Top view of a Kui

Paar system: Paar is a common water harvesting practice in the western Rajasthan region. It is a common place where the rainwater flows from the agar (catchment) and in the process percolates into the sandy soil. In order to access the rajani pani (percolated water) kuis or beris are dug in the agor (storage area). Kuis or beris are normally 5 metres (m) to 12 m deep. The structure was constructed through traditional masonary technology. Normally six to ten of them are constructed in a paar. However depending on the size of the paar the numbers of kuis or beris are decided. Bhatti mentions that there are paars in Jaisalmer district where there are more than 20 kuis are in operation. This is the most predominant form of rainwater harvesting in the region. Rainwater harvested through PAAR technique is known as Patali paani.

See also:

Jethu Singh Bhatti

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How to harvest
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Talab / Bandhis
Talabs a
re reservoirs. They may be natural, such as the ponds (pokhariyan) at Tikamgarh in the Bundelkhand region. They can be human-made, such the lakes in Udaipur. A reservoir area of less than five bighas is called a talai; a medium sized lake is called a bandhi or talab; bigger lakes are called sagar or samand. The pokhariyan serve irrigation and drinking purposes. When the water in these reserviors dries up just a few days after the monsoon, the pond beds are cultivated with rice.
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Saza Kuva
An open well with multiple owners (saza = partner), saza kuva is the most important source of irrigation in the Aravalli hills in Mewar, eastern Rajasthan. The soil dug out to make the well pit is used to construct a huge circular foundation or an elevated platform sloping away from the well. The first is built to accomodate the rehat, a traditional water lifting device; the sloping platform is for the chada, in which buffaloes are used to lift water. Saza kuva construction is generally taken up by a group of farmers with adjacent landholdings; a harva, a man with special skills in groundwater detection, helps fix the site.
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are small earthen check dams that capture and conserve rainwater, improving percolation and groundwater recharge. Starting 1984, the last sixteen years have seen the revival of some 3000 johads spread across more than 650 villages in Alwar district, Rajasthan. This has resulted in a general rise of the groundwater level by almost 6 metres and a 33 percent increase in the forest cover in the area. Five rivers that used to go dry immediately following the monsoon have now become perennial, such as the River Arvari, has come alive.
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Bhitada village , Jhabua district of Madhya pradesh developed the unique pat system. This system was devised according to the peculiarities of the terrain to divert water from swift-flowing hill streams into irrigation channels called pats.

Source: Making water everybody's business

The diversion bunds across the stream are made by piling up stones and then lining them with teak leaves and mud to make them leakproof. The pat channel has to negotiate small nullahs that join the stream off and on, and also sheer cliffs before reaching the fields. These sections invariably get washed away during the monsoons. Stone aqueducts have to be built to span the intervening nullahs.

