Photo: Shreyans Bhanali via flickr commons

Positively Transforming Cities - The Multiplier Effect

We pioneer ecologically-based and neighborhood-scaled water infrastructure for cities. We believe that our completed work will produce longterm effects that in combination become a multiplier of real opportunities with the potential to energize the capacity of every individual and by extension the greater whole of the community. 

Better Lakes Better Bangalore




In Bangalore, India, the Sherwood Institute works to advance the restoration and protection of its lakes; once a vital part of the water supply. In the summer of 2013, Sherwood Institute launched Better Lakes Better Bangalore, bringing together government agencies with influence over the lakes, community and corporate stakeholders. Based on these meetings and research we developed a Vision Plan that outlines the next steps we see as critical for Bangalore to move through the 21st century in a sustainable manner. We are now circulating and advocating for the adoption of this Vision Plan. 

Included in this effort will be events to increase awareness around this urgent issue of lake degeneration and dwindling water supply, as well as a push to engage the CSR programs of some of the many multinational corporations located in Bangalore.

Photo: Ross Pollack via  flickr commons           Mumbai: Maharashtran's filling up their water cans off a "borrowed" pressure valve on a main city water pipe. A daily ritual for the entire family to be able to access increasingly scarce water. 

Photo: Ross Pollack via flickr commons  

Mumbai: Maharashtran's filling up their water cans off a "borrowed" pressure valve on a main city water pipe. A daily ritual for the entire family to be able to access increasingly scarce water. 


The lakes of Bangalore, some which date as far back as the sixteenth century, were created by damming streams in the four natural valley systems in Bangalore. They were built as a public utility to provide water for drinking, irrigation, fishing and other uses. However, during the past 30 years the lakes have undergone significant degradation due to urbanization. This degradation, in the form of infill, pollution and the alteration of drainage patterns, has turned the lakes into a public health and environmental justice off ender. Out of the over 280 original lakes and tanks in the city, only a fraction remain, and of those, only a handful have been restored, protected and are in good condition. 

The lakes and streams that remain are a resource for many of the half million poverty stricken city dwellers who continue to use the polluted water—spreading disease and sickness. In addition, the city has lost an important connection to its history and faces dire water shortages with nearly one third of projected water demand unlikely to be met. During this rapid period of urbanization the City has stressed water supplies to the point of near disaster while unable to meet the growing demand. 

The Sherwood Institute, in collaboration with Invicus Engineering and Carollo Engineers, signed a memorandum of agreement with the Bangalore Development Authority in 2012 with the primary purpose of developing a vision for the lakes of Bangalore and a framework for their regeneration. This Vision Plan defines goals and guiding principles for lake regeneration, covers approaches to combating the primary water resource challenges, and proposes a process for the implementation of a comprehensive plan.

The regeneration of the lakes of Bangalore is an undertaking that is bigger than one agency can handle and more complex than a single plan can detail. The process will involve collaboration among agencies both at the state and local level with input and support from private and non-governmental stakeholders. The Vision Plan we have developed recognizes this challenge and as such proposes a dynamic solution that revolves around the preparation of a Sustainable Water Supply Plan for the City of Bangalore. Internationally, as the current global water crisis has intensified, Water Supply Plans have proven to be an effective tool to combat rapid growth and the challenges that come with an unpredictable climate. Implementation of such a plan will allow the City of Bangalore to realize its potential, regenerate its lakes, and move through the 21st Century in a sustainable manner.

The Sherwood Institute is now continuing to advance the work in Bangalore, India by pushing for the adoption of the recommendations put forward in this Vision Plan, by working to increase awareness around this issue, and by engaging additional CSR programs in the effort to improve the water security, sustainability, and health for the millions of inhabitants of Bangalore



Project Type: Innovation & Urban Water Design


Image credit: Waggonner & Ball Architects via  Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan

Image credit: Waggonner & Ball Architects via Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan

In support of the effort led by Waggonner & Ball Architects of New Orleans, Sherwood Institute helped with the development of the groundbreaking Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan. As described by the project sponsor Greater New Orleans, Inc., this effort addresses the challenges of increasing rainfall and risks posed by climate change to land and water infrastructure. It will allow New Orleans to make better use of its water assets, while bringing innovations in engineering, planning, and design to other coastal regions where robust water infrastructure is critical to survival and economic prosperity. More information on the plan can be found at




Project Type: Community-Scale Infrastructure

For the Green Line Parks and Commons Initiative in Minneapolis – St. Paul, Sherwood Institute conducted high-level research of Twin Cities stormwater policies and practices and participated in a series of client and developer roundtable discussions. The outcome established an approach to effectively meet stakeholder goals of open space and green infrastructure and to integrate functional green infrastructure with Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) given the variability of land ownership and uses in the corridor.