Why Bengaluru must return to its open wells

Why Bengaluru must return to its open wells

Bengaluru: Returning to the culture of open wells along with a sound rainwater harvesting mechanism is the only way to meet the water needs of Bengaluru, experts said on Sunday.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Bengaluru’s Lakes’, water conservation expert S Vishwanath said costly projects to bring water from Linganamakki or Mekedatu were not only unsustainable but will also augment the prevailing ignorance about conservation.

Noting that Bengaluru stands apart from other metros in the country due to a clear quantification of loss of water due to leakage and quantity of usage, Vishwanath said such information should drive decision-makers to arrive at effective solutions.

He said that rejuvenating the open wells and lakes should be taken up side by side to channel the rainwater for recharging underground aquifers.

“Bengaluru has 10,000-odd open wells. Water from these wells is still used for drinking purpose with minimum treatment. Restoring the defunct open wells to their original status will help groundwater recharging,” he said.

Vishwanath said the government needs to adopt a multi-pronged approach of strengthening the institutions as well as communities engaged in water conservation.

“The BWSSB doesn’t have groundwater, hydrology or environment specialists who can help make the right decisions. The expertise of the Bhovi community and water diviners are often ignored. An integrated water management system which makes use of traditional knowledge along with science can be an effective solution,” he said.

Director of the Institute of Social and Economic Change (ISEC) M G Chandrakanth, who chaired the session, expressed concern over industries discharging effluents into borewells.

“In Peenya, some industries are letting effluents into defunct borewells, injecting poison into aquifers. This is a matter of grave concern but the pollution control board officials have not been able to check it,” he said.

Chandrakanth said bringing water to Bengaluru from other places will create an artificial demand that is driven by supply.

“Rejuvenating and restoring our wells and lakes will not only cater to the needs, but also regulate unchecked growth,” he added.

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