Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Open Wells and Recharge Well at Puravankara Rest House Park, Bangalore

Rest House Park is located between Rest House Road on the eastern boundary, Rest House Cres Road on the northern boundary. The natural flow of water in the park is towards the entrance of the park, eastern boundary. The 9ft wide Rajakaluve or the storm water drain runs through the park from the west to the east. The lowest point of the park and the area around is at the entrance. The water table in this area is naturally high, and could be seen in the open well in the park and also in the neighbouring apartments.

Rest House Park

All the water from the park flows out into the stormwater drain running through the park. During heavy rains there have been cases of flooding near the entrance due to blockages in the drain and also since this is the lowest point, the entire area water gushes to this point. 

with The water requirement is approximately 6000L per day. The park had an open well which is 6ft diameter and 9ft depth and would yields around 1000L per day. Water from this well and Cauvery water was used in the garden. Puravankara group wanted to manage the water in the park better, and wanted to set an example of good water management practices at Rest House Park. Instead of using Cauvery water that is pumped from over 100 km for gardening, the local groundwater could be used. Simultaneously, the rainwater runoff from the park can be harvested to recharge the groundwater. 

Since the water from the existing well was not sufficient to maintain the park, 2 recharge wells, one open well and rejuvenating the existing open well were proposed and executed by Biome Environmental Trust so that the park can be maintained using groundwater and become independent of piped water. The entire project was funded by Puravankara Group.

Open wells and recharge well location at the park

The work was carried out by the well diggers Ramkrishna and team and Plumber Mohan in October 2021. Rain water coming towards the entrance was diverted to the new 5ft x10ft Recharge well close to the gate.  Water around the children's park area was diverted to new 4ft x10ft Recharge well next to it.  The existing well was cleaned, rings placed and a motor fixed.  A 4ft x 11ft well was dug next to the Cauvery water sump.  A motor was fixed to this well too. Water from both the wells can be used in the garden.  A meter has been fixed for the two open wells to measure the amount of water used. If required water from the recharge wells can also be used.  The water level in the wells was 3ft bgl. It was observed that the recovery rate of the well was 3 hours.   

Annually these wells have the potential to recharge 400,000 litres of water into the ground. Water from 2 open wells is used in the garden. Approximately 1.7 Lakh rupees per year is spent on piped water for the park. With the above intervention 1.8 Million Liters of piped water and 1.7 Lakh rupees will be saved per year. 

Some picture of the work below

Bhoomi Pooja 

Ramkrishna and team

Well diggers at work

After placing the rings and adding jelly around it

Grill cover 2ft below ground level

Well covered with slab and a silt trap before water reaching the well

Plumbing line connection to the well with a meter

Water from the well 

Communication board at the park

Monday, December 13, 2021

TEDxBiomeEnvironmentalTrust2021 - A City and its Used Water

“Countdown is a global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, by turning ideas into action. The goal is to build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world - a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone.”

The main Global Countdown event was livestreamed on Oct 30, 2021 at 12 pm ET (9.30 pm IST) at this link. Biome Environmental Trust registered to host our own TEDx event, called TEDxBiomeEnvironmentalTrust2021 on Dec 4, 2021. The theme of this event was 'A City and its Used Water'. Several speakers from different walks of life - residents, entrepreneurs, government agencies, experts - spoke about different aspects of wastewater. The talks covered the treatment and reuse of wastewater from the home level to the city level, its effects on human health, the role of women and the effects of our daily practices on wastewater quality. Some Countdown talks by international speakers were also included in the event.  

Saturday, December 11, 2021

NFSSM Alliance Presentation

On the 10th December 2021, NIUA had organized a consultation meet with the Alliance team. The presentations from the SCBP studies were conducted by the respective consultants. The aim of the consultation meet was to give constructive feedback on the studies. 

In the meeting,the two SCBP (Sanitation Capacity building Platform) NIUA studies were presented: 

  • The Practice of Sustainable Urban Sanitation: Learnings From Nine Indian Cities" from BIOME 
  • Characterization of Dewatered and Dried Sludge from STPs and FSTPs, Headed by Prof Kazmi - IIT Roorkee
Mr Vishwanath presented the BIOME study. The presentation was followed by a QnA by the participants. 


