The source of water has to be protected if we need it in our cities and villages.

Few people in Bangalore would believe that the water that flows into their sinks when the tap is opened has its origins in the Western Ghats but that is the fact. It is the rain falling on the hills of Kodagu or Wynad which finally ends up in our homes. Suddenly it is dawning upon many that the source of water has to be protected if we need it in our cities and villages.

The Hessarghatta reservoir on the Arkavathy was once a source of water for the city. Designed for a population of 250,000 people at 55 litres per person per day it may long have outlived its life but yet suddenly has become important. A major cleaning drive of desilting tanks and channels on the upstream, albeit a bit haphazard and inefficient, with some good rains has resulted in a good volume of water flow into the reservoir. Another bout of heavy rain due to a cyclone or a depression in the Bay of Bengal may result in the reservoir actually filling up. Concentrating on the source of the water and cleaning up the catchment has helped augment water supply.

The Jakkalamadagu reservoir is on the Chitravati and a source of water to both Doddaballapur and Chickballapur towns or will be. The reservoir has been deepened and made ready to hold a large volume of water. With adequate rains this will happen.

In the government schools we work across and around Vijayapura town, the staff has been working on cleaning the roofs of the buildings.

For many of them the source of water is the rainwater collection from the rooftop into their sumps. Concentrating on the source and improving the catchment helps here too for a full sump means more clean water for the mid-day meals, the toilets and even for drinking.

Across the many wells in the city people are gearing up and understanding the importance of recharge. Stormwater infiltrated into the ground using recharge wells fill up the shallow aquifer and make sure that there is water when required around the year.

Desilting helps

Where borewells are the source the recharge zones may be spread across kilometres and may be far from the source of the water itself. Yet the city should realise that desilting lakes and ensuring that they are full seasonally will also recharge borewells across kilometres.

Looking at the source, understanding the catchment or recharge zone and taking steps to clean, protect, and preserve it is crucial for sustainable water supply. Look at your source of water and tell me what is happening to it and I will tell you what your water future is likely to be. This is water wisdom.