Bengaluru city has experienced unprecedented growth in recent decades, from a population of 4 lakh in 1941 to 80 lakh in 2011 (96 lakhs for the Bangalore Urban district). In 2021, Bengaluru’s population is likely to be significantly more. If the city is to sustain growth and retain its position as a “global” high-tech city, it must provide its citizens with adequate, affordable, and equitable access to clean water, while meeting sustainability and environmental amenity requirements.

Many options to meet future demand for water have been proposed: expanding Cauvery supply, fixing pipeline leaks, promoting water-use efficiency, harvesting rainwater, rejuvenating urban lakes, using treated wastewater as well as building expensive inter-basin transfer schemes.

The goal of this study is to evaluate this range of options for water and wastewater management, so as provide input to civil society and policy makers as to how a “Sustainable, equitable water vision for Bengaluru” for Bangalore by 2035 may be implemented.

The following research questions will be explored:

  1. Urban Lakes: Can Bangalore’s lakes be managed to satisfy multiple competing objectives of water security, flood protection and environmental amenities?
  2. Equity and efficiency: : How much water can be made available by reducing unaccounted for water? Is it possible to reallocate some Cauvery water from “old Bangalore”, which receives the lion’s share, to the fast growing suburbs by shifting to dual supply and reducing outdoor water use?
  3. Recycled Wastewater: What are the comparative economics, technical considerations and institutional requirements of large centralized versus small decentralized approaches. What are the current barriers to large scale wastewater treatment and reuse/recycling?

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