From Pulley to Pipe: The Decline of the Wells of Bangalore



The South Indian city of Bangalore, being highly prone to aridity, has historically relied on a system of lakes and open wells to supply water to its population. Over time, however, as the city started depending on piped water brought in from a distant river, many of them have vanished from the city. We chronicle the story of these disappearing wells through maps, photographs, and oral histories, and discuss how this decline led to changes in people's relationships with the wells.

Author Biographies

Hita Unnikrishnan , Sheffield University, UK

Hita Unnikrishnan is a Newton International Fellow at Sheffield University. Her research interests include the historical and contemporary uses of urban commons, social ecological systems, and the interplay between society, nature, and culture. Her recent doctoral thesis explores the changing nature of the vulnerabilities of urban lakes’ social-ecological systems in Bangalore.

Harini Nagendra, Azim Premji University, India

Harini Nagendra is a Professor of Sustainability at Azim Premji University, Bangalore, India. Prof. Nagendra is a recipient of a 2013 Elinor Ostrom Senior Scholar award for her research and practice on issues of the urban commons. Her 2016 book “Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future” examines the implications of environmental change for urban sustainability in cities of the global Global South.