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18 Edition
Jan 2022


Check this Edition out, Dear Reader. Look at the number of discerning voices! How do you think    through this, offer your reflection, post it in other places where your friends would watch, read, respond and react…

More Chennai Water Leaders Speak …

(Here are striking excerpts from the meeting of WOW Chennai #01 of January 13, 2022)


"I reside in Chicago, near the coast of the Great Lakes which hold 20% of the world's fresh water. Even in the city of Chicago, our mayor declared around 10-12 years ago that there would be no more free water. We can't quantify the value of water, and we're not pricing it appropriately. The then mayor made the politically unpalatable decision to hike water prices and install metres in every high-rise structure and religious institution. He ensured that “non-revenue water” did not exceed 5% of the total. Every American city strives for this. When we charged everyone the amount they should be charged at the cost to the water utility, we were able to raise enough money to fix all of the old pipes that were 200 years old, leaking, and bursting in the midst of the winter when it was cold. People were forced to labour in an atmosphere where water was being squandered in order to repair the leak. Since then, a systematic method of determining which pipes need to be replaced and repaired has been developed. Initially, there were several protests from the poor, of whom around 30-40% in Chicago still rely on free meals. He stated that water will be provided for free or at a discounted charge to such individuals. The rest must foot the bill.”

- Vasudevan Rajaram. GlobalWaterWorks, Chicago.


“When it comes to water, no one can argue that it isn't a problem in the way it is used today. On the other hand, we might consider another point of view while considering what an ideal system would be. These are two polar opposites. One is on a highly ideal system where you must think about minimising water consumption, charging for water, reusing water, and a variety of other things to make it perfect and efficient. On the other hand, we have a problem that we see in many places around the country. Between us, we can think of a lot of reformed actions, measures, and current concerns. But the underlying question is whether we should actually use the fundamental concept that "water is a basic human right." The right to water is a fundamental human right. It's like having the right to breathe. Our constitution also makes a reference to it. So, how can you price water? I'm not suggesting you charge nothing for it. But how would you power it up? This is a critical issue. Water may be charged by a variety of processes. We must also consider equity and accessibility. How can you achieve that level of efficiency in a diversified society? It's difficult but must be addressed.”

-  Janakarajan Srinivasan.


WOW Bengaluru Leaders speak…

(Here are memorable excerpts from the meeting of WOW Bangalore #26 of January 15, 2022)


“For the past ten years, I've been researching ways to preserve water and make the most of it. I conducted extensive research. I visited the BWSSB park and witnessed rainwater collection in action. I visited Udaipur, the lake city, to examine how rainwater collection is done and how the military make use of the water. I observed those wells and the archaic methods of storing and using water. All of this was addressed with Sunil Mysore, who provided me with several calculations and specifics on how it might be executed, as well as information on recharge wells. The RWA was not ready to grant us the funds initially. It took us three years before we implemented this plan. Rainwater harvesting was completed by a handful of us. The most difficult aspect of this was that we required our rooftops to be accessible and clean at all times. There were a lot of cables on the roof due to internet hookups and other connections. It took a lot of work to clean it up. This is an issue in many Bangalore flats. We cleaned up our roof over a six-month period with Sunil Mysore’s team helping us. After cleaning, we tested the rainwater and found that it had a hardness of 100. The hardness of the borewell water was over 300! The residents began to see value. We then moved on other water solutions – aerators, mended pipes, and slowly brought a reduction in water usage over 5 years. The money we have saved is enormous.”

-  Alok Shukla.



“I have solar panels and roughly 400 shrubs and plant species at home in the garden and rooftop. We don't have any RO system, and the water is passed via 400 plants with the same rainwater gathering system. We take the water, filter it with a standard UV filter, and drink it. There isn't a single issue with the water's purity.”

-  Sunil Mysore, WOW Bengaluru Key Speaker


These are extracts of conversations of WOW members in the Core Executive Group. Add your comments, views

Going carbon neutral by 2022

 Completed installation of a Solar powered fast EV charger at my parking. Scooter in the picture is also an EV.

