News & Notes 705:Water
I was reading “Auroville Water Vision & Guiding Principles: Version 1 (April 2017)”
The draft Blue paper is divided into a number of subsections and tries to create awareness, governance, and practical ways to make AV and its bioregion more sustainable in its water supply and demand (though the report places more emphasis on the SUPPLY SIDE). The Water Group wants feedback on the document.
The issues of governance and awareness & negligence of responsibilities in relationship to our neighbors and bioregion are many but today I’ll discuss an issue related to bore wells.
I’ve been riding my cycle around a lot just to see how things are changing in the area and one new challenge is encroachment. People (those are not Aurovilians) buy a plot nearby, build a big house and sink a bore well. So, this new infringement development is exacerbating the draining of the aquifer. Surrounding and within Auroville we have a lot of encroachment by developers buying large tracks of land and selling off house-size lots and then leaving it to each individual to make a bore! You would think that the Chennai Gov. knows this is folly - how to create the political will to create policy/governance that make developers responsible for water (1 bore well and water tank to supply all homes in his/her sub-division) and how do you make this policy retroactive? The AWVGP suggests numerous times that AV should be pro-active and address any actions that threaten water sustainability in the bioregion. The litmus test is to see if the AWVGP is an action paper or a paper tiger.
Unless AV can deal with this subdivision encroachment the aquifers are doomed. There is even a bigger and older problem, the subsidized water and electricity to farmers. They sink bore wells and can pump as long as they like.
I realise that both these issues are beyond the scope of the Water Group but these are the two major activities that need to stay on our radar. The Water Group is calling for feedback until July 15.