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 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

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