Khazana Bawali - Historical wisdom needing protection - Paper presented at the National Seminar on Water and Culture (2007)

The loss of ancient knowledge: the Kazana Bawali lost to the want or urbanization or sheer callousness

This paper presents the case of Khazana Bawali - a large ancient well that irrigated around 1000 acres in the past but is now in disrepair. The well is about 20 metres in diameter which stores rainwater from the neighbouring hills. The water is brought through underground tunnels that have ventilators at regular intervals to ensure fresh air and also to help in its manual cleaning. This well today irrigates only about 525 acres. It was built by the Jagirdar of Beed in 1582.

Water management of this well was done through self-discipline of the beneficiaries. However, today the management is under the control of the Government.

Urbanisation and changing land use pattern is also impacting the Khazana Bawali. Being close to Beed town, urban spread has destroyed some water channels, siphons while rich fertile irrigated land is being converted to residential areas.

While providing design information on the well, its channels and their salient features, the authors maintain that there is need for more research on the technical aspects of this well and its irrigation system. They marvel at the technical prowess that enabled the construction of a channel under the river bed.

The authors conclude with legislative and administrative demands. They suggest that irrigated land should not be converted to any other land use, and that equitable distribution of water amongst beneficiaries should be enforced.

This paper was presented at the National Seminar on Water and Culture organised by Kannada University and Sahayoga in 2007.

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