Bengaluru’s ‘Zenrainman’ out to bring back the wells

FB page to tell stories about wells has become a sort of crowdsourced iniative to map lost and forgotten ones

Published: 20th February 2017 10:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2017 12:04 PM   |  A+A-

Teacher with students at Shringi Teertha, below the Nandi Hills

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Did you know that the city of Bengaluru has around 10,000 wells? That there are around 500 wells in Basavanagudi alone? If no, then you should join the Facebook page, ‘The Open Wells of India and the World’ started by a long-time water crusader from the city.
Popularly known online as the ‘Zenrainman’, Vishwanath S is a well-known figure who started the page with the idea to identify wells all over the region and tell stories of those wells - whether they have water, whether they are clean.

Crowsourced Well Mapping
The page has now become a kind of crowdsourced initiative to locate wells not only in the city but across the country and has expanded its reach to different parts of the world as well. “Many people have taken it upon themselves as a mission to clean the wells they discovered and bring them back to life,” says Vishwanath.
So far as many as 6,000 posts and pictures have been posted on the group documenting different wells here, across the state, India and some parts of the world. “There have even been entries even from places like Chile, Argentina and France with information like their location, story behind the well and its present state,” he adds.

Aditi Hastak, a city resident from Maharashtra, talks about her recent discovery of a number of wells at Koramangala 3rd block with a map in a post: “Located as many as 15 wells in the block.”
Vishwanath points out that traditional well diggers in the city know of areas in Chamarajpet, Gandhinagar, Shivajinagar and Malleswaram and many other parts where there is water even at 10 feet to 20 feet depth. As a result, Vishwanath is also involved in other project to promote traditional well diggers.
“The fact that they can be easily recharged and can brought alive faster and its water used at a much cheaper rate is the beauty of wells. We need to get back the culture of the well,” adds Vishwanath.

While he was already on the Internet for quite some time, posting videos on YouTube on topics such as rainwater harvesting, water conservations et Vishwanath started the page only three years back, “I realized that the conversation had moved on to Facebook and Twitter so why not use it to raise awareness about critical issues of groundwater and have a functional conversation on the issue,” he says.

World Water Day
Ahead of World Water Day on March 22, Vishwanath will be organising a program on Open Wells and Waste Water in Bengaluru involving citizens and communities.

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