There is mention of the importance of water in daily life in various prayers in the Rigveda. The author states that the earliest evidence of water conservation goes back to 3000 B. C. when Gabarbands were built in Baluchisthan. The Harappans built tanks and wells and were pioneers of well-digging technology.
The paper mentions the water engineering work of the Mauryan period. Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka are linked to the reservoir called Sudarshana on the mountains of Raivataka and Urjayat near Girnar or Junagarh, created by artificially damming up of some of their streams.
The author points out that ancient Indians were aware of the various qualities of water. The Samarangana Sutradha refers to the floating force of water, its weight and its relative power, the qualities which are chiefly used in hydraulic machines.
The author provides a glimpse of ancient irrigation techniques that include redirecting rivers, creating reservoirs etc. He concludes with the demand that interlinking of rivers should be taken up.
This paper was presented at the National Seminar on Water and Culture organised by Kannada University and Sahayoga in 2007.
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