The villagers irrigate their fields by turns. The channel requires constant maintenance and it is the duty of the family irrigating the fields on a particular day to take care of the pat on that particular day. It takes about two weeks to get the pat flowing and the winter crop is sown in early November.
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  Naada / Bandha
are found in the Mewar region of the Thar desert. It is a stone check dam, constructed across a stream or gully, to capture monsoon runoff on a stretch of land. Submerged in water, the land becomes fertile as silt deposits on it and the soil retains substantial amounts of water.
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A rapat is a percolation tank, with a bund to impound rainwater flowing through a watershed and a waste weir to dispose of the surplus flow. If the height of the structure is small, the bund may be built of masonary, otherwise earth is used. Rajasthan rapats, being small, are all masonry structures. Rapats and percolation tanks do not directly irrigate land, but recharges well within a distance of 3-5 km downstream. Silting is a serious problem with small rapats and the estimated life of a rapat varies from 5 to 20 years.
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Chandela Tank
These tanks were constructed by stopping the flow of water in rivulets flowing between hills by erecting massive earthen embankments, having width of 60m or more. These hills with long stretches of quartz reefs running underneath them, acted as natural ground water barrier helping to trap water between the ridges. The earthen embankments were supported on both sides with walls of coarse stones, forming a series of stone steps. These tanks are made up of lime and mortar and this is the reason why these tanks survived even after thousand years but the only problem, which these tanks are facing, is siltation of tank beds. Chandela tanks usually had a convex curvature somewhere in the middle of the embankment; many older and smaller tanks were constructed near the human settlement or near the slopes of a cluster of hills. These tanks served to satisfy the drinking water needs of villagers and cattle.
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  Bundela Tank
These tanks are bigger in size as compared to Chandela tanks. These tanks had solidly constructed steps leading to water in the tank; But these structures had chabootaras, pavillions and royal orchards designed to show off the glory of the king who built them. But these tanks are not as cost effective and simple as Chandela tanks. These tanks were constructed to meet the growing water demands in the area, maintenance of these tanks was done by the person employed by the king but in case of smaller tanks villagers collectively removed silt and repair embankment.
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Kunds / Kundis
A kund or kundi looks like an upturned cup nestling in a saucer. These structures harvest rainwater for drinking, and dot the sandier tracts of the Thar Desert in western Rajasthan and some areas in Gujarat.
Essentially a circular underground well, kunds have a saucer-shaped catchment area that gently slopes towards the centre where the well is situated. A wire mesh across water-inlets prevents debris from falling into the well-pit. The sides of the well-pit are covered with (disinfectant) lime and ash. Most pits have a dome-shaped cover, or at least a lid, to protect the water. If need be, water can be drawn out with a bucket. The depth and diameter of kunds depend on their use (drinking, or domestic water requirements). They can be owned by only those with money to invest and land to construct it. Thus for the poor, large public kunds have to be built.

Also see Ran Singh who makes kunds

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Kuis / Beris
Found in western Rajasthan, these are 10-12 m deep pits dug near tanks to collect the seepage. Kuis can also be used to harvest rainwater in areas with meagre rainfall.

The mouth of the pit is usually made very narrow. This prevents the collected water from evaporating. The pit gets wider as it burrows underunder the ground, so that water can seep in into a large surface area. The openings of these entirely kuchcha (earthen) structures are generally covered with planks of wood, or put under lock and key. The water is used sparingly, as a last resource in crisis situations.
Magga Ram Suthar, of village Pithla in Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan, is an engineer skilled in making kuis/beris.

Also see Magga Ram Suthar who has mastered the art of making beris

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Baoris / Bers
or bers are community wells, found in Rajasthan, that are used mainly for drinking. Most of them are very old and were built by banjaras (mobile trading communities) for their drinking water needs. They can hold water for a long time because of almost negligible water evaporation.
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were human-made tanks, found in Rajasthan and Gujarat, essentially meant for community use and for religious rites. Often rectangular in design, jhalaras have steps on three or four sides.
Jhalars areground water bodies which are built to ensure easy & regular supply of water to the surrounding areas .
the jhalars are rectangular in shape with steps on three or even on all the four sides of the tank . the steps are built on a series of levels .
The jhalaras collect subterranean seepage of a talab or a lake located upstream .
The water from these jhalaras was not used for drinking but for only community bathing and religious rites .
Jhodhpur city has eight jhalaras two of which are inside the town & six are found outside the city .
The oldest jhalara is the mahamandir jhalara which dates back to 1660 AD
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are village ponds, found near Jodhpur in Rajasthan. They are used for storing waterfrom an adjoining natural catchment during the rainy season. The site was selected by the villagers based on an available natural catchments and its water yield potential. Water availability from nadi would range from two months to a year after the rains. They are dune areas range from 1.5 to 4.0 metres and those in sandy plains varied from 3 to 12 metres. The location of the nadi had a strong bearing on its storage capacity due to the related catchment and runoff characteristics.
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is the local name given to a ground depression with a natural catchment area. A hard plot of land with low porosity, consisting of a depression and a natural catchment area was selected for the construction of tobas.
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