The article describes two water conservation structures in Karnataka. Kuntes are water storage structures while talaparige is a point in the tank bed where water springs out from sandy soil
The friendly water pond- Kuntes
Kuntes are the structure for water storage in Karnataka. Every village in Karnataka has a kunte, the water, in which, serves several purposes. Situated in or very close to the village, these kuntes also help to maintain the ecological balance in the area around it. However kuntes are facing extinction today due to land encroachments.
A kunte is very similar to a pond. It is normally circular in shape and not very deep. It is structured in such a way that the rainwater directly flows into it and is collected in it. Some kuntes had a sluice and a natural waste weir, which helped in controlling the water outflow. It is a very simple technique and one that is very friendly to the environment and community.
In addition to the water being used for domestic purposes, these manmade water harvesting pools were also used as soak pits to increase the groundwater level. The water collected in the kunte were greatly beneficial in recharging the surrounding open wells. As a natural corollary, the vegetation around the pools also increased and this in turn helped to maintained the ecological balance in the areas around it.
Water from the kuntes was also used for growing vegetables, millet and even for soaking paddy fields. Another use for this water is in the brick kiln constructions. The various uses of the kunte prove that it was a community asset, which met community needs and generated livelihood.
Some are of the opinion that kuntes and the cattle dikes are one and the same. But this may not be true, as the latter was meant only for animals and was constructed wherever the cattle grazed, whereas the kunte was within the village and was meant for human use.
The article argues that unfortunately, land encroachments and the ubiquitous borewell have proved to be the undoing for these traditional kuntes, which need to be urgently restored. Read more
Talaparige- Nature's science and art of water management
Talaparige is a water source commonly found in Karnataka. The word talaparige is used for the point where water springs out from sandy soil. This is a unique water source that gets activated only when the tank dries up. Talapariges were major sources of water supply in the hilly areas of Tumkur, Chitradurga and Kolar districts. Once revered and celebrated by the community, talapariges were focal points of rural culture. Sadly, today talapariges have disappeared.
A talaparige is the point in the tank bed where water springs out from the sandy soil. It is also referred to as a swamp or a sweet water spring. Water from a talaparige is harnessed at the point where the maximum water springs out. Talapariges however become active only when the water in the tank dries up. Water in talapariges is used as drinking water for humans and animals and also for agricultural purposes.
Talapariges are found on rocky surfaces of the hill slopes where the water flows down during the monsoon and dries up in the summer, as well as on riverbanks, rivulets or streams. When it rains, water soaks in through cracks in the rocks and boulders and collects as subterranean water. It later springs forth wherever there is sandy soil. Rain water that collects under the earth by the banks of rivers, rivulets or streams gushes forth through talapariges when these water sources run dry in summer and the sand is struck. The point where water trickles, oozes or springs out is called the talaparige.
Talapariges do not have any definite shape. Most generally have a stonewall on three sides with an open portion on one side, so as to facilitate flow of water. A pit is dug wherever water can soak through. The maximum depth is about 15 feet, although the average depth is only 5 feet. The length and breadth is usually between 15-20 feet. As the canals are equal in measurement to these talapariges, both sometimes appear to be a single structure. While talapariges are generally built of stone in the middle of the tanks, sometimes these can also be found in places where there are no tanks.
The uniqueness of a talaparige is that water flows out of it only when it is used. This is owing to the fact that the eye of the talaparige closes when water does not flow out. The portion or the corner of the talaparige from where water oozes out is called the ‘water eye’. This point is of special significance. Workers who repair the canal observe this eye constantly to prevent it from getting covered with topsoil. For instance, the talaparige in Akkiramapur, Koratagere Taluk remained unused for many years, and the ‘water eye’ has choked up with moss and lichen.
In Karnataka, talapariges exist in the rocky surfaces of the mountainous areas of Tumkur, Kolar and Chitradurga districts. Anantapur and Cuddapah in Andhra Pradesh are also believed to have talapariges.
The article informs that Talapariges, once a central part of the rural community have mostly fallen into disuse today. While some have dried up due to continuous drought and indifference, others have been encroached upon. One such example is a public talaparige near Koratagere town, which has now become part of a private property. Many such instances have virtually erased the tradition of the talaparige, thereby destroying entire chains of this unique system. The article ends by arguing that there is an urgent need to undertake a detailed study of the significance of talapariges and revive this beautiful art and science in nature. Read more
To view other water conservation structures in Karnataka refer:
Traditional water conservation structures in Karnataka (part 2 of 3)
Traditional water conservation structures in Karnataka (part 3 of 3)