One manifestation of Bangalore’s growth is sprawling horizontal expansion and the rising popularity of self-contained residential communities of various sizes and complexities. The public utility is unable to keep pace with the rising demand for water and sanitation infrastructure in these new communities, and it has become increasingly common for residents to assume total management control of their own water and sanitation services through their Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs).
Rainbow Drive (RBD) is a private, gated residential layout that is representative of an increasingly common land-use pattern in growing cities like Bangalore. Like many other private layouts, RBD is situated outside the reach of the city’s water utility, and its residents were left to fend for their own water needs after the inevitable departure of the developer. RBD’s Plot Owners’ Association (POA) responded to these tasks with longer-term sustainability in mind, rather than adopting reactive coping strategies.
The principal challenge RWAs face is ensuring their water security. Bangalore has very limited surface water options, and therefore groundwater exploitation has become the primary source for homes without piped connection. Groundwater dependence has drawn down the city’s water tables, and many borewells have gone dry. Residential communities across the city find themselves with no choice but to purchase from unregulated and expensive private water trucks to meet their basic needs. In this context, the importance of a resource management paradigm, rather than an augmentation paradigm, cannot be overstated.
Rainbow Drive is one such Bangalore community experiencing water supply insecurity. The layout of about 200 households had used up water from four of its six borewells and was entirely dependent on the remaining two, whose output, was diminishing. Faced with the unsavory prospect of becoming dependent on buying from water trucks, Rainbow Drive residents instead attempted to directly address the problem through an integrated urban water management approach (IUWM). The approach tries to achieve sustainability by balancing consumer demand with the necessity of replenishing supply.
- A detailed history of Rainbow Drive Layout, which can account for the factors that led it to seek out alternative methods for achieving water security. Some of the information gathering was to get details of the demographics of the Rainbow Drive residents, how did they recognize the need for IUWM, how did the group of concerned residents organize themselves to take action.
- The performance monitoring of the installed RWH systems at the household and community level was conducted. This included a survey on consumer attitudes toward the RWH systems and other sustainable water management practices, focusing on key stakeholders ( households and members of POA) and issues such as : reasons for choosing or not choosing to install household-level RWH, Arguments against household and community-level RWH, perceived value of household and community-level RWH systems before and after installation on water quantity and quality.
- Seasonal variation vis-à-vis perceived value of RWH and any influence this may have on system maintenance behaviors.
- Developing monitoring systems that will enable the collection of metrics over the next three to five years. Monitoring systems include the purchase of borewells and overhead tank meters. A simple formula worksheet that inputs data from metered borewells and overhead supply tanks, maintenance costs, duration of pumping and borewell electricity consumption, and produces figures on borewell yield and the production cost of water.
- The outputs from this report provide a best practices manual for the owner of household within a layout, list of key questions and considerations for potential homeowners to ask of their builder/developer. A monitoring exercise report providing all Rainbow Drive data findings, as well as a detailed monitoring framework explaining the rationale for each monitoring process and how the data was collected and analysed.