Link to the recording is here
Link to the presentation is here

- Rakshitha M L

Friday, December 10, 2021

Namma Neeru Namma Javabdaari - Water Demand Management in Bengaluru

The city of Bengaluru has seen tremendous growth across various sectors in the last few decades. The accompanying population influx has invariably put a lot of stress on the available resources, and water is one such critical and indispensable resource. Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is the organization responsible for meeting the water demand of Bengaluru city.  As per BWSSB the current water demand for the city is 2100 MLD, which is an increase of 50% compared to the demand 10 years ago. This demand is projected to increase further by another 38% by 2031. This inevitably puts enormous stress on the finite water sources, be it external sources like rivers or the local groundwater sources. Therefore it is important to take all possible steps to make sure the available water is used judiciously. The good news is that each of us can take steps to contain this increasing demand for water, be it at individual level, household level, community level or at the level of institutions.  BWSSB and Biome Environmental Trust, in collaboration with Citizen Matters and Bangalore Apartments Federation organized a webinar on 20th Nov 2021 to highlight some of the steps that can be taken to limit water consumption and reduce wastage.

The webinar saw participation from senior officers from BWSSB, who spoke about steps taken by the water supply board to manage water demand. Other speakers included Mr Prasanna K V, Vice President of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), Ms Rakshitha ML from Biome, citizen speakers who have taken commendable steps to reduce water consumption in their premises and service providers who provide water metering solutions.

Mr K N Rajiv, Chief Engineer, BWSSB, spoke first and stressed upon the importance of water management for Bengaluru city. A significant amount of water needs is met by a distant source which happens to be the river Cauvery. But even today there is a shortfall of around 8 TMC compared to the demand in Bengaluru city. This demand is somewhat expected to be mitigated by the additional water allocation from Cauvery river by year 2023. Beyond that there is no further allocation planned for the city from external sources, but the demand  will continue to rise driven by population expansion in the city. Therefore, he said  it is imperative that the available water is managed judiciously by reducing wastage and reusing to the extent possible.

He laid out a set of short and medium term plans that have been identified by BWSSB, a summary of which is listed below:

  • Capture and treat 100% wastewater and rejuvenate urban water bodies by 2025
  • Indirect potable reuse of 200 MLD from 2025
  • Increase wastewater treatment capacity from the present 1560 MLD to 1800 MLD by 2023
  • Energy recovery through biosolids management by 2030. The generated energy is to be used to run sewage treatment plants. As of now 1 MW is being generated from the STP at K&C Valley
  • Expanding water and wastewater network to newly developed peripheral areas by 2023
  • Invest fresh capital to rehabilitate and upgrade the distribution and conveyance network, which is quite old and has aged badly. Target this upgradation by 2029
  • Increase recycled water utilisation from present 10% to 15% by 2023
  • Increase the number of properties practicing rainwater harvesting from current 1.5 lakhs to 2 lakhs by 2023


Mr Rajiv added that BWSSB is already selling secondary and tertiary treated water obtained from its STPs.

He also highlighted specific BWSSB regulations which are intended to inculcate conscious usage of water and reduce wastage by the consumers. These relate to installation of internal water meters (for buildings with three or more houses) and installation of automatic water level control systems.

Mr Maheshwarappa, Executive Engineer (Revenue Billing - Information Technology), BWSSB, spoke next, and elaborated on how the water supply board has adopted Information Technology to improve water accounting efficiency, bring in ease of bill payment and ease of applying for new water supply connections.
BWSSB services around 10.32 lakh consumers. He said that adoption of SPOT billing devices has enabled on-time billing for consumers. This device takes into consideration the existing consumer data (which is pre-downloaded) and the current meter reading to generate the monthly bill on the spot. This same data is then uploaded securely to the central server using GPRS technology, thus ensuring end to end transparency for consumers.

BWSSB has now completely enabled online payment of water bills, which was not available earlier. Around 46% of the consumers are now using online mode to pay their bills, and around 30% are using Automated Kiosk Machines. Thus bill payment is now very easy.

He also spoke about the Online Water Connection software - he said the software is called Jaladhare. It is an online water supply connection application which is fully web based, and consumers can apply for a new connection using it. Through this application, consumers can apply for water supply and sanitary connections, and they can also choose any one of the options based on their needs.

