This discussion brief summarizes the role of groundwater information and institutional considerations for effective governance. Examples of effective governance, informed by data and science, are provided from Bangkok, Thailand, and California, USA.
Citation: Vishal K. Mehta, Daniel Simcha Spivak, Vivek V., M. Sekhar, Deepak Malghan (2017). Urban Groundwater in India: The Role of Information in Effective Governance. Stockholm Environment Institute, Davis, California.
These maps are interpolated groundwater depths, in metres below ground surface. Between December 2015 and now (September 2017) monthly measurements of depth to the static water table were made at approximately 150 locations across Bangalore. These measurements were largely made at abandoned/unused borewells.
Below, individual interpolated groundwater maps of the static water table can be viewed/downloaded. An animation is also provided. The locations of each well that was monitored are indicated by the circles.
Between December 2017 and now (September 2017), the team measured groundwater levels at approximately 150 borewells across Bangalore, every month. This web application allows the user to visualize the time series at each point. Click on each point to see the behavior of groundwater levels at that well.
Since December 2015, the Bangalore Urban Metabolism Project has been measuring groundwater depths in 150 locations in Bangalore, every month. This video shows one such measurement, near Avenue Road, made by Giriraj and Sanjeeva, from the Indian Institute of Science.
Although each measurement takes only a few minutes, traveling through Bangalore traffic takes hours. On October 24th, 2016, I joined P Giriraj and Sanjeeva Murthy for a day in which we measured groundwater depth at 15 locations in different parts of Bangalore. Just 15 measurements on a day took 8 hours, thanks to traffic!
Video captured by Dr. Vishal Mehta, Stockholm Environment Institute.
Measurements of groundwater levels in Bengaluru by students
This map layer compiles more than 1000 measurements of groundwater levels in different parts of the city since 2007. Under the guidance of Dr. Muddu Sekhar, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Civil Engineering, various Indian Institute of Science (IIsc) student research projects have been conducted over recent years within Bengaluru city limits.
This interactive map layer compiles the entire data collected between 2007 and 2013. Clicking on each point brings up corresponding information for that point. This includes groundwater levels for each point, in metres below ground level. The date on which the measurement was taken is also listed.
Thanks to the students and field research teams who collected the data, and to to Dr. Muddu Sekhar for data access. Special thanks to current IISc research staff, P. Giriraj, Sanjeeva Murthy, and Manish Gautam.
Visualization by SEI’s Douglas Wang and Vishal Mehta.
Households manage their present and future financial needs using portfolios, with diversification being a key tool used to balance risks and returns. Indian households manage their water in a very analogous way to how they manage their financial and other assets. Households cope with the essential water insecurity imposed by inadequate public water supply, by investing in a diversity of water supply and demand management options. Understanding this complex household level water supply and demand balance in Indian cityscapes is essential for at least four compelling reasons: Continue reading →
In May 2015, the Cities Alliance Catalytic Fund supported BUMP, through a competetive grant-making process. The focus of this two year support will be on delivering results from the household water survey. The major new activity will be on measuring groundwater levels in 150-200 locations in Bangalore on a monthly basis. This will build the evidence base on static groundwater levels in the city, which in turn will inform groundwater models that we will build.
The support from Cities Alliance is gratefully acknowledged.