The ‘Million Wells for Bengaluru’ campaign was started by the Biome Environmental Trust in July 2015 and is expected to run for ten years, till 2025. The explicit objective of the intervention is to increase the groundwater table in the city while providing livelihoods to the local community of traditional well diggers (called Mannu Vaddars) in Karnataka.
The implicit objective is to build a water culture in the city, where people value water availability, water structures, and also take responsibility for managing groundwater collectively. They should look at groundwater not just as a resource to be extracted, but also to be conserved and managed with community participation.
The initiative aims at striking a balance between groundwater extracted and recharged. It also envisages making groundwater a community resource – something that everyone is responsible for. As a result of this, the recharge is managed bottom-up, with each citizen digging and maintaining a well themselves. People also begin to understand that they might not directly benefit from recharge wells, but if everyone recharges, the entire community benefits. As awareness of the issue increases, more people begin to understand the ecological flows that surround us, and what they can do to protect these systems. It also inculcates a feeling of giving back and emphasises the importance of doing so.
The presentation below explains the details of the campaign – what it is, how it will work and who is the target audience.