Abandoned wells can be used for diverting storm water to recharge the groundwater table.
Delhi has more than 3,000 wells. Till a century ago, there were hundreds more but rapid urbanisation has killed a number of them. But many survived despite varied problems.
At Katra Mahesh Das, off Nai Sarak in the Walled City, lies a nearly 150-year-old well. It is embedded between the walls of a multi-storeyed building. The well’s small opening is covered with an iron grill and a hand pump is used to pull up water, barely at 10-12 feet. The water is good enough for drinking.
Half a kilometre away, at Patali Gali is another old well called the Shiv Mandir Kuan inside an old dilapidated haveli. “About 40 years ago, the water was very clear,” said Pappi Bhai, who runs a coffee shop next to the haveli.
Over the last few years, sewage from a leaking pipe spoiled the water quality. The usage has now been restricted to non-potable needs. Owner Abhay Sharma said: “We have written to the DJB and the civic body a number of times. We are ready to bear the expenditure to plug the leak, but to no avail.”
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