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5 Traditional Water Conservation Methods In India

Given that these methods are simple and eco-friendly for the most part, they are not just highly effective for the people who rely on them but they are also good for the environment

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With rainfall patterns changing almost every year, the Indian government has started looking at means to revive the traditional systems of water harvesting in the country. Wikimedia Commons
With rainfall patterns changing almost every year, the Indian government has started looking at means to revive the traditional systems of water harvesting in the country. Wikimedia Commons

A key element in any strategy which has the objective of alleviating the water scarcity crisis in India is water conservation. With rainfall patterns changing almost every year, the Indian government has started looking at means to revive the traditional systems of water harvesting in the country. Given that these methods are simple and eco-friendly for the most part, they are not just highly effective for the people who rely on them but they are also good for the environment.

Archaeological evidence shows that the practice of water conservation is deep-rooted in the science of ancient India. Excavations show that the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation had excellent systems of water harvesting and drainage. The settlement of Dholavira, laid out on a slope between two stormwater channels, is a great example of water engineering. Chanakya’s Arthashashtra mentions irrigation using water harvesting systems.

Drawing upon centuries of experience, Indians continued to build structures to catch, hold and store monsoon rainwater for the dry seasons to come. Here is a brief account of the unique water conservation systems prevalent in India and the communities who have practiced them for decades before the debate on climate change even existed.

ALSO READ: 5 water conservation ways that are ideal for Indian conditions

1. Jhalara

Jhalaras are typically rectangular-shaped stepwells that have tiered steps on three or four sides. These stepwells collect the subterranean seepage of an upstream reservoir or a lake. The city of Jodhpur has eight jhalaras, the oldest being the Mahamandir Jhalara that dates back to 1660 AD.

To minimize water loss through evaporation, a series of layered steps were built around the reservoirs to narrow and deepen the wells. Wikimedia Commons
To minimize water loss through evaporation, a series of layered steps were built around the reservoirs to narrow and deepen the wells. Wikimedia Commons

2. Bawari

These are unique stepwells that were once a part of the ancient networks of water storage in the cities of Rajasthan. Water is diverted to man-made tanks through canals. The water would then percolate into the ground, raising the water table and recharging a deep and intricate network of aquifers. To minimize water loss through evaporation, a series of layered steps were built around the reservoirs to narrow and deepen the wells.

3. Johads

Johads, one of the oldest systems used to conserve and recharge groundwater, are small earthen check dams that capture and store rainwater. Constructed in an area with naturally high elevation on three sides, a storage pit is made by excavating the area, and excavated soil is used to create a wall on the fourth side.

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4. Panam Keni

The Kuruma tribe (a native tribe of Wayanad) uses a special type of well, called the Panam Keni, to store water. Wooden cylinders are made by soaking the stems of toddy palms in water for a long time so that the core rots away until only the hard outer layer remains. These cylinders, four feet in diameter as well as depth, are then immersed in groundwater springs located in fields and forests. This is the secret behind how these wells have abundant water even in the hottest summer months.

Baolis on trade routes were often frequented as resting places. Wikimedia Commons
Baolis on trade routes were often frequented as resting places. Wikimedia Commons

5. Baoli

Built by the nobility for civic, strategic or philanthropic reasons, baolis were secular structures from which everyone could draw water. These beautiful stepwells typically have beautiful arches, carved motifs and sometimes, rooms on their sides. The locations of baolis often suggest the way in which they were used. Baolis within villages were mainly used for utilitarian purposes and social gatherings. Baolis on trade routes were often frequented as resting places.

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Superstar Rajinikanth Raises Concern Towards Water Conservation

On Tuesday, Rajinikanth made television acting debut on Discovery channel's new format series 'Into The Wild with Bear Grylls', after 43 years of cinema, Discovery said in a statement on Wednesday

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Rajinikanth
Rajinikanth said every Indian needs to come forward and contribute to water conservation. Wikimedia Commons

Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth has appealed for water conservation on a war footing as he marks his TV debut after 43 years of cinema via Discovery channel’s ‘Into The Wild with Bear Grylls’ programme on Wednesday.

“This war (water conserving) has to be led at all levels including government, community as well as on the individual front. I believe this show on Discovery is a perfect platform to take the message of conserving water to every home across the country,” said the Thalaiva in a statement.

Rajinikanth said every Indian needs to come forward and contribute to water conservation. On Tuesday, Rajinikanth made television acting debut on Discovery channel’s new format series ‘Into The Wild with Bear Grylls’, after 43 years of cinema, Discovery said in a statement on Wednesday.

“I agreed to finally make my debut on TV after more than four decades of cinema,” said Rajinikanth about shooting for ‘Into The Wild’ with Bear Grylls. On Tuesday, the 69-year-old Southern superstar shot for the programme in Karnataka’s Bandipur Tiger Reserve. Bandipur Tiger Reserve, an 874 sq km national park, was formed by integrating most of the forest areas of erstwhile Venugopala Wildlife Park established in 1941, and later enlarged to its current state in Chamarajanagar district, about 220 km southwest of Bengaluru.

The tiger reserve lists 28 species of mammals to be thriving in the forest, including royal Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, common leopard, bonnet macaque, Indian pipistrelle and barking deer, among others. In August 2019, Grylls had hosted Prime Minister Modi in the Man vs Wild show, which was shot at the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand in February 2019.

Other international icons who featured in the highly popular show include United States President Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, Titanic star Kate Winslet, Tennis virtuoso Roger Federer and Hollywood great Julia Roberts and others. “Into The Wild is a truly unique show, at one level it offers adrenaline pumping action, while at another, the show lends itself beautifully to driving a specific purpose for the larger good of society,” said Rajinikanth.

