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.
WHY ALL URBAN HYDROLOGY IS SOCIAL HYDROLOGY? EVIDENCE FROM BENGALURU, INDIA Dr. Deepak Malghan Centre for Public Policy, IIM Bangalore
Abstract: One of the principal concerns of hydrology is to characterise the dynamic water balance in a watershed. Rapidly burgeoning urban agglomerations in Asia present a unique challenge to hydrology as natural hydrological cycles are severely perturbed by human activity. Bangalore receives an average rainfall of about 1800 MLD (million litres a day) but also imports 1450 MLD of river water from a distant source. Groundwater withdrawal rates are poorly characterised but the last two decades have been witness to major qualitative and quantitative changes in Bangalore’s aquifers. Deepak Malghan and his colleagues develop a spatially explicit social metabolism framework to account for the tight coupling of social and biophysical systems that is used to characterise this “social hydrology” of Bangalore. In his presentation, Deepak will show how such a model can contribute to understanding of the three central aspects of the urban water conundrum — equity, biophysical sustainability, and economic efficiency.
About the speaker: Deepak Malghan is an ecological economist with primary interest in theoretical models of the economy ecosystem interaction problem. He is currently revising a book manuscript, On Being the Right Size: Scale, Ecosystem, and Economy that attempts to reformulate ecological economics from a “scale” perspective. Deepak is also working on another new multiyear book project (provisionally titled Citius, Altius, Fortius: A History of How the World Became Efficient). This project aims to uncover the global social and intellectual history of the idea of efficiency from its origins in the Scottish Enlightenment to the present time. His empirical research interests include social hydrology and ecological distribution. Deepak’s research is highly interdisciplinary and routinely uses technical tools from economics, chemical engineering, historical analysis, hydrology, and ecology. Deepak is on the faculty of Centre for Public Policy at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore where he directs the Ecological Political Economy Lab. He holds a Ph.D. in ecological economics from the University of Maryland and MPA from Princeton University.
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.