At Naandi, we have created a water-balanced community. This means that the annual water budget is below the total amount of rainfall falling on the land. The community has been managing only with rainfall and Borewell's until now.
Some of the water falling on the land is diverted to ponds and rainwater storage structures but most of it is directed to deep aquifer recharge bore wells. These Borewells improve the ground water table.
While the ground water table has increased, there is a marked difference in the way farmers around the community have been utilising their lands. A lot of them have converted their lands into cricket fields. It is more lucrative for them to turn their land in to a cricket field than do farming.
Most of the water for maintaining the lawns in these grounds come from the ground. With over 20 grounds around Naandi, the ground water resource has started depleting. The community is not benefiting from the efforts of recharging the ground water table. Although the dependence is still completely on rainfall and ground water, it gets challenging in the summer.
At Antharam, detailed analysis was carried out to figure out what to do in case there is a drought situation.
The question was, what will happen to the community if all three of the below situations happen at the same time?
1. The rains are low
2. There is no water from the government
3. The ground water resource has been depleted.
The best way, we thought, was to build a dug well to store around 60,00,000 litres of rain water.
To arrive at this conclusion, we have done a detailed analysis of rainfall for the last 40years and have sized the tank.
This capacity translates to about 400 litres per family per day for 120 days. This is the buffer that we get in case there is no water from outside.
While other communities in the city and elsewhere might face challenges with procuring water from tankers, at least for 120 days, we want to be able to have enough water for domestic consumption.
During this time, it is expected that each family will have to be within the water budget of400 litres per day. The assumption is that small adjustments in how water is used must be made so that as a whole we are water secure for those 4 months. It is to be seen how well this strategy will fare for the sustenance of the community in the long run.