In two Besant Nagar localities, a solution to water-logging is being demonstrated through rain water harvesting wells built on roads, writes Liffy Thomas
In a couple of weeks, Sekhar Raghavan’s men will head to Kalakshetra Colony in Besant Nagar with a whole load of paraphernalia to desilt 18 recharge wells. This is a practice the Kalakshetra Colony Residents Association undertakes every year before the North East monsoon.
The locality comprises six major roads, Rukmani Road, MGR Road, Beach Road, Arundale Beach Road, Appar Street and Mahalakshmi Avenue and a raft of smaller connecting roads. It has about 3,000 houses. Active participation from the residents has ensured that rainwater is not wasted and the area is protected from inundation.
“Last year, we completed the desilting work by January, spending approximately Rs.10,000,” says Shanthi Krishna, general secretary of the association.
Constructing recharge wells for an apartment complex or independent house is a norm. Many localities don’t construct recharge wells for the roads. According to director of Rain Centre, Raghavan, the recharge wells are 10 feet deep, three feet in diameter and have 16 holes with a percolated lid. “For areas close to the coast, constructing storm water drains is not a solution to water stagnation,” he says. Following a slew of campaigns, the Corporation opened up to this idea and agreed to construct recharge wells at First Avenue, Besant Nagar (close to the terminus). “A total of 16 such wells, four feet deep were constructed,” he explains.
Residents recall that much before the recharge wells were constructed, the area would be filled with puddles of water that would not percolate easily. “Since the wells were constructed in mid-2000, there has been no water stagnation. Our roads are like carpets,” says Ms. Krishna.
However, increasing commercialisation is putting a damper on the initiative as some of the harvesting pits are getting closed. Otherwise, the colony has an effective mechanism whereby residents call the association members to clear debris that is blocking water from percolating into the wells.