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24 Edition
Mar 2022


(Here are thought-provoking excerpts from the meeting of WOW Bangalore #31)

A Fisherman’s son Drives a Mission

Basically I'm from a fisherman community where people suffer a lot due to sea erosion. At the same time we are facing problems like salinity and saltwater intrusion. The whole coastline of Kanyakumari is 71 kilometres. Everywhere we face sea erosion and every year 500 to 1000 houses have been completely washed away by the sea waves. The people have no idea. At that time I raised questions on who will save us and how to overcome this challenge which made me join Sathyabama University specialising on the environment topic. On Dec 26 2000, came a tsunami which caused many casualties. Thousands of people died in Kanyakumari district, but at the same time in some of the regions like periyar kaad, the areas were completely protected. This was because water intrusions are more and heavy, so the periyar region already developed artificial sand dunes. So I designed a breakwater structure in a semicircle manner so I can stop these waves and use the current wave direction to build artificial sand dunes. The land eroded from this place will be completely retained and in this place we will grow some plants which will act as an artificial aquifer. This also acts as artificial coral reefs.

- Melbin Robin

Building up the WOW Chennai Scorecard

At ICCW we endorse a company, which focuses only on data of municipalities or such city water distribution systems. They take data, they don’t have any sensors, they don't have any hardware but they have an algorithm by which they can pinpoint where the leakages are, both in terms of real leakages, where there is theft and water leakage, and virtual losses from faulty metres. This solution provider can help municipalities or utilities secure monies for water they have paid for in the treatment and transport of water from distant sources. These are utilities that are losing money heavily. Such simple measures can narrow down the cost deficits. This technology has been very successful not only in India but even in places like Cambodia and Philippines. The second company is ‘Solinas’ which uses robots to detect leaks in transmission of water. These two young companies, with their technologies, can save a lot of money for the utilities and save a lot of water for consumption. You could reach out to me if you want to know more, or take these solutions to water boards in your cities.

- E Nandakumar, CEO of International Centre for Clean Water,

Cleaning up Cooum in Chennai

This is a 14-year-old in Class 8 who presented his  amazing understanding far beyond his age…. Excerpts. 

“Cooum is one of the shortest rivers draining into the Bay of Bengal precisely just 73 kilometres. 40 to 120 metres in width. The river’s watershed spans around 400 square kilometres and the volume of the river is 690,000 cubic feet per second. This gives us a lot of advantages. Before 1960 the river nurtured various flora and fauna, around 49 species. It was also a relaxing and leisure source for many locals. After 1960, began the pollution of the river. It became quite a sewer eventually because of the unchecked pollution of dirty waters. The river is more like a sewage line today. It has become a place for waste from industry, homes and commercial areas. Cooum can be treated. It is composed of over 70% of water and only 30% trash. Both the water and the trash make a mixture which is let into the Bay of Bengal at the Napier Bridge. The pollution has greatly reduced thanks to the government’s plans and Implementation. The pollutants mixing with the sea can be both prevented and avoided.

- Aryann Ganesh


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

Installation of Smart meters

I have started work on 160 flat apartments for smart meters. We saw the resistance and reluctance from the flat owners for the installation of the metres. We changed our approach. The way we are working there is a little different. We have inflated the yearly maintenance in the name of Diesel price hike and are using that additional amount for installing smart metres. We are using BioDiesel silently in the name of diesel. This is a way of beating user ignorance and resistance.


- Ganesh Shanbhag

In the Man ki baat episode of March 26, two water leaders who have presented extensively at the WOW discussions in the past were featured although not with express credit given to them. The Rainy filters of Vijay Shisodya could be seen. The centuries-old step-well restored at Bansilalpet, Hyderabad was also shown during the session. This was done by Ms Kalpana Ramesh. Pity their names were not mentioned, but in a national talk like that, it is only right that no individual names are taken. We can only hope that both these water champions will be recognised for the work they have been doing, and be supported for more such initiatives into the future.

- UVS Rao

Water Conversations – Trichy’s Citizens Daunted by Challenges No One Wants to Solve

It's a diverse group of Trichy residents who have been doing small things on their own to raise awareness about the need of water conservation and supply. You stand on the banks of the Cauvery or the Kollidam [the colonial Coleroon] and wonder whether there is any kind of water challenge in this old town of temples and some of the best schools and institutions in the world.

When the citizens for Uyyakondan banded together in 2015, not many were interested. Most people shrugged, “Where is any challenge of water? What is the issue that you want to take up when there is none at all?!” Dr Narasimha Rao, an orthopaedic, in his usual silent ways, chose not to react. He persisted. The forum grew into a sizable number of people. They first put signboards on the history of the canal, the benefits accruing from the UK canal. Hope was that people would read them, know the significance, and do their little bit to reduce abuse of the canal. The pollution of the canal and of the lake of Uyyakondan is massive. How do we get people to stop polluting what was originally a freshwater body?

The deceptively simple plan to replenish California’s groundwater

The state pumps too much groundwater, especially during droughts. Now, it's learning to refill the overdrawn bucket. "It's the simplest math in the world," says one scientist.

The rows of knobby grapevines appear to merge in with the scenery of pink-blossomed almond trees and scented citrus from afar. But up close, you'll see something odd: the vines' trunks are submerged in several inches of glittering, precious water.

These grapes are part of a huge experiment at the Kearney Agricultural Research Center in California's San Joaquin Valley, which many think may help address the state's worsening water issue. A 20-year drought has left growers and towns in severe need of water in this state, which produces 40% of all fresh produce cultivated in the United States. They're pumping groundwater to make up for the constant shortage from rain and snow, and they're doing so more quicker than water can flow down from the surface to refill subsurface aquifers.

Saving 165 Crore Litres Of Water, Engineer Helps 26 Villages Become Drought-Free

Pune engineer Gunvant Sonawane, with help from NGO Seva Sahyog, has carried out water conservation projects across Maharashtra to help 26 villages become drought free

Chalisgaon taluka in Maharashtra is one of the state's several drought-prone locations. It has had severe water shortages, putting thousands of farmers' livelihoods in jeopardy. Droughts decimate traditional crops including soya, pulses, maize, cotton, peanuts, and sweet pulses, which are vital to the local economy. As a result, farmer suicides have become common.

However, there's still a chance.

Gunvant Sonawane, a computer engineer in the Taluka's Kalmadu hamlet, is attempting to change the tide in farmers' favour. The Pune-based IT specialist has helped 26 villages save crores of gallons of water over the last five years, benefiting 50,000 farmers.


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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