Rejuvenation of six open wells at Hunasamaranahalli

Context

Hunasamaranahalli is a small town located 22 kilometres from Bengaluru city and comes under Yelahanka taluk, Bengaluru Urban district of Karnataka. The Town Municipal Council (TMC) was formed by the amalgamation of the gram panchayats of Hunasamaranahalli and Sonnappanahalli. Rapid urbanisation has resulted in many of the local residents giving up agriculture. The town is completely dependent on groundwater for its water supply. Borewell depths have reached more than 1000 feet (ranging from 350 to 1500 feet). There are 62 borewells, of which 20 are not yielding. Around 2500 kilolitres (KL) (2.5 million litres per day) of water is supplied to the town at 55 – 60 litres per person per day (lpcd). This is much less (around 50% deficit) than the standard of 135 lpcd (5.7 million litres per day) that the town should ideally be able to supply. This is one of the challenges faced by the new TMC that tapping into the shallow aquifer could help meet to some extent, instead of drilling more borewells in a region that historically depended on open wells for water.

The two lakes in the town, Hunasamaranahalli Lake and Kodagalahatti Lake, receive treated wastewater from the Hebbal-Nagawara Valley project, in which 210 million litres of Bengaluru’s treated domestic wastewater per day are pumped to 65 lakes in Chikkaballapur, Bengaluru Urban and Bengaluru Rural districts.

Biome Environmental Trust met the TMC through Mr Venkate Gowda, Headmaster of Sonnappanahalli Govt Higher Primary School. Our attempt is to try and help the town understand the shallow aquifer and integrate it into the town’s water supply in a sustainable, equitable and economically viable manner. The idea that open wells could be a significant source of water, and well revival and use could be a strategy to enhance the town’s water security was new, and needed proof of concept. With Mr Venkate Gowda’s help, Biome identified six wells that were rejuvenated between October 2022 and January 2023, with funding support from Puravanakara Ltd, Provident Housing Ltd and Starworth Infrastructure and Construction Ltd. Most of these wells were already being used by the local communities. Two of these wells have been integrated into the town’s municipal water supply. From January – October 2023, 30.7 million litres have been pumped from the Aviation College well. From April – October 2023, the Park View Apartments well has given 21.3 million litres of water. The volume of water pumped out daily is known because of the water meters installed on the outlet pipes. This is a very important step towards managing the shallow aquifer withdrawal that is a part of this project’s efforts and did not exist before, even on the wells that were being used earlier.

The Hunasamaranahalli TMC has expressed interest in exploring the possibility of replicating Biome’s Sihineer Kere open well – WTP project in Hunasamaranahalli, as treated wastewater comes to both the town’s lakes. Biome has started working in this direction. Through this first step of rejuvenating these six wells, Biome’s effort is to get the town to see the importance of the shallow aquifer, measure withdrawal from it,  relate demand to it, look at production costs of water, and invest in recharge for water security.

Here is a map of the wells revived and the lakes in and near Hunasamaranahalli.

All the wells were cleaned and rejuvenated by well-digger Shankar, a long-time associate of Biome, and his team. The details of the wells revived are as follows:

Well opp Academy of Aviation and EnggDia 24 ft
Depth 65 ft
Stone lined, 70-80 years old
Removal of vegetation and silt, application of lime, alum and potassium permanganate, installation of safety grill with 1” meshHunasamaranahalli TMC (Shaktinagar, Muneshwar Camp and Sonnappanahalli wards), Aviation Academy, Hotel Arna, Legend Hill View and Prabhavati Palm apartments through metered pipelines
Well opp Park View apartmentsDia 24.5 ft
Depth 74 ft, with 8 ft dia ‘pillubavi’ at the bottom 12 ft
Stone lined, 75 years old
Removal of old grill, vegetation and silt, application of lime, alum and potassium permanganate, installation of new safety grill with 1” mesh and pumpHunasamaranahalli TMC to Vidyanagar Cross OHT through metered pipeline
Well near Bettahalasur CrossDia 15 ft
Depth 33 ft, 
Stone lined, 50 years old
Removal of old grill, solid waste, vegetation and silt, application of lime, alum and potassium permanganate, installation of new safety grill with 2 pulleys, reinforced the parapetAround 100 households manually draw 5-10 KL water daily (to prevent overdraft and wastage) for washing clothes and cleaning, supplementing the municipal water supply
Well behind GHPS SonnappanahalliDia 8 ft
Depth 24.5 ft, 
Stone lined, 70 years old
Removal of silt, application of lime, alum and potassium permanganate, modification and painting of safety grill, installation of new pulley, and observation for seepage. Water quality test showed no contaminationMinimal use by local residents. TMC plans to connect it to water supply system
Well in Sonnappanahalli VillageDia 8.5 ft
Depth 30 ft, 
Stone lined, 100 years old
Removal of silt, application of lime, alum and potassium permanganate, installation of new safety grill and 2 new pulleys. Crack in wall repaired, surrounding area cleaned.Around 50 households manually draw 3-5 KL water daily (to prevent overdraft and wastage) for all uses including cooking, supplementing the municipal water supply
Well in Kodagalahatti VillageDia 8.5 ft
Depth 30 ft, 
Stone lined upto 20 ft – rock below that, 80 years old
Removal of silt, application of lime, alum and potassium permanganate, modification of safety grill, and installation of new pulley. Repaired well wall and raised it by 1 foot.Used by local community for all non-potable uses and for cattle, supplementing the municipal water supply

The Hunasamaranahalli TMC showcased the details of this well rejuvenation project at the Municipalika 2023 Expo held from November 28 – 30, 2023, at Tripura Vasini, Palace Grounds, Bengaluru. The TMC also presented this project at the session on best practices.

Lessons learnt

  • Metering the withdrawal of water from the wells is very important, as it helps to understand the availability of water from individual wells, and also the behaviour of the shallow aquifer in the area
  • Regular maintenance of the wells and regular water quality testing are needed to ensure that clean water is available at all times
  • Regular engagement / handholding with the TMC is needed at every level, to ensure that the wells and water quality are maintained, till the TMC takes full ownership and responsibility for the project

Well opp Academy of Aviation and Engg

Well before cleaning
Restored well

Well opp Park View apartments

Well before cleaning
Restored well

Well near Bettahalasur Cross

Well before cleaning
Restored well

Well behind Govt Higher Primary School, Sonnappanahalli

Well before rejuvenation
Well after rejuvenation

Well in Sonnappanahalli Village

Well before rejuvenation
Well after rejuvenation

Well in Kodagalahatti Village

Well before rejuvenation
Well after rejuvenation

Here is the detailed case study, the poster of the six wells, and the English and Kannada videos.

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