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At Sringaverapura near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India, there exists an extraordinary example of hydraulic engineering dating back to the end of the 1st century BC. It comprises three percolation-cum-storage tanks, fed by an 11 m wide and 5 m deep canal that used to skim the floodwaters off the monsoon-swollen Ganga.

Water from the canal first entered a silting chamber where the dirt settled. This relatively clean water was then directed to the first brick-lined tank (Tank A), then on to Tank B through a stepped inlet (which cleaned the water further). This tank constituted the primary source of water supply. Next, the water passed to a circular Tank C, which had an elaborate staircase. An elaborate waste weir, consisting of seven spill channels, a crest, and a final exit, ensured that the excess water flowed back into the Ganga.


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