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Activity Discussion Environment Traditional water harvesting system.

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  • Parul

    June 20, 2021 at 11:29 am
    Not Helpful

    Water is one of the most precious natural resources on planet earth and it is essential for the sustenance of all living beings. Water is not only an extremely crucial component of our lives, it is also a limited resource. This basically means that there is a limited amount of water on this planet and that we do not have an endless supply of it. Water is required for drinking, cleaning, washing, etc. but another very important aspect of civilization that is controlled by water is agriculture. Crops need water for their growth and nourishment. With increased water pollution as well as rapid urbanization, the availability of suitable groundwater and surface water has become difficult. For a country like India that is largely dependent on the fickle monsoon rainfalls for its harvest, finding suitable alternate sources of water has become a necessity. That is why traditional and ancient practices of harvesting water are being revisited and implemented in several parts of the country. In fact, the traditional methods are not only simple and easy for the people, but they are also great for the environment.

    Let’s take a look at some very interesting traditional water harvesting strategies prevalent in various parts of the country.

    Paar system:

    Paar is a very common water harvesting method practised in western Rajasthan. The rainwater is collected and it flows from the catchment or agar and in the process, percolates into the sandy soil. In order to access this percolated water or rajani pani, kuis or beris are dug into the catchment area. Kuis or beris are usually 5 meters (m) to 12 m in depth. The number of kuis dug depend on the size of the paar itself however, usually, six to ten kuis are dug.

    Talab / Bandhis:

    Talabs are basically a way to store water for household and drinking purposes. They may be organic, such as the ponds at Tikamgarh in the Bundelkhand district. They can be artificial, such as the lakes in Udaipur. A reservoir region of fewer than five bighas is called a talai. A medium sized lake is called a talab and large lakes are called sagar or samand. When the water in these reservoirs dry up after the monsoon, the pond beds are cultivated with rice.

    Saza Kuva:

    A saza kuva is nothing but an open well multiple owners which is the most important source of irrigation in the Aravalli hills of Mewar in eastern Rajasthan. A deep well is constructed and the soil dug out from the well is used to build an elevated circular platform that slopes away from the well. The traditional water lifting device called the rehat is constructed first followed by the chadha on the sloping platform where buffaloes are used for harvesting the water. Saza kuva is traditionally shared and built by a group of farmers for their shared benefit in farming and harvesting.


    Jhalaras are steep wells that are traditionally rectangular in shape and have tired steps on the sides. The construction of the steep well is in such a manner that a person can even climb down to the bottom of the well by simply walking along with a series of steps. This allows people to access whatever amount of water is present in the jhalaras. These steep wells collect seepage from the upstream reservoirs and lakes and thus provide easy water supply for religious rites, royal ceremonies and communal use. Jodhpur is known for its jhalaras, the oldest one being the Mahamandir Jhalara which data back to 1660 A.D.

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