Traditional - TOBAS

Tobas are simplest and most commonly used means of storing harvested water in excavated pits, ponds or reservoirs. Their popularity stems from them being economical and without the need of any materials. Ditches of different sizes were constructed in the area to collect maximum rainwater effectively. In some places channels and sub-channels are created to catch run-off efficiently from catchment area connected for the pond storage.

Each of the 480 communities of Cholistan desert in Pakistan has its own toba and well. In this area, groundwater is either deep or saline and hence the only source of fresh water is the rainwater. The average annual rainfall of the area is around 166 mm. Most tobas are named after the clan living nears the toba. Normally 10-50 families live around one toba, the tobas meet drinking water for nomads and their livestock. The water is also used for agriculture. At the start of the rainy season, livestock graze within 1-2 kilometers radius of each toba. This distance increases to 15 kilometers as the season progresses. Most of the wells and tobas are centuries old, built several generations back. Sometimes new ones are dug. Digging and desiltation, whenever required after 4-5 years, is a community effort.



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