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Water Stories – NAMMA OORU, NAMMA NEERU
September 4, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Art in Transit & Biome Environmental Trust invites your virtual
presence in celebrating the work of Mannu Vaddar Community with
an evening of poetry by Kaavya Sanje.
There rests a heaven underneath, Unseen, unnoticed, regarded less.
Join us on September 04, 2021 at 5 pm for a virtual celebration of the culmination of the Namma Ooru,
Namma Neeru project. Be mesmerised by the poetry of Kaavya Sanje poets. Witness the intent and
creation of the earth mural at Cubbon Park Metro Station and meet the well-diggers, who are reshaping
Bangalore’s water landscape.
Weaving art and ecology – artists, poets, mannu-vadars (well-diggers), ecologists, and government
partners have seized an opportunity to tell some stories of Bengaluru’s Water. Bengaluru – traditionally a
city of tanks and open wells, comfortably met its domestic water needs by sustainably managing the
surface and groundwater supply. Today, as the city has grown, groundwater remains a primary water
source for the city, despite piped water supply. Over time, the city’s open wells have disappeared
yielding space to borewells that tap deep aquifers, that are fast depleting. For a sustainable future,
Bangalore needs to revive its relationship with its shallow aquifer – the aquifer that open wells and
recharge wells tap into. Recharge wells allow rainwater to seep back into the earth eventually
replenishing the deep aquifers, something borewells don’t do.
Biome Environmental Trust conceived of the “One Million Wells for Bengaluru” Initiative to enable
households across the city to harvest rainwater and dig recharge wells to get this water down into our
shallow aquifer. Well-diggers of the Mannu Vaddar community who have been digging wells for
centuries, dug 65 recharge wells in Cubbon Park (and many more across the city). Art in Transit, Design
Earth and placeARTS Youth Collective, gathered the earth from these wells and worked with Srishti
students and the general commuter public at Cubbon Park Metro Station to paint a mural to tell stories
of Bengaluru’s groundwater. Kavya Sanje multilingual poetry collective has brought to life the forgotten
histories of the well-digging Bhovi community. Bangalore Sustainability Forum has supported this
initiative through its small grants program.
The knowledge and expertise of the Mannu Vaddar community are central to the solution to the city’s
water problems, yet with the mechanisation of well-digging and borewells – traditional well-diggers are
leaving behind skills and knowledge that are generations-old. Beyond just a vision of Bangalore’s water
sustainability, the Million Wells Initiative also looks at the livelihood sustainability of the Mannu Vaddars
who have succeeded in constructing more than one lakh recharge wells in recent years.
Call to Action: Each one of us can become a part of the solution by contributing to well-digger
livelihoods and being part of Bangalore’s water sustainability. Do you have access to a 3x3sqft area of
land? Can you help Bengaluru’s water crisis by digging a recharge well? Get in touch with a well-digger
or visit www.bengaluru.urbanwaters.in for more information. Help dig a million recharge wells!
This project was made possible by the Bengaluru Sustainability Forum’s Small Grants Programme.