Management Of Resources: Water Harvesting


Keshav Bhatia, Academic Content Writer at Edumarz

Soil and water conservation increases the biomass production, watershed management focuses exactly on that.

Aim of Water Harvesting:

  • Primary resources like land and water should be developed to further develop and produce secondary resources of plants and animals.

  • These developed resources should be managed and used in a manner that will not lead to ecological balance

  • Increase income of the watershed community

  • Help weaken the severity of flood and drought

  • Increase the life of dams and reservoirs that are located downstreams

Work of organization and communities

The work by some organizations has even brought rivers back to life and recharged groundwater levels.

They have achieved this by meticulously working to catch every drop of water that falls on their land through indigenious methods. What they did:

  1. Constructed small lakes and pits to trap water

  2. Constructed dykes to prevent or weaken the severity of flooding

  3. Built simple watershed systems

  4. Constructed small earthen dams

  5. Sand and limestone reservoirs

  6. Rooftop water harvesting units

Examples of Indeginous water harvesting systems that have been used in India for centuries:

  • Rajasthan: Khadins, tanks and Nadis

  • Maharashtra: Tals and Bandharas

  • Madhya Pradesh: Bundhis

  • Himachal Pradesh: Kuhls

  • Uttar Pradesh: Bundhis

  • Jammu: ponds are the preferred indegenious method of water harvesting in Jammu’s Kandi belt

  • Bihar: Pynes and Ahars

  • Kerala: Surangams

  • Karnataka: Kattas

  • Tamli Nadu: Eris

These systems are still in use today for water harvesting and water conveyance(kuhls of Himachal Pradesh are an indigenous structure of Water Conveyance)
As we know that climatic conditions and topography widely vary all over India and that is why different types of Indigenous structures were built all over India.

This means that these techniques of watershed management are locale specific to suit the different needs of the climate and topography. The benefits that these techniques provide are received by locals.

People having more control over their local water resources secures the sustainable management of these resources. It also helps reduce and sometimes even remove the overexploitation of these resources or their mismanagement.

In leveled terrains the water harvesting structures are as follows:

Earthen embankments are made in the shape of a crescent 


Concrete and rubble check dams that are built in the flooded gullies.

Ponds are there behind these structures in which monsoon rain fills during the season

Only very large structures hold water for the whole year.

Most small structures only hold water for a few months and that is okay, because their purpose is not to hold water year round on the surface, but to help recharge the groundwater.

There are many advantages of doing so:

  1. Ground water does not evaporate

  2. Helps in greater biomass production because it spreads to a large area underground, to recharge wells, and helps provide hydration for vegetation over a large area.

  3. Is relatively cleaner than surface water because it is more protected from animal and human waste contamination than surface water.

  4. Stagnant surface water like artificial ponds and lakes becomes a breeding ground for dangerous disease causing vectors like mosquitoes, while groundwater does not.

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