It takes just one spell of rainfall to revive the water table, and preparation is the key, says water activist S. Vishwanath

The layout inNorth Bangalore is adjacent to a lake. It does not have connections from the city mains for now but residents are moving in and starting to build. The MLA sanctioned a borewell and this has been dug. It is yielding water. The layout has a nascent residents’ association and there are young people as office-bearers. They do not have much time to devote but are keenly interested in the water issues. Through a resolution they have decided not to allow private, individual bore-wells but to share the groundwater through community borewells such as the one funded by the MLA. These are bold, wise steps.

Now they want to take the next step: that each and every house must have a rainwater harvesting system to store and recharge water. The common stormwater drains too will be designed to recharge the ground through recharge wells.

In another layout on Sarjapur Road, there is a frenzy of activity to envelop the entire area with recharge wells. Of the three borewells, two have stopped yielding and the only one which yields water is the shallowest of them all. This layout too has banned individual borewells and shares water from the community borewell.

Muniyappa, a professional well digger, now popularly called ‘Bhavi Muniyappa’, has dug over 1,500 recharge wells in the city. He explains that never has he seen such activity for digging recharge wells and making sure that the rainwater infiltrates into the ground. He and his team complete a well which is seven metres deep and one metre in diameter in two days’ time, all done manually. All this work has its reward even during summer rains, not to mention the monsoon.

It takes but one rain to revive water and preparation is the key (read box)

If the city does it on a war footing the monsoon of 2013 will be a bounty. That is water wisdom.