Rajsamand ditrict in western Rajasthan has a rich legacy of rainwater harvesting structures. Nadis (ponds) once served as the principal drinking water sources in this area. They received their water supply from erratic, torrential rainfall. Since the runoff was from sandy and eroded rocky basins, large amounts of sediments were regularly deposited in them, resulting in quick siltation.

A local voluntary organisation, the Mewar Krishak Vikas Samiti (MKVS) has been working in the district for the welfare of local farmers. They have constructed 20-30 nadis with a command area in excess of 500 ha in Lambodi, Gudlia, Kharasan, Hakiawas and Bhairu Das Ka Kheda.

The organisation has added systems like spillways to the nadis, in the absence of which these structures were damaged earlier. To prevent siltation, the MKVS has promoted afforestation of the drainage basin and constructed silt traps. Since farmers construct these structure on their own fields using locally available materials, the cost of construction ranges between Rs 2,500-10,000 and is thus affordable.

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Polymer Kundis
Churu District in Rajasthan is facing acute water scarcity due to poor ground water quality and lack of water resources such as rivers and canals. To deal with this problem Bhoruka Charitable Trust (BCT) is encouraging villagers to build and renovate Kundis (tanks), Johads (ponds), Talabs(permanent ponds) and dugwells. The kundi consists of a circular catchment area sloping towards the centrally located storage structure. The quality of water from kundi is good and if maintained properly no serious water contamination occurs. Its maintenance is easy. Local materials such as clay, silt, lime,ash and gravel are traditionally used to construct the catchment area of a kundi. They do not make completely impermeable layer. As a result some part of rainwater is lost due to uncontrolled seepage.

Efforts are now being made by BCT to enhance runoff in collaboration with Hyderabad based National Geophysical Research Institute and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology. The project has identified ways to generate 60-70% runoff depending upon the intensity of rainfall, using new technique of polymer science. Water based non-toxic polymer solution that permeate the highly porous sandy soils are used to increase runoff from Kundis. These polymers act as binders and reduce permeability and infiltration rate of sandy soils. Use of water repelling chemicals, in combination to some binding agents result in better runoff.

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