|An eye opener
"By slightly modifying the size of the pyathon (concrete catchment area), kundis
can be easily replicated in some parts of Orissa, where options for groundwater recharge
are limited". Leela Nanda, MASS, Orissa
"The chauka system is a remarkable way of not only developing pastureland but
ensuring high groundwater retention as well. It is a system, which can be effectively
replicated in Kenya, as the ecological and topographic conditions are similar."
Alex Odour, Information
Similar thoughts were expressed by other participants of CSEs
tenth paani yatra (water pilgrimage) as well. About 28 participants with diverse
backgrounds from (different parts of) India, Kenya and Germany explored Rajasthan, during
this yatra. Travelling between May 12 - 19, 2003, they saw the magic of kundis (concrete
structures to collect water) in village Ramsara and Ratanpur, Churu; chaukas (dykes) in
Laporiya village, Jaipur; and, johads (earthen pond) in Bhaonta Kolyala village, Alwar.
"The people are determined. Their survival strategies
are both simple and economical."
Journalist, New Delhi
"The simplicity and happiness of the villagers
impressed me the most. They show us the ways to deal with harsh climate and scarce rain,
Student, Tamil Nadu
"Laporiya and Bhaonta Kolyala have been successful,
because the local communities took the initiative. They innovated the existing structures
as per their context."
"I have learnt a lot, especially with regard to the
use of surface reservoirs to recharge groundwater.The chaukas were amazing."
nformation officer, Kenya
"In this paani yatra, I saw structures built by the
local engineers with no formal education. Years of experience was their only
Student, New Delhi
"It was interesting to see that every region has its
own rainwater harvesting techniques."
The first stop was village Ratanpura. Here, with the help
of Bhoruka Charitable Trust, a local NGO, the community is maintaining kundis, as a
realiable drinking water source. The groundwater in this village is saline and the
municipal supply is irregular. On the way to Churu, next stop was Raju ki Dhani village,
where they saw kui, another traditional structure to harness moisture from sands. Yatris
were surprised to find that the water in the kui was sweet, whereas in a nearby
well it was saline, as the former source was not groundwater.
In Ramsara village, they meet villagers, who have built six new kundis, last
year, as the groundwater was flouride affected. In this village, kundis were also
being used for irrigation purposes. Here, they met Ridkaran, a mason, who has been making
kundis for the past 25 years.
In Laporiya, chaukas captivated the group. It is a unique method of rainwater
harvesting, involving dyked rectangular trenches dug all over the pastureland in a series.
The depth of these pits vary with the local topography. The rainwater goes zig zag all
around pasture before flowing into a seasonal river. The villagers are regularly
maintaining the catchment area and, a canal supplies water to the three tanks built in a
series ann sagar, phool sagar and dev
sagar. After four years of drought, although the surface water has dried up.
There is enough water for both drinking and irrigation.
The dairy sector is flourishing. The average annual income per household from this
sector alone varies between Rs 2,000 to Rs 4,000. There are 103 wells in the village. And,
people are using these for one hour to irrigate. Their lush green agricultural land
highlights the impact of the innovative community-based water works done in Laporiya. A
trend that was not observed by the yatris during their visit to the other
The visit was an eye opener. Bhanu Jain, a yatri from Water and Sanitation
Management organisation, Gandhinagar, said, "An effective social mobilisation rocess
has transformed these into model villages that are easy to replicate.
Rampal Bisht, BCT, Rajgarh, Bhorugram, Churu 331023
Laxman Singh, GVNML,
Laporiya, Post Gagardu,
Dudu, Jaipur 303008
CSEs ninth paani yatra (January 16 - 21, 2003)
explored the community-based water works done by NMSadguru Water and Development
Foundation in Dahod; Utthan in Patan; and, Agha Khan Rural Support Program in
Surendernagar. The group of 23 participants also visited Raj Samadhiyala in Rajkot, to
understand how a balanced approach combining effective application of remote
sensing and strict community code has worked miracles.