-  Ganesh Shanbhag 


You’ve to compute how much dirty power is for the chargers. How much is from the solar in-house generation. And how much is embodied energy lost from the solar panels — about 12000 units to every KWp. Then you can claim carbon neutrality!!

-  Hari Haran       


Embodied ones... not really sure. But yeah, going by stopping tailpipe emissions, I had a personal target to end all tailpipe emissions by 2023, which is achieved.

- Ganesh Shanbhag

Can this not be common to all by your RWA ? There are many vendors in the field where even BESCOM will give speedy approval . In case you need any vendor reference Please let me know .

-  Suresh A Pai


Why are they giving free? What are they getting the customers addicted to using?

-  Hari Haran

EV adaptation. Whole challenge of why EV adoption is low in cities like Bengaluru is because people feel the charging points cannot be installed at their parkings. This startup solves such problems. They draw power from common sources and pay off to the association. Yesterday, I helped close a deal at Purva fountain square. Bangalore has the second highest EV vehicles in India .

-  Suresh A Pai Ganesh.

Ganesh. It’s an evolving market. We’ve annual EVs production of less than 5000. China is at 250,000 a year. If we reach a million EVs we will have 300 GW of dirty power needed. As long as we destroy forests for coal and draw 30,000 litres for every MWh you’re only shifting the problem from cities to the countryside.

-  Hari Haran


My take. In the next 4 years, battery tech will move from Lithium Ion to Sodium Ion. Sodium is readily available in sea water and will be damn cheap. Power generation would move from Coal to Solar/ Renewable energy sources [ I have moved completely to solar]. So there would not be any problem which is envisioned due to Lithium. As you see in the periodic table, Lead is Pb which moves to Li (Lithium), so the next option is to shift one step ahead to Sodium.

By the way, I used Tesla cells, which are recycled ones for my scooter (Yes, I assembled it). So, I call it the Tesla Scooter. In my opinion, till now, I haven't shifted the source of emission.

-  Ganesh Shanbhag


It’s up to you. You’re going by the mainstream thing which wants exactly this kind of market acceptance. We are being nose-led. Watch Planet of the Humans by Jeff Gibbs. Michael Moore produced it. You’ll see another reality. I’m not saying the discerning have solutions. But all these chaps are doing — including Al Gore — is push for more capital based green. Which is greenwash. It’s up to you to see the chaff and the grain

-  Hari Haran

Water Saving as Key Priority….

Water saving as key priority . We need to have aerators in place which will definitely reduce wastage of free flow of water in kitchen and utility sections. A bare minimum of 25L/day per household or flats can easily be controlled from going down the drain as waste water by use of aerators alone.

-  Suresh Prakash


WOW can get concession costs of up to 35-40 percent for aerators for WOW members here who want to get buildings to install.

-  Hari Haran                                                      


IPA and Rotary have tied up with Neoperl Germany for subsidised cost and distributed over one lakh aerators in India. We should do this in Bangalore alone. Last year we circulated 10000 posters in Bangalore

-  B K Prasad                                                      


I agree with Satish that there is a shortage of skilled STP handlers. As a result, STP water is not favoured for flushing in the majority of residences. The entire STP process will be laid out, and a group of people will be trained to manage it. This will help to close the skill gap.

-  Suresh A Pai                                                      


In century saras we have been using neoperl Germany for the past 4 years in an efficient way.They give us warranty for 5 years compared to the Chinese who can half the cost which will clog within one year of use and again replacement.

-  Satish Mallya

Sir, can you DM me the details? I shall push this in my apartment if not already installed

-  Subrahmanya


Excellent Subrahmanya. We will also confer a Commendation Award on any apartment which turns Solution Adopter. WOW is right now creating a Director of such Solution Adopters in Bangalore Chennai Trichy.

