Open wells do exist!
What did residents of Bangalore depend upon for drinking water before the water board started its supply? If asked in an inter-school quiz, this would be the easiest question to answer. They depended upon open wells within or around their sites. Now, the next question is: why did open wells vanish from Bangalore? Well, hardly anyone has the total answer.
Before we start construction, arranging for water is important. Most owners dislike paying commercial rates to the water board and blindly go for borewells, incurring great expenditure. A quick look at the past gives us a simpler, long-lasting, cheaper and healthier solution in open water wells.
Let me confess: I do not completely know why open wells have become a rarity today, though one can list a number of possible reasons. Comfort of piped water, increasing pollutants, additional pump for well, lack of government support, small site contexts, subdividing of plots, decreasing water table and many such reasons might have caused the end of the era of open wells.
Open water wells are among the best of eco-solutions for sustainable living. They may have to be dug to 3 or 4 feet diameter with RCC rings around for safety, preferably before house construction, but can also be done after occupation if we have adequate site area. Most wells fetch water within 20 ft. depth, beyond which, it may not work out economically.
Laboratory tests to check the water quality is important. In case it is not good for drinking, well water can be used for all other uses. Drinking water reaches us at great efforts and costs, which we tend to ignore due to its heavily subsidised pricing. Even if we can pay extra, it is not judicious to use purified water for construction.
Many historic homes in Malleswaram or Basavanagudi still use them, like the century old house built by Puttanna on what is now called Puttanna Road. Often, these wells are within the walls of the house, as such are not visible from the road. We often suggest digging open wells and surprisingly, most owners are excited by the idea!