Mr B M Manjunath, PRO, BWSSB, shared information about Sir M Visvesvaraya Rain Water Harvesting Theme Park and also spoke about installations which can help reduce water consumption. The RWH Theme Park is spread over an area of 1.2 acres and is located at 40th Cross, 8th Main, 5th Block Jayanagar, Bangalore-41. This park was inaugurated in March 2011, with the express intent of increasing awareness among the general public about the importance of water conservation and rainwater harvesting. This was a visionary initiative taken up by BWSSB officials, who realised more than a decade back that managing water demand was crucial for a city like Bengaluru. The park has 26 different types of RWH models, apart from models of various groundwater recharge structures. The park has been serving the purpose of disseminating useful information about water conservation to the public, students and members of residents’ associations. The park is open to the public from 10:30 am to 5:00 pm on weekdays, and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on Sundays.  

More information can be found at the BWSSB RWH Theme Park Website: https://bwssb.karnataka.gov.in/new-page/Rain%20Water%20Harvesting/en
Email : rwhthemepark@bwssb.org

In the webinar, Mr Manjunath showed one of the RWH models, which is a simple method of capturing rooftop rainwater in a surface tank. This stored water can reduce the household water dependency on external sources like groundwater and BWSSB water supply. He also showed a model of three different types of taps (normal, aerated and flow restrictor) and how each type discharges varying amounts of water. He said, “Most people install normal taps which discharge around 15 ltr per minute. An aerated tap discharges 9 ltr of water per minute and the flow restrictor tap discharges 6 ltr per minute. Therefore by shifting to an aerated tap from normal tap, one can save 6 ltr of water per min. This can add up to significant reduction in overall consumption”

Communities and Organizations helping with Water Demand Management

Prasanna K V, Vice President of Bangalore Apartments’ Federation (BAF), said that BAF is playing an active role by facilitating all aspects of water management which he categorised as Reduce, Reuse and Replenish. He said that most of the member apartments have installed RWH systems, water meters and aerators. He also said that BAF has facilitated the setting up of self-help groups on social media platforms, where member apartments share best practices for implementing water-saving measures and also seek help from each other on addressing specific water related challenges.

Ms Rakshitha from Biome, said that water use can be managed by consumers in two ways, namely on the supply side (rainwater storage and groundwater recharge) and demand side (water metering, water conservation). Specifically on the demand side management, water metering can help water users become aware of their consumption levels, and at community level this metering can also be used to implement an increasing block tariff. She said that water usage can be reduced by adopting certain simple measures like aerators taps, using treated wastewater for gardening, using sprayers for car washing etc.
More information is available at http://bengaluru.urbanwaters.in 

Citizen Speakers and Service Providers

Ms Monisha Varma, resident of Astro Rosewood Regency, Kaikondrahalli, said that the water consumption and the associated cost reduced by about a third after the apartment installed IoT based water meters for individual flats. The meters were installed at a cost of Rs 23 lakhs. Since this initiative has resulted in reduced dependence on costly water tankers, the capital investment is expected to be recovered in about 2 years.

Mr Shameer from SJR Verity, Kasavanahalli, explained how an apartment or layout managing committee can go about bringing in awareness among residents about the need for managing water demand and convincing them to adopt measures to help manage the same. He said that this can be a long drawn out process, but as long as one persists by sharing the relevant information, the residents eventually can be convinced and the results can be very satisfying.

Ms Shubha Ramachandran from Biome, demonstrated a low-cost system to reuse RO reject water for dishwashing at her residence.

In the last segment we also heard from an experienced plumber, Mr Krishnamurthy, who has been installing water meters for over a decade. Based on his experience he said that installation of water meters can bring down the consumption of water anywhere between 30-40 %. He also said that water meters can help detect leakages, thus helping to prevent wastage. Mr Abhilash from WeGot Utilities spoke about smart IoT based water meters and how they can help in managing water usage.

The webinar ended with a Q&A session. The panel of speakers addressed the questions from the audience. The entire webinar was recorded and the video can be viewed at this YouTube link:

The Citizen Matters press article covering this event is available at:

-Srinivas C 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Million Wells for Bengaluru Campaign

Biome Environmental Trust has been working in the area of rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge for the last couple of decades. The experience has revealed that regular and sustained recharge of groundwater in some parts of Bangalore has resulted in improvement in water quality and increase in the groundwater table. 

