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Water flowing soon at Woodstock
Great strides in alleviating the water situation at Woodstock have been made recently. The shortage has become critical over the last several years with much of the campus still dependent on the municipal system. With ever increasing demand in Mussoorie and no reinvestment, the water supply system, laid over fifty years ago, is erratic at best, with not enough water, or none at all, sometimes for several days.

Throughout all this students have been adequately supplied with water. The residences enjoy a steady supply from springs on campus and water is pumped to the academic area as well. Staff are hit the hardest; during the 1996 monsoons a number of staff homes went 45 days without water. Determined to see the school become self-sufficient in water, Mr. Flaming has started an ambitious water collection and redistribution scheme.

There are currently two reliable water sources on campus. Midlands Spring supplies Alter Ridge and Midlands, and water is also piped from there up to the academic area. The Palisades Spring, which was disrupted in the 1991 Uttarkashi earthquake, has revived and is supplying Hostel and Ridgewood.

Taking an educated risk that is promising to pay off, a third source has been created, a new well in the orchard on the bazaar side of Hostel. The Principal and Dr. Paul Taylor, staff teacher and geologist, began serious water prospecting in March. A Dehra Dun company, Mobile Drill Masters, did a site survey and a hydrogeologist and geophysicist were called in for consultation. Several sites were considered but on the strength of the consultants' reports, it was decided to drill in the orchard.

The positioning of the site was obviously critical. Toward the end of summer vacation drilling commenced. At 110 feet the targeted rock boundary was hit--and water!The jubilation increased when, just below the boundary, a 10-15 foot rock cavity was discovered. Tremendous good fortune, such a cavity can greatly enhance the recharge potential of a well.

The cavity was flushed out with compressed air. In early August the hole was cased and a perforated pipe put into the cavity with a 3 HP submersible pump. The trial run established current capacity of about 150 litres per minute. The water is clear and tastes good.

Some concerns remain: as the drilling was done during the monsoon, will the supply be year- round? Will the water pass testing for chemical and biological purity? Will the well choke up? Dr. Taylor is "reasonably confident it will be okay."

As time goes on, there may be further site surveys with a possible view to drilling another well, although if the orchard well supply is perennial this may not be needed. There are several more places on campus which may be suitable for drilling.

With the sources assured, the next phase will be to distribute the water. Initial plans call for water collection in tanks located at Ridgewood, from where it would be pumped up to Community Center and by trickle down distribution be supplied to all Woodstock properties. The goal, well within view, is complete self sufficiency in water.


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