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On World Water Day, now more than ever it is important we turn to our ancestors and see how ancient water conservation was practiced. We humans have destroyed many water conservational resources due to our own greed. There are many examples from India which shows how people practiced sustainable water conservational techniques.
There was a time when having ponds and wells was common, but as time passed people started practicing agriculture on these lands or built new infrastructure instead. This meant the water catchments had no place to flow and refill our ground water. Therefore, we are now seeing a decline in ground water table.
Watch – Act Now for Rivers
So, how did our ancestors conserve water? Historical methods of harvesting rainwater are still relevant to fulfill our basic need of water in many areas. These interventions show how our ancestors were more responsible human beings than us; and how they cared for nature and lived in sustainable way. Also, in ancient days fetching water was not all an easy task. Water was valued as a priced resource, because the effort needed to get water was very difficult. As we moved and learned new modern techniques, we started taking water for granted. I think it is time we go back to our ancestral ways.
Ground water recharge is very important. Wells not only help in recharging the ground water, but have also been one of the best sources for providing safe drinking water. As we moved to water supply systems, wells have been abandoned, which has impacted our ground water levels.
These are made from steel and concrete. It can stop the rainwater flowing from the higher slope. Therefore, water from this can be used for daily purposes like irrigation and other household activities.
Read – Clean Water Our Liquid Asset
Tankas can be found in the Thar desert of Rajasthan of India. It is a traditional method of saving rainwater from nearby catchment areas like house roof top, or nearby slope so that rainwater can be collected in a tank. Once the tank is filled, the water collected can be used by a family for an entire season.
This is a water tank is found at Jaigarh Fort, which was built in 1726 in Jaipur, Rajasthan. It can collect 6 million gallons of water. It draws water from canals 15 km away.
They are mainly rectangular shaped wells which has steps made in such a way that if water goes down people can go and fetch the water. These were made to collect rainwater, but they are also connected to mainstream lakes and channels. This way water can be available to the community all year.
Baolis are also structures with steps, but it has rooms and corridors at the end. People usually sit here during social gatherings and it is often used by local people for some ceremonies. It has been there since the 9th century in a small village Abhaneri of Rajasthan and even in other states of India like Rani ki Vav in Gujarat (Made in 11th century and currently a UNESCO world heritage site), Hampi in Karnataka ( built in 15th century UNESCO world heritage site) and Agrasen Baoli in Delhi.
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