The campaign aims to motivate individuals / communities / institutions / government to dig / revive / maintain at least 10 lakh (1 million) recharge wells across the city to replenish the water table. 

The purpose of the campaign is also to give the knowledge the well diggers have about groundwater the importance it deserves and integrate this knowledge in managing Bengaluru’s water. Digging a million wells will provide livelihood to the well diggers and keep their knowledge alive and relevant.

This is a campaign and not a project - the idea is that the city and all its citizens own the campaign and take it forward.

The initial idea of the campaign came about much earlier (in the early 2000s) but formally, the campaign has been on since July 2015. We estimate that there are already 1.5 lakh wells in Bangalore, including open wells and recharge wells. And more new wells are being dug every day.

Assuming there are 100 teams of well diggers digging at least one well a day each, only 36,500 wells can be dug in a year. That leaves a lot of scope for innovation and scaling. We have a long way to go, and why should we stop at a million wells?

The million wells will be dug by the city and its citizens (households / businesses / institutions / government of the city) with help from the well diggers. The steps to be taken to reach this goal are as follows:

  1. Spreading awareness about recharge wells and shallow aquifer

We plan to do this by 

  • Organizing public events such as well walks, workshops, talks, photo exhibitions

  • Writing articles in the print and electronic media

  • Sharing stories in text, photo and video formats in social media

  • Participating in city events as speakers / panelists (BWSSB’s events, TEDx, etc)

  • We have a website called bengaluru.urbanwaters.in that is a repository of resources about all things related to water and groundwater in Bangalore

  • Workshops with water users to help them understand and participate in water conservation activities

  1. Providing support for people who want to dig recharge wells

  • We provide consultancy to plan for and design recharge wells for different types of properties 

  • We connect those who want wells dug to well diggers 

  • We provide remote support where needed

  • We work with corporate CSR in the rejuvenation of existing open wells / creation of new recharge wells in public spaces (e.g. Cubbon park, rainwater harvesting theme park in Jayanagar, Defence Colony park off CMH Road, Indiranagar) to demonstrate the working / effectiveness of groundwater recharge.These wells act as demo sites that will help catalyse investment in groundwater recharge by the city govt, corporations, individuals, etc

  1. Monitoring and documentation

  • We are in the process of creating a well map to which people can add their wells - there are around 450 wells on this map already

  • We are documenting well stories - of why people decide to dig or rejuvenate wells, of well water being used, and of the groundwater table going up after digging recharge wells

  • We are working with Bangalore University to monitor the shallow aquifer in some parts of the city to better understand its behaviour

  1. Training people to design, dig and use wells

We work with different groups of water professionals to help them deliver their services more efficiently and effectively and 

  • Training sessions for the well diggers so that they are able to do their work in as professional and safe a manner as possible, and also able to communicate the need for groundwater recharge

  • Training sessions on rainwater harvesting systems for plumbers, civil engineers, architects, real estate developers, government agencies

Monday, November 15, 2021

Visit to JR Greenwich Layout

Rakshitha and Srivalli visited JR layout on 13th November. The details are captured below:

Introduction to the layout

JR Greenwich Layout is a residential layout located in Kodathi (12.89482, 77.70941) towards the South East of Bengaluru city. It was constructed in 2015. It has 180 plots out of which 102 are occupied. There are around 400 residents. 

Map of JR Greenwich Layout

The layout is under Bengaluru urban district and yet to be part of BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike). It does not receive Cauvery water and majorly dependent in-house borewells. It requires 60 KLD (Kilo Litres a Day) at 150 litres per person a day. The Layout was under the management of the builder till the year 2018. The Residents Welfare Association (RWA) was formed in the year 2019. 

The Residents Welfare Association

The members of the association were water enthusiasts and ran a successful campaign to create awareness about water conservation. During 2019, the water scarcity was worst hit and finding water tankers was a task. The association did not want to get into a similar crisis situation in the future and thus aspired to make the layout water sufficient. The association chose to harvest the rainwater in sump tanks and reuse it for domestic purposes. But the residents did not respond to this positively. 

