News & Notes 656:Call for Feedback from the TDC Water Group – bore well policy

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656 icon.jpg   News & Notes 656
16 July 2016

Call for Feedback from the TDC Water Group: bore well policy

The TDC Water Group has formulated a concept water/bore well policy to be presented for feed-back:

Addressing water security for Auroville

Since we want Auroville’s population to expand, we will have to face the challenge to find sustainable ways to meet our growing water needs. Kaliveli-Puducherry bioregion covers an area of 1400 km² with a population of 3.5 million, spread over 160 villages and the town of Puducherry. Until 1950 nearly all the water supply of the region was sourced from 200 village tanks and ponds, the majority of them constructed during the Chola period between 1000 and 1200 AD. From 1970 onwards, a gradual decline of these water storage tanks took place in conjunction with increased agricultural output, which was made possible through the installation of bore wells powered with electrical pumps. It is observed that 50 years of development and unrestrained water usage resulted in a dramatic decline of the water level in the main aquifers, along with saline intrusion in the water table of the neighbouring coastal areas, thereby starting to pose a serious threat to the area and its population. Although our community was one of the early pioneers in India to implement water conservation practices together with a ‘zero run-off’ strategy and groundwater recharge, these initiated activities are no longer adequate to counteract the effects of regional overexploitation of water resources. Today, Auroville is totally dependent on a single water resource: ground water. It is acknowledged that this will no longer be sufficient to meet our future growing demands. Creating a reliable water security management program will need a multi-sourcing water strategy. Future possibilities will combine surface water harvesting, groundwater, sea water desalination and re-cycled waste water. The combination of the resources will depend on the different categories of usage: domestic, gardening and agricultural. Developing and integrating such a multi-sourcing program on an Auroville scale would create a durable approach towards water security.

Planning the integration of multi-water resources will happen in a phased manner. Starting with an exercise to define which of the borewells are stable, which neighbourhood supply and distribution systems should be strengthened, which borewell fields should be pooled together and protected because of their superior and/or sustainable yield performance. During this transition period the community will still depend exclusively on groundwater supply. The planning for the drilling of new community wells will be done to guarantee water supply for Auroville’s activities. In the meantime the water group will start to initiate a multi-sourcing program since we believe that it is now the right time to start such a long term project.

Procedure for Application for new Bore wells in Auroville, May 2016:

  1. TDC receives an application for a new bore well in Auroville;
  2. TDC evaluates the site for initial qualification;
  3. TDC forwards application to the Water Group (WG) for topic discussion and technical evaluation;
  4. WG organises a meeting with the applicant(s), stakeholders and others involved;
  5. Water Group sends its report with recommendations to TDC and applicants;
  6. TDC publishes new bore well project in News & Notes together with the agreed details on the proposed site, bore well depth, casing size, recommended users, other conditions if necessary;
  7. TDC waits for the allotted feedback period; TDC and WG review the comments, if any
  8. TDC issues a NOC or not for the new bore well, in case of comments/objections a review is taking up with WG.

Bore well application form: [...]

The Water Group: Nele, Christian, Tency, Toby, Tom