Saturday, February 24, 2018

Community Groundwater Management in Shantinagar

One of the streets in Shantinagar very close to the BMTC bus depot, floods every rain - upto 6ft standing water, manholes overflow, gets very little or no Cauvery water for most parts of the year. People have dug their own borewells 600ft and deeper but they yield very little water. Most people on the street (about 50 homes) have lived there for more than 30 years and have seen the area grow. The community is very close knit and has known each other forever. Recently drain works have been taken up by the BBMP to clean the larger drains, increase the diameter of the UGDs and storm water drains so as to deal with the flooding issues. As a part of the work the corporator is also considering digging a common borewell and laying supply lines to each of the homes from the borewell. 

One of the ladies from the community called BIOME to explore possible solutions to deal with their water issues. We managed to squeeze a visit to Shantinagar into our schedule and could inform them only a day in advance. It was amazing to see the large turnout for the meeting at short notice. The possibility of investing the "borewell" money for groundwater recharge was suggested and discussed. With some conversations between BIOME and the community it was apparent that the new borewell had little or no chance of being a steady source of water. The recharge wells on the contrary at least would increase the groundwater table. Some more conversations and people took us to see their old open wells. The wells still have water and have not been used in very long. There are memories of the well having water and the well being the source of drinking water when one of the ladies moved into the locality as a new bride. The wells do look unused and there seems to be some contamination as well. BWSSB water is many a time contaminated too. The residents are now keen to revive their opens well, invest in community recharge, implement RWH in each of their homes. The story has to still unfold but we are confident there will be a happy ending and plentiful water when they need it 
The meeting

Water at 8ft below ground level

looking around 

another well - water is cleaner - with RWH

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