The idea behind this is to restore and revive the public wells in Tamil Nadu along with the local community. “Public wells are one of the main sources of water to villages. While working on the project, we found that there are a lot of stories behind these wells like the reason behind the construction, how it is used, etc. Apart from such stories, we are also documenting the construction techniques of these wells, who are the people involved in making the wells, what’s the next generation of the well-digging community are doing, and so on. These documents can be referred for generations to come,” says Kaushik Kumar of Akarmaa Foundation.
So far, the team has restored and documented four wells in Thiruvannamalai. “Since most of the public wells are used by the villagers, we make sure their participation is also there in the entire process. Wells are public property but often people don’t associate themselves with the well. Once we get people involved in the restoration process, they will have a responsibility and commitment towards the well. Community interaction will bring a sense of ownership. People at Thiruvannamalai were so happy to join us in the restoration works. Most communities depend on these wells, especially, during summers and they need their wells to be revived. Some wells are built decades ago and are in a deteriorated state. We are restoring that. Also, in some wells, a lot of debris and garbage is collected. From the last well we revived, we took out almost 10 feet of garbage. If we clean and revive wells, the groundwater level of the entire area will also go up. Since the monsoon has started, wells can save rainwater so easily. People don’t need to dig another rainwater harvesting system. Children from the communities also paint the walls of the wells with beautiful motifs,” he adds.