The Southern star said he readily accepted to act in the new series when officials from Discovery channel approached him, finally marking his TV debut. Kavithalayaa, a production house founded by Rajinikanth’s guru K. Balachander also played a significant role, he said.

“Bear Grylls has tested the survival skills of multiple celebrity guests, pushing them to their limits; I look forward to the survival challenge in the mesmerizing wilderness of India,” said Rajinikanth about the popular host who showcases survival strategies in extreme challenging conditions in the most remote locations around the world.

Rajinikanth
Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth has appealed for water conservation on a war footing as he marks his TV debut after 43 years of cinema via Discovery channel’s ‘Into The Wild with Bear Grylls’ programme on Wednesday. IANS

Also focusing on water conservation in the new programme, Megha Tata, managing director, Discovery, South Asia said the channel wanted to add a layer of purpose with each episode of the newly commissioned series ‘Into The Wild with Bear Grylls’.

“Last year, the show featuring Modi, generated much desired attention on conservation of wildlife; we are confident that the forthcoming episode featuring Rajinikanth will sensitize each one of us about conservation of water,” Tata said. Grylls heaped praise on Rajinikanth, saying that the actor is a phenomenon who has captivated audiences across the world with his work both on screen and off screen.

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“Our team is all very excited to work closely with Thalaiva! He has always shown such energy and flair in all he does and he will need that courage and determination again on our journey into the beautiful wild of India,” said Grylls, throwing the challenge to the veteran actor. (IANS)

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Himachal Pradesh CM Formulates Development Policy for Sustainable Development of Himalayan States

The conclave called for development of new tourist destinations as old hill resorts had reached their saturation stage

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The conclave called for development of new tourist destinations as old hill resorts had reached their saturation stage. Wikimedia Commons

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Sunday advocated the formulation of a holistic development policy for sustainable development of the Himalayan states so that they could progress on par with other states.

Addressing a conclave here of Chief Ministers and representatives of 10 Himalayan states, Thakur said about 66 per cent geographical area of Himachal Pradesh is covered with forests and if ecologically viable and scientific silviculture practices are allowed, the state can earn additional annual revenue of Rs 4,000 crore.

The conclave called for development of new tourist destinations as old hill resorts had reached their saturation stage. Thakur said that the state is neither able to get full revenue from its forest wealth, nor undertake developmental activities over a large geographical area on account of national laws and court orders.

sustainable development, himachal
Thakur said that the state is neither able to get full revenue from its forest wealth, nor undertake developmental activities over a large geographical area on account of national laws and court orders. Wikimedia Commons

“Therefore, Himachal Pradesh should be suitably compensated for being deprived of revenue worth crores for being denied harnessing of its forest wealth,” he said. He urged the Finance Commission and the Union government to provide adequate grant to revenue deficit states so that they have adequate funds for capital investment after overcoming the deficit remaining post-devolution.

He said that Himachal Pradesh has seen a huge fall in income following GST implementation and urged the Finance Commission for proper evacuation of GST for the state for the remaining 33 months.

Thakur said that the state has immense tourism potential but due to non-availability of rail and air connectivity, a big airport needs to be constructed. The construction of roads in Himalayan states was expensive and rail network was almost negligible.

himachal pradesh, sustainable development
Thakur also said most of the rivers in the country originate from the Himalayas and the Himalayan states are playing the most significant role in furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s water conservation initiative. Wikimedia Commons

Moreover, the Himalayan states are prone to several natural calamities on account of the hilly terrain and it was the need of the hour that the Union government ensures adequate allocation of funds under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for these states, he said.

ALSO READ: Fourfold Increase in Himachal Farmers’ Income with Crop Diversification Project

Thakur also said most of the rivers in the country originate from the Himalayas and the Himalayan states are playing the most significant role in furthering Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s water conservation initiative.

According to the Chief Minister, since most Himalayan states have to depend on the Centre and the Finance Commissions for financial management, they are facing a lot of hardships after the scrapping of the Planning Commission. (IANS)

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India: Government Launches Jal Shakti Abhiyan Campaign for Water Conservation

These interventions are water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies

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Teams of officers from the Central government will visit and work with district administration in 1,592 water-stressed blocks. Pixabay

On the lines of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the Central government on Monday launched ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’ – a campaign for water conservation and water security, in the wake of an acute water crisis in the country.

Teams of officers from the Central government will visit and work with district administration in 1,592 water-stressed blocks in 256 districts to ensure five important water conservation interventions.

These interventions are water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse of water and recharging of structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation.

Scientists, students, NGOs, Panchayati Raj members, and youth groups among others will be mobilised.

India, Government, Water Conservation
On the lines of the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’, the Central government on Monday launched ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan’. Pixabay

After launching the scheme, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said the government aims at providing drinking water to every household on priority and in a sustainable manner.

“It will help people to work for rain water harvesting, maintenance and upkeep of ponds and village tanks and conservation of water,” he told reporters.

Shekhawat asked people, NGOs, and youth organisations to actively participate in the scheme.

The campaign will run through citizen participation during the monsoon season from July 1 to September 15.

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An additional phase-two will be run from October 1 to November 30 for states receiving the North East retreating monsoon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his first ‘Mann Ki Baat’ of his second term on Sunday had stressed on the need of the hour to conserve water as drought looms large in vast regions of the country.

“There is no one way to conserve water. In different parts, different methods are adopted but the aim is to conserve every drop,” Modi had said. (IANS)