Citizen-led rainwater harvesting improves ground water level in this Chennai suburb

Thanks to the newly installed recharge wells in all streets of their locality, they were able to save almost every drop of rainwater.

Published: 27th August 2019 07:50 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2019 07:50 PM   |  A+A-

Members of the Muthulakshmi Nagar welfare association that has around 200 members

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Residents of Muthulakshmi Nagar in Chitalapakkam have seen a stark increase in their groundwater levels after the recent rains. Thanks to the newly installed recharge wells in all streets of their locality, they were able to save almost every drop of rainwater.

This comes as a major relief for residents as a month ago, the entire locality was dependent on private tankers for drinking water as borewells had completely dried up.

To ensure that this situation doesn't repeat in the future, residents decided to install recharge wells on every street in Muthulakshmi Nagar after consulting water management experts. Since last month, they have installed eight such wells using funds pooled in by residents. These common wells installed at every street corner helped largely in conserving run-off rainwater that otherwise stagnates on the roads.

A recharge well under construction in Muthulakshmi Nagar

Each recharge well is eight feet deep and three feet wide and cost only about Rs 8,000 each. Residents said this was much cheaper than installing a rainwater harvesting structure on the terrace by which only rainwater stagnant on the terrace can be tapped.

"Many residents told me that they can now turn on the motors connected to the borewell for a longer time. A month ago, as there was no water underground, motor barely functioned for ten minutes. We can see a huge change in just a month after installing the recharge wells," said DR Shivakumar, secretary of the residents' welfare association in Muthulakshmi Nagar.

The association plans to install 15 more such structures, such that there is at least one recharge well in all 23 streets. Moreover, a separate team is given the responsibility of getting the concrete lids made which are used to cover the wells.

"We do not buy the ready-made lids available in the market. This is because we don't trust the quality. We want the lids to be sturdy so that it doesn't collapse when large vehicles ply over it," added Shivakumar.

Also, the elevated areas in the locality suffered more during the water crisis as rainwater trickled down to low lying parts. Because of these wells, such areas too benefit now.


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