CHENNAI: Ever swallowed the salt water you gargle with? Pose this question to the village folk of Andarmadam in Tiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu and you may get thrown out.
Believe it or not, the people here have had no choice but to ‘drink’ saline groundwater for centuries.
That is, until a Ph.D geology student from Anna University constructed a percolation pond, which stores rainwater. Now the only salty water you will see in the area is the from the happy tears of the people.
The project, which began four years ago for research fellow Raicy Mani Christy, has taken over `35 lakh from the university, though the pond itself costs only `20,000. “We have constructed a pilot pond of 8m by 8m breadth and width and 1.7m height. During rainfall the water will be stored in the pond and this fresh water will dilute the brackish water. Even if the pond is getting dried up, people can extract fresh water at least for two months,” said Raicy.
“The groundwater salinity is due to marine transgression which is 20,000 years old,” the 27-year-old explained.