CHENNAI : At a time when the civic body is receiving much flak from Chennaiites for not preparing the city before the onset of monsoon, groups of resident bodies are actively working towards the installation of recharge wells to primarily replenish the aquifer and to avoid waterlogging in their localities. Residents of Raja Annamalai Puram are leading by example. Four months back, 400-odd residents under the aegis of RA Puram Residents Association pooled in funds to begin the installation of 14 recharge wells in around nine streets in their locality. This was done primarily to harvest rainwater and to avoid excess water from draining directly into the Buckingham Canal through stormwater drains.
“We had identified locations which are usually severely inundated even during light showers. Fourth Main Road is one such location and here we have installed three wells. The cost of each well came up to `19,000 and was funded by contributions from residents,” said TN Srinivasan, vice-president of the association, who spearheaded the project.
Each well of dimensions 3 ft width and 15 ft depth will store 3,000 litres of water per hour and is fitted with a perforated lid to allow enhanced percolation of rainwater in RA Puram. “Twelve such wells have been installed on pavements so far. We plan to install two more in the coming months. We hope more associations take up this initiative before the northeast monsoon sets in,” said Hariharan G, a resident of 4th Main Road.
Resident welfare associations of MRC Nagar, Rathna Nagar in Teynampet, Abhiramapuram, Raja Street and Thiruveedhi Amman Kovil Street in Mandaveli are gearing up to collect funds to install recharge wells in their respective localities.
Besides voluntary efforts by residents, around 100 locations have been identified by the Chennai Corporation in Mylapore constituency to install such wells before the onset of northeast monsoon, said Mylapore MLA R Natraj. “I have allocated `10 lakh exclusively to carry out this project. Recharge wells are very effective in increasing groundwater levels. Instead of wasting rainwater by letting it into stormwater drains, these wells store them and replenish the aquifer,” he said.
Residents of MRC Nagar are planning to install five wells similar to those in RA Puram while the Thiruveedhi Amman Kovil Street Residents Association will install one recharge well in their street by Tuesday. Residents of Mandaveli Raja Street residents association had installed one such well last Friday and plan on installing two more on Raja Street and Kandasamy Street, said Ganga Sridhar, active member of the association. “After we a dug a spot to place the well, we found EB lines and sewage pipeline to be in the way. So, we had to restart the process and shift the well’s location. If TANGEDCO, Metro Water and the Corporation can give us a colour-coded map of the locations of all these lines, it would save us a lot of time,” she said.
Rain Centre director Sekhar Raghavan who has been assisting these associations to install wells said the local body should promote the installation of recharge wells as much as the construction of stormwater drains. “These structures are easier to maintain and act as a flood mitigation method. Previously residents only wanted to stop waterlogging, now many are coming forward to harvest rainwater. Support from the MLA is also a big encouragement for residents,” said Sekhar, adding that Seethamal Colony and MRC Nagar residents had approached him on Friday for his help with installation of these wells in their neighbourhood.
Recharge wells in RA Puram
Each well of dimensions 3 ft width and 15 ft depth will store 3,000 litres of water per hour and is fitted with a perforated lid to allow enhanced percolation of rainwater