60% of Bangalore's wastewater is untreated and flows either into the city's lakes or downstream. With the city's many lakes vanishing due to rapid urbanisation, depletion of groundwater as a result of overuse in the peri-urban areas, and lack of proper underground drainage system and sewage treatment plants, Bangalore is now grappling with issues of imminent water crisis, inequitable access to water supply, and public health hazards.The situation is aggravated by many other challenges such as dumping of industrial effluents, immersion of idols, surface runoff with pesticide inflowetc. leading to deterioration of water quality, impact on local biodiversity, sedimentation, and even contamination of underground water.
There has been growing concerns amongst citizens about the health of the city’s lakes. This has in fact been acknowledged by the government who has now appointed citizen’s groups as ‘Lake Watchdogs’. However, despite years of research, both the government agencies and the citizens are ill-equipped to handle the management of these lakes as information is neither consolidated nor made usable to facilitate easy and informed decision making.Moreover, with various stakeholders and government departments having different responsibilities, there is no common platform to bring data and information from all these sources together.
We are one of the core members of the MIRA consortium- a diverse group of citizen activitis, research organizations, technologists, grassroots NGOs, and private sector actors. Our goal is to strengthen community participation in lake restoration efforts. Our offline engagements focus on working with citizen groups and activists, to ensure that the correct use of data and scientific knowledge brings in the required social change that they wish to see. The repository of this knowledge and data can be found here, on the Citizen Lake Dashboardand here on the Facebook Page
These efforts are financially supported by Oracle Corporate Citizenship.
We are also in the process of creating a mobile application, the Mira app, that enhances and enables citizen participation in nurturing Bangalore lakes through social gaming and open data.
This effort is currently financially supported by Akamai Technologies CSR.
We are part of their accelerator program, in conjunction with Sattva and ICCW. We plan to release the first version of this android application by March 2021.