-  Hari Haran


Thank you for this poster. Few of us had been pushing the aerators to apartments on the Horamavu side. Since 2017 I'm using Eco365 aerator in all the taps at home along with many neighbour's here Due to tanker water quality issues, these aerators need to be taken out and cleaned with needles every 2 months. Could see many people not prioritising water saving over "convenience" and hence discontinuing these aerators due to this maintenance need. Is it advised to clean these aerators with a needle? I could see that after cleaning water flow increased, maybe due to damage with needle use. Thanks for the Neoperl reference, let me install this and try

-  Prabath Vijayan


To stop these sediments in the pipe line you can use an on line filter. It is manufactured by Vordosch Germany.

-  B K Prasad

Q U E S T I O N    A N D    A N S W E R

Is WOW only for the rich?

Are we spreading a message with an assumption that all members in our society have a bungalow or an apartment with a terrace, a budget for separate  piping, filters, filter Chambers, an underground tank dedicated to RWH and a tubewell for overflow. What percentage of our population can afford all these? Or are we talking about only a selected few? Like Solar Subsidies even RWH will get defeated. For a 1 lakh installation, Solar energy harvest programs offered 50% Subsidies. That meant, those who had 50,000 aside to buy a Subsidy only could go for the remaining amount.


Muni Raval observes:

I agree with you. But water is NOT A STOCK that can be stored and dispensed with at will. In the name of water conservation people talk about filling the Earth’s belly with distilled water that nature gives us for free. Rainwater belongs to the soil and not to tanks and tubewells. No one talks about soil sponge and sponge Cities. Soil water retention capacity is 8 times the total of all world-river waters. It sustains global climate without undue loss from evaporation. Well, some day we will talk about atmospheric rivers also. In Spite of the two-thirds surface of this planet occupied by water, this planet is called Earth.


Muni Raval says: “Sir, water availability is about equity rights across all sections of our society and also to other living members on this planet including soil microbes. Here we are advocating all techniques ONLY for rich members. It pains me knowing fully well how hard-working the youngsters are in this group. My emphasis here is on knowing water.


WOW responds: We start with small steps. We get others to be interested. For raising resources, and for executing. We are mobilising energies. We didn’t have the strength of as many people and institutions until the WOW Action Forum brought so many voices together from across India and the world.


Flushing water …

Why do we plan in cities for 40 litres for flushing 200-300 gm of faecal mass when water has NO ROLE in organic degradation? Entire NBC is flawed and still we are talking about codes and norms. Even the EPA in the US is hugely flawed in its specs and implementation. WOW has triggered an interesting flow of thoughts from the past. I was a student of Limnology in 1966-67 and have remained so ever since.


IITs need to go Net Zero on water

On a personal note, no IIT campus in India has a sustainable sewage treatment plant to demonstrate sustainability. I am in touch with a few of them. Over 150 engineers all agreed with my views at a meeting. No one disagreed. But they are not willing to take a U-turn. Not even in teaching.  


Visionaries are not paid heed

Four years ago a very senior Professor Emeritus Dr. Rajendra Prasad from Delhi IIT, visited SVNIT on Unnat Bharat Abhiyan workshop. (I am not an engineer. Nor an architect. I have been a student of biology since 1965.) My talk was last at 5 pm. When I concluded at 6 pm, he admitted that what we (the engineers) are talking and teaching for over 4, 5 decades is all wrong. He then came to my place, sat for 4 hours. We had a 1 to 1 discussion. Approved a budget of 30 lakhs for a hostel water plan on SVNIT campus. No teacher from SVNIT came forward for a year and we lost the Prof. due to Covid-19. What he submitted to UBA in Delhi is on record.  


Where are those doing Science?

WOW Action Forum should include one or two Microbial genomic researchers. Engineers have a different field of specialisation.  


