This summer, several neighbourhoods across Bengaluru have encountered severe water scarcity. In areas such as Bellandur, residents have cried foul over private water tanker operators allegedly playing truant and people trying to cash in on the situation by drilling borewells in just about any place, including footpaths.
Though the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike and Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board have debated the problem, there has been little relief for citizens. This is why some of them have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Residents in Bellandur have started digging recharge wells on their premises with the aim of rejuvenating groundwater levels, which, in the city, have been alarmingly low.
Seema Sharma, a resident of the area, said the crisis became worse when tanker operators refused to supply water even when people were ready to pay more. “The aim is to have at least 2,500 of the one million water recharge pits being planned for the city in Bellandur. All communities are seriously working on it,” she said.
Srinivasa S.A., an IT professional who lives in a layout off Sarjapur Road, said they were residents of some 25 independent houses who had not been affected as badly as residents of apartments in the area, but had already started digging pits.
“We are funding this ourselves. We are getting recharge pits done in each house, as well as one big one for the layout. Though we are comparatively in a more remote place and are not yet surrounded by large apartments, we have already seen borewell water reduce. We foresee more buildings coming up around us, which will increase the problem. We want to be prepared,” he said.
The pits they are digging on their premises require around 3 ft space, are 1 ft away from the foundation, and need around ₹25,000 investment, said Mr. Srinivasa.
Luke Dhanaraj from the Bellandur Development Forum said there were around 100 apartment complexes in the area and the idea was to ensure that not a single drop of rainwater was allowed to flow out of one’s premises.
“We had a workshop a month back where inputs on harvesting rainwater were discussed. Apart from using rainwater by installing harvesting systems, we are in the process of setting up recharge pits before the onset of monsoon,” he said.