CHENNAI: Inspired by Kerala, the Chennai corporation has begun giving community wells an ornamental touch. At a time when open public wells are being increasingly closed for construction, corporation officials said such makeovers would encourage neighbourhoods to take pride and ownership of these wells.
City corporation and metro water officials have jointly inspected around 200 unused community wells across all 15 zones of the city and have undertaken desilting and renovation of the community wells that have scope to be revived.
In Anna Nagar 2nd avenue, an old dilapidated well that was previously unused, has received a makeover and has been painted golden. Work is now almost complete. "This was done jointly with metro water officials. We have cleaned it completely and made it ready for residents to draw water," said a corporation official in Zone 8 (Anna Nagar).
Similarly, in the Sholinganallur zone (zone 15) of the city corporation, an old, unused well in Karapakkam now has a bamboo cane-studded exterior and has been desilted.
"The well is more than 20 feet deep and water is available at around 10 feet. It cost us about a lakh to do the renovation," said a corporation official in zone 15.
Corporation officials have collected an array of designs that are being used in Kerala for reference, including wells whose exteriors are designed like baskets, fruits and even birds, which they hope to replicate in the city. Inspections of unused community wells are being carried out alongside inspection of rain water harvesting structures in residential and commercial buildings in the city. The city corporation is looking to ensure that 2 lakh buildings have functional rain water harvesting systems ahead of the onset of monsoons this year. These rain water harvesting structures is expected to recharge ground water and keep the community wells from running dry.
"More wells in the city will soon get a makeover like this. We hope it will change the notion that open wells are a thing of the past and holds little relevance today," said a corporation official.