India’s Water Maths is simple …

At 100 lpcd for 100 crore population it is 100 lpcd x 100 crore. It’s 6th standard arithmetic. We do not need an engineer, an economist or a management expert for such calculations; certainly not an IITian or an IIM expert. Can anyone add a drop of water more than what we have had for 4.5 billion years on this planet?

K O R M A N G A L A    R E S I D E N T    S A V E S O N    B I L L S    W I T H

S U S T A I N A B L E    L I V I N G

“If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it…one step at a time.”

– Marian Wright Edelman

Saxena, who now heads a corporate consultant business, was remodelling his property in 2006, he made the alterations. In the toilets, he installed a system that uses recycled grey water. (Grey water is water that is created in a home from streams that are not contaminated with faeces).


He describes how it works in this way: A second subterranean tank is connected to all outputs from the washing machine, restrooms, and sinks. This water is pushed up to a tank in the ceiling. The flush tanks of all toilets are linked to the outflow from this above tank. "The water from the toilets eventually exits the building as black water via the sewage pipe.

G R O U N D W A T E R  :    S O U R C E S    A N D     R E C H A R G E

"Water and its availability and quality will be the main pressures on, and issues for, societies and the environment   under climate change."

In the context of Indian urban water, more precisely groundwater, Bore-well is a ubiquitous term. Borewell is essentially a deep hole usually of 9- inch diameter going deep into the earth to tap into the water which is present in what is called the ‘confined aquifer’. It is not uncommon to see borewells going as deep as 1800 to 2000 feet in search of water. Confined aquifers are formed over decades or centuries and the recharge areas of these deep aquifers are usually very far from the point of withdrawal.


On the Other hand, another geological formation called ‘unconfined aquifer’ is the water available in the soil pores at a much shallow depth. The Seepage of this water into the unconfined or shallow aquifer is much faster and the recharge of this water happens very locally. Extraction of this water is much cheaper and usually, the water from the shallow aquifers (Unconfined aquifer) will be much better than the deep bore-wells (Confined aquifers).


The dynamics of formation and recharge of these two aquifers are totally different. Hence, it is very much possible that water may not be available at a depth of 1500 feet in the bore-well (Confined aquifer) but water may be available just 10 feet away at a shallow depth of 15 feet in the open well (Unconfined aquifer)


In this Video, an attempt is being made to explain the aquifers in the context of Urban water and rainwater harvesting. Real-world examples are taken to show the availability of water from both the aquifers. The water from the open well is tested for drinking water standards (IS 10500).

D O    A E R A T O R S    S A V E    W A T E R,    A C T U A L L Y   ?    

 Aerators come in the form of mesh screens that divide the flow of water into multiple small streams by adding air in between.

“For conventional engineers, statisticians and economists, domestic water use is under 5% of the water budget in India. Out of that how many have a bathroom with low-flow faucets and aerators? Any saving of water through aerators is poorly founded because low-flow taps have minimum 2.5 kg/cm sq service pressure demand. That power generation also takes water. Dual flush tanks and sophisticated faucets are less than one-millionth of total installations in India. I would like to have statistics on such installations that will help us arrive at water use. All economists talk about billions of rupees. Does a litre of water recognise a rupee?”


The WOW Action Forum hosts Commendation Awards every quarter and bestows the                                                                  on all Big Water-Savers who save and so ‘donate’ water to the city by consuming less fresh water in the interest of making water-positive cities.



Alt. Tech Foundation is a not-for-profit, for-industry Foundation for

(i) producing sustainability managers and leaders,
(ii) providing green management skill sets,

(iii) hosting city-wide campaigns for citizen collective action to save water & energy,

(iv) purposing research for city infrastructure.

WOW Action Forum is a globally pioneering effort for bringing collective private action to save very large quantities of water at apartments, at Industry, at tech parks, or hotels and hospitals or malls and other such buildings. The 2021 mission is set to save 1000 Cr lites with community-led action. This alone will bring a saving of 236 Cr in electricity bills for the city, and a reduction in carbon emission of nearly 300,000 tonnes equivalent.

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