Recharge wells

The RWA got a chance to visit Rainbow Drive Layout on Sarjapur road and learnt from the implementation of best practices. The suggestions of well digger Krishna were also taken into consideration and RWA decided to dig recharge wells. With the help of residents' cooperation , JR layout dug 29 recharge wells at individual villas and 8 recharge wells in common areas. The recharge wells have led to the increase in the yield of borewells and the dependency on water tankers dropped down to 50%.

Demand management

The RWA also managed the demand side of water management by installing aerators in every individual villa, metering the water consumption and sending online notices to the villas which consume more water. The layout also reduced the fresh water demand by using treated wastewater from the Sewage Treatment Plant for gardening. 

Recharge wells

- Rakshitha

Thursday, November 11, 2021

BIOME team visit to Tumkur

I always wanted our BIOME team to visit Tumkur. I had mentioned this to Shubha ma'am and she was equally excited and said it gonna be BIOME's day trip:) 

Everyone wanted to visit Tumkur and see the existing water management practices. It was difficult to finalize the suitable date considering everyone's feasibility, the plan had to be postponed multiple times. Finally the BIOME's visit to Tumkur was made on October 4th 2021 and Shubha, Suma and Nikita were part of it. 

The key place to visit in Tumkur was of course Baje fields - Everyone's favorite! Suma ma'am was excited to visit Mydala lake as I had told her stories about Mydala lake, its bird diversity, rocky catchment and most importantly she could try and climb all the rocks available! Nikita would always say yes for Mydala lake as she fell in love with everything about the lake in her last visit. Shubha ma'am was interested to take a look at the public wells to be taken up for rejuvenation. We removed Devarayanadurga hill from the itinerary as it would consume more time. 

Let me tell you what all did we see, ate and chat during our visit:

The first stop: 

We visited Mydala lake from Mandhanagiri hills. What could be better than climbing a hill early in the morning! We took a took at the inscription stone which dates back to 1000 A.D. Eeshwara Dandanayaka, military official of Hoysala dynasty renovated Mandanagiri temple and Padmavati his wife built Mydala kere and a wetland and donated to the people. 

We sat on the rock and had wide variety of chat starting from copy pasting in the blog is difficult, plucking the water lily, birds, next trip, well diggers, the still water in the lake,its color and so on... I must tell the company for all of us was the hot black tea that Suma ma'am got (served in steel glass) which tasted heaven.

The rocks that Suma ma'am wants to climb
The lake from Mandhangiri hill 
Suma m'am enjoying her black tea
We realized we should speed up as we had many places lined up. We visited my house in Mydala which is just couple of minutes away and took a took at my recharge well. 

After breakfast, we saw "Gundlammanakere lake" which is receiving untreated wastewater. The lake was full of macrophytes like Hyacinth, Aligater weed and Water Cabbage. We saw two wells next to the lake and decided these wells cannot be rejuvenated as the same water seeps into the wells. 

Hyacinth in Gundlamanakere lake
The well next to the Gundlammanakere lake

One and only: Baje

Baje is a medicinal crop (wetland plant) called as Sweet Falg (Acorus Calamus), is grown in 200 acres in the command area of Bheemansadnra and Melekote lakes. It is grown largely only in Tumkur city as there is availability of treated wastewater. Baje's root is used to cure various diseases and very much part of traditional medicines. It is exported  to pharmaceutical industries in the West.

Baje looks like an endless green carpet reaching the horizon
We got down to smell the Baje (It smells great).
 Baje is used as a spice too and also to make perfumes
This charming old man is a shepherd who will tell us everything about the lakes, Baje, 
roamers and realities about the wastewater. His smile and energy won our hearts
Farmer Narayanappa has 30 acres of Baje (contract farmer). 

The bund is very small a car and a two wheeler could pass at a time. Narayanappa's Scorpio car came from the other side of the bund when we were almost reaching the end. What if he came when we were at the center of the bund? Never mind, he would easily got himself on the reverse gear ;)

The Sewage Treatment Plant of 24.75 MLD capacity following Aerated Oxidation Pond technology

The public wells:
After lunch we visited the well in Upparahalli. It is on the road and was extensively used by the community there. It has been contaminated with sewage for two years and it is not put into use. We decided to take this well for rejuvenation as soon as we get the funding. 

