I am very eager to meet people especially elder generation during my open well visits. Most of them would have closed or stopped using the wells. Though the wells were closed, bhavi(well), kallu kattada(stonelined), the hagga (rope), the bindige pot, the pulley, the rise in water table during monsoon was deeply engraved and stay fresh in the minds.
I would hear people saying it used to be a good exercise for ladies in particular. The elderly women and gentlemen would initially say they do not have well and they have closed it long ago. I would quickly give them a small introduction on Biome and Million wells. Here goes my fixed intro:
"I am Rakhsitha from an organization called Biome Environmental Trust. We work on sustainable water management. Bengaluru gets water from Cauvery which is 90kms far and 300m below the ground level. It cost Rs.24 for BWSSB to supply 1KL of water. It supplies water at just Rs.8 for households. We run a campaign called "Million wells for Bengaluru. We say, if Bengaluru has 10 lakhs wells we could reduce the dependence on Cauvery as much as we can. We have to save the existing wells and dig more recharge wells to replenish the fallen groundwater table."
They would be nodding indicating their acceptance. Now its their turn - "we were using the well water extensively. But this was once upon a time". Then I would ask them this was when? Then they would say the well was dug before the house was constructed? "The house was constructed in the year 1970, 1984, 1998...", women would say accurately with the sense of belonging.
From now on I do not have to ask them any questions and they would go on and on with a smile on their face and actions in their hands.
"Madam you know the well water was used by many households? EE mane, ha mane, indina mane,mundina mane..." basially I would hear all manes
"Well water is the purest. We were drinking the well water without any purification."
"Well water is sacred. We were performing sandhyavandane, gange pooje..."
Open wells are not always cheerful. They have their darker phases too...
"After getting municipal water we stopped using the well water. The well will have water in the monsoon. But we have not maintained the well. Thus we cannot use the well water..."
"We have thrown debris inside.
"Our neighbors dug deeper borewells! The water level depleted then on"
"The water would stink. I think sewage is entering the well"
"Yes you are right. Cauvery is from farthest distance. There is huge cost involved. We should think of using local resources".
I would say I am very happy to hear their stories.
Everyone has an open well story.
Just that they should be Dug from the memory lines
Shall we come together to Dig 1 million wells???
- Rakshitha M L