Living by Walden on Bannerghatta Road

BENGALURU: A high-income gated community of over 500 plots and 250 houses on Bannerghatta Road, Classic Orchards, takes the concept of self-reliance to a whole new level. Its residends don’t depend on the city’s civic agencies for most basic amenities. For water, sewage treatment, road repair and security, they have hired contractors.

“We did it out of necessity, but the community is a model to the rest of the city, on how to be self-sufficient,” says its Resident Welfare Association President Subhu Hegde.

When the layout was first readied for occupancy in 1999, it had four borewells from the farmland that had been converted for residential purpose. There was no supply from the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

Over the years, the number of sites tripled and the capacity of the water source had to be increased. Therefore, they roped in Ecotech, a company that works for environmental restoration. “A bigger storage tank was added to process more waste,” says resident Vishweshwara Upadhayya. “Additional carbon filters were put in to circulating the water.  The breadth of pipes was increased for holding more water.”

It was not a cheap proposition. They needed Rs 15 lakhs for the work, and once again, the residents pooled in.

“We contributed to making the environment cleaner,” says Vishweshwara.

Another environment-friendly initiative taken on by the residents of Classic Orchards was the installation of Rainwater Harvesting.

The project titled Ambudhi (Sanskrit for ocean) was undertaken by Biome Environmental Solutions. It was done over four years and in stages. Now, all the houses conserve water through this system.

The project was successfully completed. Rainwater harvesting was installed for the club house, which has the capacity to store 16 kld for an average 30 mm of rain. It is reused for club house purposes.

Individual households got enough water for gardening and other household purposes. “For instance, in my house, it collects 11,000 litres,” says Vishveshwara.

Forty points were identified to construct recharge wells to fill the borewells that were otherwise drying up during summer, as part of the project. Elevated humps were built over drains to divert rainwater into the harvesting network.

While the whole city is struggling to manage its waste, the layout manages it on their own. They do not depend on BBMP, instead in 2009, they started segregating their waste and converting wet waste into manure. They get about 50 kg of manure from 200 kg of wet waste every day.

LED lights

Last year, a four-week trial run of LED lights for street lighting was done. After this an analysis of the bills was done. It showed 40 percent reduction in electricity charges in four months.

The Water Problem

The layout uses BWSSB water for drinking but the supply is short of the demand. Initially, the layout had 50 families who were serviced by the four bore wells. Gradually more people moved in and a BWSSB connection was provided in 2006 that catered to 250 plots. “There was a shortage of water, as the Cauvery water was supplied only twice a week through one line,” says Hegde.

In 2007, additional 280 plots were added and new BWSSB line was sanctioned, but the connection has still not come through. “I met the BWSSB chairman only a few days ago.  He made promises again, but nothing has been done so far,” says a dismayed Hedge.

The residents knew that wells would not be enough and wanted to source their water in a sustainable manner. Hence, sixteen years ago, they planned an independent sewage treatment plant that could give enough water for their gardens, parks and common lawns. It catered to 150 houses at that time.



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