 Upparahalli well
 Kyathsandra well
Crystal clear water

The last stop was at this well. There were four parallel roads and I was confused about the well location. We ended up passing on all the roads ;) The well was painted with the left over paint from the neighboring painter :) The well is well maintained and put into use occasionally when there is scarcity. 

The food: Last but not the least 
We had our breakfast at very famous Pavitra hotel. What else will we have when we are in Tumkur? Of course the thatte idly was too yumm. Dosa was oily and Maddur vada was too tasty. The lunch at Vilasi Delight was too good. Sitting in a very crowded and noisy yet immersed in our conversations and enjoying the food was something :)

"A tumkur trip is Totally recommended. With breakfast at Pavithra and lunch at Vilasi" - Shubha

The biodiversity: The uniqueness about the visit was that the BIOME team was interested in birds and wetlands. It was fun to identify the birds and wetland species. Suma ma'am binocular was best used. Seeing the line of Stilts on the binocular was something awesome (they stand by their name). The discussion on how lakes can go beyond water by considering creating spaces for birds to inhabit and bringing in the Puttenahalli (North) model was something. 

- Rakshitha 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Biome at Bhoomi College 2021

Biome Environmental Trust conducted a three day training program at Bhoomi College from 27th to 29th October 2021. 

Day 1:
The very first session of the training was taken up by Mr.Vishwanath. He started by setting a context to water management in urban and rural areas and discussed the best practices, challenges and trends in sustainable water management practices. 

The second session of the day was taken up by Rakshitha who discussed wastewater management in Indian cities and towns. She introduced the concept of wastewater by discussing on-site and off-site sanitation systems in detail. In her presentation she focused on the water and sanitation practices in Devanahalli town in detail and quickly walked through the formal and informal sanitation practices in Tumakuru city and Bengaluru metropolis.  

Day 2: 

The second day of the training was a field trip day. Suma took the students to see the recharge wells at Cubbon Park. They also interacted with the well digger Ramakrishna who had dug the recharge wells. After the Cubbon Park visit, they visited Sanjay Nagar government school where Shivanand and Srivalli took them around the school to explain the implementation, design and work process of the rainwater harvesting system implemented in the school.The last destination was Devanahalli town. Shivanand and Srivalli explained the prominence of Sihineerukere and wells and the change in paradigm after urbanization. They explained the present importance of lake with entry of treated wastewater under the HN valley project which in turn recharged the old wells bringing back their past glory. They briefed the group about the rejuvenation of  an old well with a view to integrate the well water into the panchayat water supply making it the first of its kind in town water supply. 

Day 3:

Day 3 was an open house session. Shubha started the session by creating a checklist of questions that the students wanted to discuss (and yes the board  was full). Rakshitha presented the Million Wells campaign. Post tea break Shubha walked everyone through the "bengaluru.urbanwaters.in" website, played videos on water management in schools, the recharge wells and the Earth mural etc. Post lunch students were taken to Prakriya school in the same campus to see the DEWATS (Decentralized Wastewater System) which treats the grey water from the kitchen. Students opened the lids of the settling tanks, the monitoring pipe lids and walked on top of the jelly packing in the phytorid system. 

It started to rain while walking back to Bhoomi college which triggered students to ask practical questions on the gradient, flooding and to show us the stormwater recharging pit in their campus. The last presentation was on two case studies from Million Wells - Railwheel Factory and Nandideepa apartment which was discussed by Rakshitha. Shubha wound up the session by answering the questions listed on the board. 

It was my first visit to Bhoomi College. I was told Bhoomi has a beautiful campus, it follows an informal and holistic education, students from diverse backgrounds and age groups would be participating. The intro was exciting. This was in fact the first group gathering post Covid. I loved the beautiful earth block buildings, the calm and serene campus, the garden, Carbon (the cat with bright green eyes) and of course the wholesome food. I personally enjoyed talking about Devanahalli and Railwheel Factory's best water management practices. I loved the questions students asked, the favorite one being "Who coined the term Honeysuckers?". This was my question too and it was so much fun to figure out it is Vishu sir's coinage!. Cheers to all the giggles, laughter and mischievous fun!. 

