Talabs are reservoirs. They may be natural, such as the
ponds (pokhariyan) at Tikamgarh in the Bundelkhand
region. They can also 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.
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.
Johads 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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