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Lalbagh Botanical Garden to get open well aimed at preserving trees, water harvesting | Bangalore News

With an aim to preserve trees and harvest water, Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bengaluru will now have an open well. The construction of the well had begun earlier this month.

In collaboration with the horticulture department, Friends of Lakes (a citizens’ collective), Biome Foundation, India Cares Foundation and DCB Bank, through their corporate social responsibility initiative, are working together on the project.

Lalbagh Botanical Garden sprawls over 240 acres and boasts a collection of over 1,854 plant species. During monsoon, the garden faces issues like water stagnation, which often leads to the gradual decay of some trees.

The pivotal feature of the programme is the construction of a traditional open well, which will be 25 feet in diameter with a minimum depth of 40 feet. Primarily, it will serve as a reservoir to manage excess rainwater during heavy downpour, and thereby mitigate stagnation and protect trees within the garden from possible decay. It will also ensure the replenishment of groundwater, which can be harnessed to meet the water requirements of the garden.

Meena Dave, CEO of India Cares Foundation said, “The objective of this project is to construct a traditional open well with stone masonry in Lalbagh. Lalbagh, known for its numerous lakes and recharge wells, has significantly contributed to replenishing the shallow aquifer, thereby raising the water table in the area. Given the recurrent excessive rains leading to flooding in Lalbagh and subsequent decay of trees and flora, the project aims to address these challenges.”

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“During the dry months, Lalbagh requires approximately 3 lakh liters of water daily, which is currently met through water purchases. The purpose of the open well is to fulfill Lalbagh’s water needs, as traditional open wells also act as discharge points, providing fresh water to the garden at a cost-effective rate. This initiative is expected to mitigate flooding by providing a designated area for water storage, potentially benefiting the deep aquifer in the long run,” she added.

Gaurav Mehta, DCB Bank’s Head CSR said, “The Bank’s overarching goal with this initiative is to contribute to the key United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) related to water conservation, economic development, sustainable cities, and climate action. The project aligns with the bank’s commitment to social responsibility by supporting the livelihoods of traditional well-diggers and their families. Building on the success of rainwater recharge wells from the previous year, which recharged over one crore litres of water into the shallow aquifer, restoring an open well is anticipated to provide an additional 30,000 litres of water for daily use.”

The project was conceived during the monsoon of 2021 and 2022, which led to flooding of several parts of the garden.

The well digging community, Manu Vaddars are involved in the work. Ram Prasad, co-founder, Friends of Lakes is overseeing the project work.

“Wells play an important part in water security. The recharge well is a very powerful tool to manage groundwater especially when we talk about a city like Bengaluru. These wells aid in flood control in urban areas and help in the revival of the shallow aquifer,” Prasad said.

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