Ground water is a primary source of water in Bengaluru, especially for peripheral areas of the city which are not connected to the city municipal supply (BWSSB). In the last three years, the program has attempted to explore the issues of ground water in a 35 sq. km area around our corporate head-quarters in Bengaluru – an area that is completely dependent on ground water for its needs and which is largely unregulated. This is representative of many rapidly developing urban and peri-urban cities in India; in Bengaluru itself around 40% of its water needs is met by ground water. Our approach was to use a science-based approach to understand the hydrogeology of the area and engage communities through various platforms (citizen science, advocacy, facilitation of interventions). The program involved extensive borewell monitoring, VES (Vertical Electrical Sounding) studies and detailed studies in selected clusters. The idea was to evolve a decentralized model of ground water management.
The program has established the feasibility of shallow aquifer as a source of water as well as recharge and its linkages with how we treat surface water systems like rivers, lakes, wetlands and wells as part of a connected hydrogeological system. In the next phase of the program, we intend to expand to other areas of the city and also continue the work on communication and advocacy.