With supply, use and management of water becoming a major concern worldwide, also Auroville is forced to take a good look at the issue. The city is located adjacent to the ocean and salt water intrusion is bound to further seep into its aquifers which also supply the surrounding villages.
As the concept, maintenance and funding of a possible water body around Matrimandir as envisaged by Auroville’s founder, the Mother, has been contemplated from the very onset, it seems but natural that such a water body - situated at the highest point of the township, 30 mtr above sea level - would need to be integrated into a wider set-up, involving the energy & water management of the future city and its bioregion.
Various proposals have come and gone throughout the years and presently Auroville is researching yet another one, incorporating components of earlier stages of the research.
The elaborate and complex plan would see a lake built around the Matrimandir, and using the earth from the excavation to create a hill (planted with fir trees as the Mother once talked about such a hill). On top of this hill there would be another, smaller lake, to be linked with the Matrimandir lake through a big pressure-pipe. A turbine would be located at the foot of the hill.
With availability of electricity, water from the Matrimandir lake would be pumped to the lake on top of the hill, while in case of power cuts, the water would be allowed to flow back to the Matrimandir lake, through the turbine, thus generating electricity and re-gaining 64% of the electricity which was used to pump the water up. (This would mean a collective power-backup system for Auroville, coming in cost to less than half of the individual UPS-systems currently in use in the city.)
The electricity to power the system would come from the already existing wind-park of Auroville near Coimbatore that, today, produces double the electricity of Auroville’s entire need. The water to fill the lakes would come from harvested rainwater and, via conveyor belts, from desalinated seawater for which a desalination plant is in the process of being erected at the beach nearby.
Auroville Today’s February 2012 issue describes the proposal in detail, referring to a presentation to the community given by initiative takers Michael Bonke, Toine van Megen and Harald Kraft in January this year about Auroville’s present and future energy and drinking water scenario.
To get a more realistic idea of this enormous and daring project,
readers might want to take a look at the