Bengaluru group reviving practice of digging water wells

Representative image

A city-based group along with a water conservation expert has set on a task of bringing back the age-old practice of digging water wells in order to conserve groundwater level in the city.

S Vishwanath of Biome Environmental Solutions, also known as Zen Rainman, along with the members of Friends of Lakes (FoL), a city-based lake protection group, has launched a campaign ‘A Million Recharge Wells’ project.

The project not only aims to revive existing age-old water wells but also will dig up ‘a million wells’ so that it helps in recharging the depleting groundwater levels.

They have identified about 250-500 families in the city, which are traditionally associated with the well-digging job, known as ‘Mannu Oddaru’ from the Bhovi community.

“These people, who have been digging wells from more than a thousand years now, have mostly shifted to the peripheral areas of the city as most of these areas depend on borewells as the water supply work from BWSSB is still going on,” said Vishwanath.

The volunteers will help the water well-diggers to understand the issue and also guide them with the safety measures to be taken during the process.

“They will dig new wells according to the bylaw and along with this, we will also revive the existing defunct water wells,” he said.

According to a study on the state of groundwater levels in the city,
conducted by Vishwanath and funded by Wipro, while the core areas have a good amount of groundwater, the peripheral areas are seeing a steady depletion.

“If you dig wells in areas such as Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, you need not go beyond 10-12 feet,” said Vishwanath. However, you have to go deeper in places such as Hoodi, Dasarahalli, Mahadevapura, Yelahanka and Rajarajeshwari Nagar.

"There is a very urgent need to recharge the groundwater level if we have to escape from becoming the next Cape Town. If this project is successful, there is no need to depend on the Cauvery water," said V Ramprasad of Friends of Lakes.

The project will include community participation by involving citizens, elected representatives and educational institutions to communicate the importance of groundwater levels in the city.

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