Monday, December 26, 2022

Biome Trust has won the Transformative Cities People's Choice Award

The winners of the 2022 Transformative Cities People’s Choice Award were announced at an international online event last Friday, 9 December. The 2021-2022 Transformative Cities People’s Award went to four initiatives for their work in the areas of water, energy, housing and food systems. Up to 16000 people from across the globe voted online to determine the winners, out of 12 international projects.

The winners of the Transformative Cities People’s Choice Award 2021-2022:

Water category: Million Wells for Bengaluru (India) aims to tackle the decrease of rainfall and to avoid flooding as the city gets paved over. A traditional but marginalized well-digging community, the Mannu Vaddars, are determined to help their community by sending rainwater to replenish the water table from which the city meets a large part of its water needs. At the same they revive their own livelihoods.

Shuba Ramachandran, who represented Million Wells at the Finale stated “We want that the traditional well diggers see themselves (as) barefoot hydrologists that understand ground water. What we are doing in Bengaluru is being rolled out to other 10 pilot cities and then perhaps to other 500 cities. Winning this award puts us in a much better place to talk about the work that we do and see it work across the country.”

Video of the Award Ceremony will be available at: 

Website of Transformative Cities: 

Website Transnational Institute: 


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Wells of Vidyaranyapura: A Veteran’s Veteran Well in Vidyaranyapura

 About Vidyaranyapura 

Vidyaranyapura is located in Northern Bengaluru. In the 90s, many residents built wells to tap into the shallow aquifer to source groundwater for the construction of their homes and to meet household needs. 

This three-series blog documents three wells found in different parts of Vidyaranyapura. 

An Old Well in Vidyaranyapura

In an old house on 2nd Cross, 7th Main Road of BEL Layout stands a 30-year-old well (13. 0733493, 77. 5566322). The water from this well was used for the construction of the building. After the completion of the building, the well water was utilized for cleaning and washing until it dried up after ten years of regular use.

The well-owner recounts, ‘We used (the) water from this well for the construction of this house. (After that, in the early 2000s) we were getting borewell water that was supplied by BEL…’. Around 2010, when the layout was provided with piped water by BBMP, this household like many others switched to Cauvery water. 

Today, the well is recharged by the rainwater channeled from the rooftop. 

Fig: The 30-year-old well in BEL Layout.

This well stands testimonial to the changes in the water supply that BEL Layout has seen over the last three decades. 

Currently, most wells in Vidyaranyapura have been abandoned or converted into rainwater harvesting structures, due to the steady supply of Cauvery water and the wells drying up in the early 2000s. 

(Click this link to read the second part of the series — a perennial well located in the Vidyaranyapura BWSSB office.)

Wells of Vidyaranyapura: All is well with the BWSSB Well!

 A well with crystal clear water stands in the compound of the Vidyaranyapura BWSSB office. The 50-feet deep and 35-feet wide well can potentially hold over 1 million liters of water !! 

Mr. Shankar, the water-tanker driver employed at the BWSSB office, recalls that he has never seen the well go dry in the last 20 years. He attributes its perenniality to the Narsipura Lake which is 300 meters away from the office. 

 Fig: The proximity of the Narsipura Lake from the BWSSB office (red balloon) 

He confirms that the water from the well is used to fill the 4000-liter-capacity jetting tanker he drives. This water is used for clearing manholes — a volume of 16000 liters and 2000 liters per day is sourced from the well during the monsoons and summers respectively.

Every month, Mr. Shanker volunteers to clear the dead foliage, flowers, and twigs that fall on the mesh covering the mouth of the well. Hence, ensuring its upkeep. 

Fig: The functional, old well located in the BWSSB Office of Vidyaranyapura.

While explaining its multifunctionality, he points at an iridescent school of fish swimming in the water— the BWSSB well is home to aquatic life as well!

Click this link to read the third part of the series — A well-dug in 2020, has the owner brimming with joy as it brims in 2022!

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Wells of Vidyaranyapura: Kamesh Mahadevan’s Well

In order to correct the Vastu of his house (located in BEL Layout) Mr. Kamesh Mahadevan sealed a 30-year-old well that stood in the southeast corner of his house and replaced it with another recharge well in his courtyard.

This 3-feet wide and 20-foot deep well is used to recharge rooftop rainwater. The rooftop rainwater is routed into the well after it passes through a wall-mounted filter.

When the well was dug in 2020, it saw no water for almost a year. Though, with continuous recharge over time, it started to hold water. 

Image 1: Mr. Mahadevan’s well that filled up after two years of continuous recharge

After 2 years, the water has risen to a height of 6 feet from ground level and has stayed thus for the last 6 months ( i. e November 2022). He beams that this is the most it has ever yielded and attributes this to the heavy rains Bengaluru witnessed this year. The excessive rainwater from the brimming well was diverted into the stormwater drain — this proud well owner has done his bit in recharging groundwater. 

He plans on utilizing the water in the well by installing a pulley to draw water manually and to give it an old-school look!