Many city residents are now turning their focus on recharging groundwater in public spaces in their localities. Rain Centre, a city-based voluntary organisation, is joining hands with residents’ welfare associations to dig recharge wells along road corners.
This year, the Centre plans to dig 40 recharge wells. While 50% of the funds would be provided from corporate social responsibility funds, the residents’ welfare associations would have to pitch in the remaining amount.
Each recharge well of a minimum of 3 feet diameter and 15 feet depth would cost nearly ₹23,000. The wells will help recharge the groundwater table and also reduce waterlogging on the roads.
The Centre’s director, Sekhar Raghavan, said there is increasing awareness about RWH among residents and the calls to the centre have doubled in recent weeks. The groundwater table has gone up in the past one month in some pockets of R.A. Puram and T. Nagar where water is available at 8-10 feet in shallow wells due to considerable rains. Residents may approach the centre at 9677043869 for such joint efforts.
Some residents’ welfare associations in R.A. Puram, Karpagam Gardens and Kalakshetra Colony, have dug such wells on the road corners in their localities over the past two years. P.G. Ramanath, secretary, Lake Area Residents’ Welfare Association said “We funded digging of 11 recharge wells along with the Rain Centre on Lake Area Main Road and other interior roads in 2019. These structures have helped reduce flooding to an extent.”
But, many of them are not functional now as slush and plastic material from the damaged roads and pavements enter into the wells. The association has made several representations to the Greater Chennai Corporation to repair the roads and pavements and help in better maintenance of the recharge wells, he added.
Similar efforts are being carried out in Maraimalai Nagar wherein residents are being sensitised about RWH and water conservation through ‘Catch the Rain’ campaign of Safe Water Network, a non-profit organisation. Recharge wells have been dug in public spaces to demonstrate RWH techniques.
According to Poonam Sewak, vice president (programme and partnerships), Safe Water Network, water ATMs were used as RWH training centres. Awareness was created on how to build RWH structures, rooftop harvesting and water collection for household use, desilting of tanks and recharging groundwater through defunct wells. The campaign would benefit about 4,000 people and reduce their dependence on tap water. A similar campaign would be initiated at Hosur, she said.