't appear in the list of invitees to the earlier webinars. He has made some valid points, and the chief project proponents would perhaps do well to address his concerns.
Now, from what I learned subsequently, the project envisages re-laying of a high capacity sewage main from the starting point (near Chikka-Lalbag) upto the ISPS (Intermediate Sewage Pumping Station) near Games Village (Koramangala), below the SWD, replacing the old sewage main. One 5 MLD STP is to be set-up close to the starting point, part of the treated water from which will be let into the SWD. Apart from that, sewage from areas along the route will be channeled to the sewage main, all of it ending up in the jack-well at the ISPS through gravity flow. From the ISPS, it'll all be pumped to the STP complex at Belur-Nagasandra (at the edge of Bellandur lake) through the newly laid 6ft dia pipes.
The sewage from areas West of Koramangala IRR (Itermediate Ring Road) will now be diverted to the ISPS jack-well, through a sub-main being freshly laid. Earlier all of this, along with the sewage from the rest of Koramangala too, was being channelled to the jack-well at the Jakkasandra/ Agara Sewage pumping station, through the sub-main along the 80 ft road. The sub-main was getting choked, and hence the decision to divert half the load to the ISPS jack-well. Now, only the sewage from East of the IRR will be channelled to the Jakkasandra/ Agara pumping station (The line from there to the STP complex already exists). A fresh sub-main has been laid for the purpose between SonyWorld junction and Wipro/ KamalBakery junction. At Wipro junction, it will connect to the existing sewage sub-main leading to the Jakkasandra/ Agara pumping station. The link at Wipro junction is proving a major challenge, since it has also to incorporate the sewage line coming in (below the Seva-in-action bridge) from ST bed layout, apart from having to negotiate the BBMP's "parallel drain", all at some 30 ft below GL. The job is on currently.
Quite as Prof Inayathulla has stated, the efficacy of it will all depend on ensuring all the dwellings along the route are connected to the sewage lines in each of the areas, and the flow from them to the sewage main remains unhindered. Unless that happens, water (sewage here) which finds its own level, will flow naturally to the lowest point - the lake. And, the entire exercise will land up as a colossal waste.
The ultimate answer, whatever, will have to be de-cetralised STP's, perhaps one (or more) for each ward. The earlier we realise that the better.
PS: All of the above are based on what I have gathered from various sources, and subject to correction, if authenticated information is made available to me.
Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

the tricky part

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The picture shows the K-100 drain (close to the K R market area) totally de-silted, which will now allow for faster flow of storm water (which is its main function). The problem will be if the road-side drains, empying into the SWD (at points marked in red) all along its length, carry sewage too.

One hopes this matter has been (is being) addressed.

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

"parallel drain" as Koramangala's saviour?

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On the intervening night of 4 and 5 Sept, when large parts of the city were drowned in 131.6 mm (average) rain, Koramangala, more specifically the stretch of the 80 ft road (from SonyWorld junction to Wipro/KamalBakery junction), and the adjoining S T Bed layout, which used to be badly flooded earlier, weren't badly hit at all. 
Some members of the local WA group, attributed it all to the "parallel drain", which idea I had been criticising as ineffectual, right from the beginning, citing various reasons, as detailed @ So, I contradicted them saying that I'd like to believe that Koramangala was saved more because of the Bellandur lake breaching heavily on the downstream side, before it could do any damage on the upstream side. I further added that, even if some water flowed down the "parallel drain", I expect it will soon get clogged with silt, given its many twists and turns and the lack of sufficient gradient, and with there being no way of clearing it, it will eventually land up as a non-functional ruin. 
While I was roundly trolled by one 'expert', another responded politely with If you say so! Also eliminating 80-90 mld from upstream into sewage pipe contributed I think.
Moral of the story, I added, was to ensure that the 80-90 mld pumps at the ISPS (in the Games Village) remained operational whenever there is a storm, apart from ensuring free flow down the SWD.
To the troll, I responded saying I have been going by plain logic, some science and a bit of engineering. But, what the neta's are invariably offering are "projects", and not solutions, and people seem to fall for them, without realising the immense costs paid out of the taxes collected from them, apart from all of the environmental damages caused, leading to the kind of disasters we have been experiencing repeatedly.
Unfortunately, lessons never seem to be learnt, in spite of their glaring at you in the face.


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