Marking the occasion of World Water Day, celebrated on March 22, the Karnataka government on Monday unveiled the Cubbon Park Rejuvenation project, which aims to make the park self-reliant for water. Through traditional open wells and rainwater recharge wells, all the water required for the park’s horticulture purposes is expected to be taken care of without digging borewells or water brought in tanks from outside the park. The initiative involves harvesting rainwater to recharge groundwater and ensure water security for this lung space in Bengaluru.
The project is being carried out by Friends of Lake (a citizens’ movement), Biome Environmental (an NGO working for water conservation), India Cares Foundation (a non-profit organisation) and the state government’s Horticulture Department. Karnataka’s Minister for Horticulture and Sericulture, R Shankar, who unveiled the project, said, “I’m pleased that six traditional open wells and over 70 rainwater recharge wells have been dug which will give us the water needed for the park. We will undertake more projects as such to conserve rainwater.”
The project’s first phase began in 2017-18, wherein the existing open wells and lakes in Cubbon Park were desilted and cleaned, and a network was established to connect the sprinklers in the park to the water sources. During the second phase, two ponds — Karagada Kunte and the pond located behind the Wadiyar statue — and seven wells inside the park were rejuvenated.
In addition to that, work on 73 recharge wells three-feet in diameter and an average depth of 15ft depth was undertaken. Each well has the potential to recharge up to 6 kiloitres during the monsoon.
“The underground canals are pivotal to the supply of water throughout the garden; during the course, those were repaired as well. The scientifically-carried out project is sustainable and has the potential to resolve the water crisis to a great extent. The department is planning to carry out similar projects in Lalbagh as well, works for the same are underway,” said B Fouzia Taranum, Director of Horticulture.
“The parks and lakes are not private properties; they belong to the citizens. With increased civic participation, we can achieve greater things and be able to restore the environment to an extent,” she added.
In a statement, the non-profit organisation India Cares Foundation said, not only has this project ensured an increase in the groundwater table, but flooding in certain parts of the park seems to have reduced during peak monsoon as well.
“The level of water has stayed at a maximum of about 10 feet below ground level even in the summer season,” it added.
Additionally, as many as 37 families of the Mannuvaddar community, who are experts in digging wells, were engaged in the rejuvenation project for two years which provided them a livelihood, the statement added.