Drinking water supply in Belgaum city has got a fresh lease of life with the city corporation and the residents joining hands to rejuvenate open wells that were treated like dump yards until a few years ago.
Most of the 31 high yielding big wells and 21 small open wells dug during the British regime, or even before that, were filled with silt after immersion of Ganesh idols.
The well revival campaign was conceived in 1995 when Rakaskop reservoir, the main source of water supply to the city, dried up and the local administration started searching for alternative water sources.
The senior citizens forum suggested rejuvenation of public wells. The corporation sought the services of Chachadi A.G., the then Head of the Department of Geology at Goa University, who along with others studied the viability of the project and gave a go-ahead, BCC City Engineer (North) R.S. Nayak told The Hindu.
However, it was not an easy task. It was not possible to use heavy equipment to remove silt from wells, and workers were not willing to do it manually. Then, one of the local residents got himself into an open-top barrel and went down into the well with the help of a rope and a pulley. He shovelled the silt into a bucket and it was taken up. Silt was removed from other wells using the same method.
Since then, 21 big wells and 32 small wells, including the Baara Ghadaghadyachi Vihir at Hutatma Chowk and the one at Sheri Galli, have been rejuvenated. Baara Ghadaghadyachi Vihir, one of the main sources of drinking water to the city in the past, was closed in 1974 when the Rakaskop reservoir was commissioned.