- Rakshitha

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Wells stories from Vidyaranyapura (Part 2)

On 11th visit to Vidyaranyapura, I witnessed interesting stories on wells. I am sharing few stories here:

1. The significance of open wells

" The question on water supply to households by the government came only in 1987 when the housing society started to supply the water to households. Before 1987, households had to find a source of water themselves. Back then the lakes were full and every household dug open wells. There was no thought on drilling borewells. Open wells played a significant role before the formal supply of piped water by the government. After piped water, there was no need to use open wells as there was sufficient water supply. People ignored open wells. That was also the time of borewell intrusion. The borewells have led to the collapse in groundwater table. Majority of the households closed their wells as they ran dry".

- Mr. Raja Mani is the resident of 2nd block, Vidyaranyapura

2. Community connect with the wells

People had a strong connection with their wells irrespective of they using the well or otherwise. Though it was bit difficult to start a conversation but it would go smooth once they start to share their stories.  I have seen 20 wells and spoken to 10-12 people. There were hardly two to three people who were not open to have a conversation on their well. Majority of the welcomed the conversation on well and water and few people very enthusiastic to share their views and stories. It was very great to see people coming forward to talk about their wells. 

3. Re-digging of open wells

Every time I am on field, I would notice a sense of regret from the people for closing their wells. They would decide to close their wells for reasons like space constraint, sewage contamination, vastu, sufficient piped water supply etc. They may not have always taken the decision out of their choice. When they are initiated with the conversation on well, they would take a pause and think if closing the well was a right idea or would they have done something better. In a nut shell most of the people in Vidyaranyapura residents are connected to their wells emotionally. 

1. Mr.Raja Mani had dug an open well in 1983, he was using the well till 1987. After getting piped water he closed the well from top. Later during 2015, while renovating and rebuilding the house, he closed the well with debris. While applying for building approval, the form mentioned rainwater harvesting is mandatory for the approval. He then removed the debris and re-dug the well for 7ft. 

Mr.Raja Mani's well

2. Mr.Kamesh Mahadevan had an old open well which was more than 20 years old. He had closed the well in 2019 as it was not in a right location according to vastu. He was inspired by Mr.Vishwanath's post and wanted to dig an open well again. He was interested to use the well water. He got in touch with Biome and dug an open well in 2019. He has allowed the rooftop rainwater to recharge the well. The well is 4ft in diameter and 20ft deep. The well hit water at 7ft and as of now the well is not holding water and working as a recharge well. He is planning to re-deepen the well to 30ft as neighbor wells of 30ft deep has water. He expects the well will start to hold water  in the coming year.

Mr.Kamesh's well

4. Groundwater recharge

The residential households in Vidyaranyapura have taken up the initiatives of groundwater recharge. 

There are residents who are just using their open wells to recharge the rooftop rainwater(not using the well water) to comply with building bylaws. Households who use the open well water extensively have directed the rooftop water into the well to improve the water level and also the water quality. Households have dug recharge wells as a conscious step towards sustainable water management. 

1. Mr. Sathish is the resident of Chamundi layout, Vidyaranyapura. He dug the recharge well to fulfill the building bylaws which mandate RWH and he was also interested in sustainable water management in his house. The recharge well was dug by Plumber Mohan. It is 4ft wide and 20ft deep. The well did not hit water and Mr.Sathish is interested to re-deepen the well to 30ft like Mr.Kamesh as the neighbor wells which hold water are 30ft deep. 

5. Use of open well water for construction: 

Mr.Raghuram built his house during 2017. He chose to dig an open well over borewell to build the house. The well was dug by Well digger Shankar(Ph:9900283755) and team and it went up to 18ft deep and 3ft in diameter. He hit water at  8ft and got 5 inches of water. The entire house was built using this water and no additional sources of water(water tankers) were used. Currently the well has water at 5ft from the ground level. The well water is used for all domestic purposes. In addition, he has let rooftop rainwater into the sump tank(9000litre) and channelized the overflow towards the open well.  

Mr.Rajamani's well mentioned above was used to build a neighbor's house during 2015-16. The entire G+2 house was built using the open well water.

 Raghuram's open well