BENGALURU: A Bengaluru-based firm, which advocates the use of open wells instead of borewells, plans to release an app in about a week which will show the locations and depths of the city’s wells.
Biome Environmental Solutions is essentially an architectural firm which tracks information about open wells. They are assisted by a community of traditional well-diggers who are known as ‘bhovis’ or ‘vaddars’. Whenever the vaddars are commissioned to dig a well, they inform the firm about it so that they can keep track on all the wells in the city.
4,000 wells mapped
S Vishwanath from the firm says that about 4,000 wells have been mapped in the city and added that there are about 10,000 wells in total. “The idea of developing the app is to let people know that using an open well is a better option and that there are people who can do it for you. People have forgotten our traditional ways to obtain water,” he says.
The app can also help people get an idea about the areas in the city that have sufficient groundwater and those which are deficient. Vishwanath says old areas such as Malleswaram and Basavanagudi have enough water and hence a good scope for open wells, whereas peripheral areas like Sarjapur and Ballari Road are deficient. Here, borewells need to go as deep as 1,000 feet to strike water.
Vishwanath outlines the advantages an open well has over a borewell. Another important objective of the firm is to help the vaddars. Shankar, a well-digger from the community, has been forced to do other jobs due to the lack of work.
He has dug about 500 wells throughout the city over the past five years. Speaking about how they find work, he says, “We go door-to-door in a particular area and ask whether they need a well. We agree that they need to pay us only if we find water, which we always do. We are also called to clean silt from the existing wells.” Shankar and team take about two days to dig a 30-foot-deep well.