Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Memorandum to CM - Concerns on proposed STP in Agara Lake

Date: 8th July 2013

Shri Siddaramaiah
Honorable Chief Minister
Government of Karnataka

Respected Sir,

Over that last year and a half, many of us who have been part of the Agara Lake forum have been interacting with the Lake Development Authority (LDA) for the revival and rejuvenation of Agara Lake. Post your visit last September, the progress to revive and rejuvenate the lake has been in a steady pace and the tender to prepare a DPR has been awarded to a qualified firm.

For the last few months BWSSB has been surveying Agara Lake to setup a 3MLD Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), it has also been found that they have identified over 2+ acres of Agara Lake wet land for the STP. We as citizens are extremely concerned about the proposal to install an STP in Agara Lake or in its vicinity.

The following are the concerns:
  • If an STP is constructed in the existing Wet Land of Agara Lake, it will irreversibly destroy the large wet land which is a unique feature and natural bio-filter of Agara Lake. It will be detrimental to the ecosystem – birds, fishes, walkers and surroundings.
  • Good quality treated water STP water outlet  is learned to be available in the apartment near the lake which can take care of the evaporation and seepage loss significantly during non-monsoon period if let in through the wet lands.
  • Proposed STP is at a cost of 30-35 crores which is indeed a huge waste of money as STP many not even be required as all the options to direct water to Agara Lake has not been explored & exploited fully.
  • Proposed STP is on a large scale experimental basis with a new technology and permanent funding to keep the STP operational is huge. Operations, Maintenance and replacement of Membrane of STP with Membrane Technology is very expensive and it’s not clear what will be the source and how the funding be managed in the long term.
  • STP is likely to generate a great amount of Sludge and the method/process of disposal of Sludge is not clear.
  • It is not clear whether 3MLD Membrane based technology plant will treat the water flowing for the SWD (which is a mix of domestic, Industrial waste and rain water) or the sewerage from the UGD pipelines that are proposed to be laid.
  • The characteristics (Industrial, Domestics etc) of the sewage are unknown and it’s not clear whether the water flowing into the plant requires some pre-treatment.
Our suggestions:
  • The proposed STPs to must be constructed in upstream of the lakes chain of Bangalore.
  • Revamp the existing STP in upstream Lake of Madivala which is currently partially functional and also unable to treat in excess of 20MLD.
  • Reconsider STP only after implementation of LDA revival plan and after exhausting all the options of directing the water from the HSR catchment area, long-term view has to be taken to install STP’s on a need base and not as magical solution.
  • The lake has a good catchment with a network of streams leading to the lake. HSR Layout catchment has NOT been let in from the year 2004 and raw sewage has been entering in the last few years. So the catchment area has to be fully utilized to divert water flow into the lake through the wet lands. Revival plan for Agara Lake should include clearing all the SWD and letting in the water flow into the lake.
We also would like to reiterate that we are not against the STP as a concept; STPs are indeed a necessity, given the water crisis Bangalore city is going to face in the next 2-3 years. But Government should take a long term view on the planned STP and question BWSSB’s intent on setting up STPs in downstream lakes rather than upstream lakes. 

As primary stakeholders our agenda is to save the lake from deteriorating or misuse and to put to use a great source of water body that could recharge the depleting underground water tables for common good. The lake is indeed a land mark and we wish to save the lake and the greenery that is much needed in an already concrete jungle.

We are submitting this memorandum in full faith that you will take cognizance of all the above points mentioned and will act upon without any delay.

Thanking you,
Warm Regards