Following the tragic demise of a two-year-old who fell into an unused borewell on October 29th, efforts are underway to document and secure open wells and borewells. To this end, the Metro Water department has called for all Chennai residents to register their open wells and borewells with the authority by November 10th.
The exercise, which was announced on November 1st, is also a way for Metro Water to enumerate the number of functioning borewells in the city, for which up-to-date information is not available.
How to register your borewell and open well
If you are a resident of Chennai who owns a borewell or open well, the registration process with the Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) is necessary. While the requisite form is available online, the submission is required to be made in person. The process** to register your borewell or open well is as follows:
The form does not mandate any enclosures at this stage, but additional information may be requested by the Metro Water department at a later stage.
Speaking to Citizen Matters, an official at the Metro Water department said that the exercise is being undertaken after the death of two-year-old Sujith Wilson, who fell into an unused open borewell. He said that the measure was to primarily ensure that all open borewells that are unused are secured properly, or have the residents convert them into rainwater harvesting pits. The exercise will also serve to help the department update its database of borewell connections and get an idea of how much groundwater is being extracted for various purposes through borewells.
The first step in the process is self-declaration through Form X by the residents. The Metro Water department will then conduct inspections on the conditions of the borewells and open wells once the forms are collected.
What if you do not register on time?
At the time of inspection by officials, all the information furnished by the owner will be verified on the ground. Based on field visits, unused borewells may be ordered to be closed or re-purposed. Charges may also be levied on existing borewells and penalties on unregistered borewells discovered during inspection. The penalties will be levied based on the provisions in the Chennai Metropolitan Area Groundwater (Regulation) Act, 1987.
Yearly charges will be levied upon passing of inspection. There may be an exemption on yearly charges depending on the depth of the borewell, as per officials of the department.
Those who fail to register the borewell or comply with safety instructions will face penalties, and subsequent failure to pay penalty will result in order of closure of the borewell.
For any queries, residents can call: 044-28454080
[** The process for registration has been updated with the latest information available, as on November 12th]