Traditional techniques of water management - Interesting cases presented by Farhad Contractor & Rajendra Singh

Rajendra Singh of Tarun Bharat Sangh and Farhad Contractor of Sambhaav Trust, had some interesting cases to share, which were mostly a combination of visual delight and astonishingly simple traditional techniques of water management.


Rajendra Singh

Rajendra Singh (Credit:

For a better perspective, you would have to sit through, hearing the experiences of Tarun Bharat Sangh in reviving the traditional forms of harvesting water. A quick run down would only reflect what was said and shared. Here are some bytes off the presentation given by Rajendra. He had the success story of Bhagani River basin, where TBS has brought a sea change.


• Community driven decentralized water management is the solution for equitable distribution of water

• Geo-cultural diversity deserves respect, without which no solution of resource related issues can be drawn 

• Ancient Jaisalmer had its own innovative ways to counter drought that may last up to 5 years. Our institutions...IITs... need to analyze those techniques 

• Green Revolution has filled our stomachs but has emptied the aquifers 

• Over the years we have changed the definition of development - it now stands as "how well we exploit resources" 

• Management of aquifers is of utmost importance 

• It is not that only highly qualified engineers can solve resource issues. Every individual has the potential, as, it is everybody's problem

• Engineers and the Community have different priorities. Engineers dream to do big things!

• Water Quality is important but our prime priority is water to survive


Farhad's presentation on Water Harvesting Systems of Rajasthan was sheer delight. It was a photo essay, more oriented towards sensitization to traditional and indigenous knowledge of our communties.


Farhad Contractor, Sambhaav Trust, Rajasthan

He walks us down the past millennium on water conservation and its myriad forms. Hi job, he believes has been only to motivate the community to become independent of the government in addressing its own water needs. There are three kinds of water in the desert regions of Thar:

1. Palar pani (rain water)
2. Rejwani pani (percolation and recharge, essentially rain water percolated through  soil)
3. Patal pani (Ground Water)



This picture is from a region 2 km from the Great Rann of Kutch. All groundwater is saline but water in the "Beri" is sweet because this is rainwater which percolates through the sand and recharged into the "Beri". More than 100 such Berries have again been revived and now communities of the whole region have revivied 400 such "Beri" themselves.



Bandra Talab which was revived in the last 7 years now povides drinking water to five villages, where anual average rainfall is 175mm.


The communities had forgotten their traditional systems belieiving and depending on the government’s promises. When they found that it didn't work, they went back to rejuvenate the talabs, beries and other structures.


Download the presentations here:

Rajendra Singh 

Farhad Contractor 



Post By: praveena