Rainbow Drive Layout -- A model for urban water management ?

Rainbow Drive Layout: A Case Study of Sustainable Decentralized Urban Water Management

Bangalore's sprawling expansion outpaces the public utility's ability to accommodate skyrocketing demand for water and sanitation services, and it is increasingly common for new residential communities to assume total management for their own water and sanitation services through their resident welfare associations. The principal challenge the associations face is ensuring their water security, as many are faced with fast-depleting borewell yields and an increasing need to purchase from unregulated and expensive private water trucks. Rainbow Drive Layout was one such Bangalore community experiencing water supply insecurity. The 200-household gated layout had used up four of its six borewells and was entirely dependent on the remaining two, whose output they feared was diminishing. Rather than depend on water tankers, residents instead addressed the problem through an integrated urban water management approach. The Rainbow Drive Plot Owners Association (POA) engaged with Biome Environmental Solutions Pvt Ltd to introduce rainwater harvesting (RWH) as an investment for their future water security. Biome constructed 19 household RWH systems for domestic use and built 25 groundwater recharge wells to reduce flooding and replenish the groundwater aquifer. Along with the RWH investment, Rainbow Drive also restructured its water pricing policy to more accurately reflect the resource's true cost and thereby reduce waste. To achieve these, the POA launched a general water literacy campaign and also captured data on water usage for a year. The Rainbow Drive story is far from complete, but it illustrates a model of responsible decentralized water resource management. Recognizing the importance of documenting Rainbow Drive's interventions as potential best practices for water management, Arghyam recently approved funding for an extensive monitoring exercise of the same. The project strives to make a significant contributions to the integrated urban water management movement by providing an analysis of the long-term effectiveness of numerous sustainable water strategies employed in a decentralized urban context. Additionally, the project aims to articulate those lessons to audiences in the water sector and general public through documentation that can be shared. The project will accomplish these objectives by focusing its efforts on the following thematic areas:  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. • The performance of the installed RWH systems at the household and community level. • Consumer attitudes toward the RWH systems and other sustainable water management practices. • Developing monitoring systems that will enable the collection of metrics over the next three to five years. • Based on the findings of the monitoring exercise, developing publicly available best practices manuals for sustainable decentralized urban water management. The exercise should provide an excellent opportunity for knowledge sharing about sustainable water practices between self-governing residential communities in Bangalore and beyond, and periodic updates will be posted to the Portal. Other articles about Rainbow Drive Layout's water management practices: • Bangalore Citizen Matters - Water Supply from the bottom up • Times of India - Drops of Hope • Time Out Bengaluru - Water Idea Sirji

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