Regenerating traditional irrigation systems in central Orissa - Need experiences in regenerating the systems

From Sarbeswara Sahoo, Kalpataru, Angul, Orissa
Posted 21 November 2006

Kalpataru is an NGO working in central Orissa on common property resources, specifically sustainable water resources management.

In our work, we have found that with the advent of modern watershed management technologies, such as cement checkdams, diversion weirs, canals, etc., the state and the community has very often completely ignored local, less-water intensive, low cost traditional irrigation systems. However, we find that these systems are still relevant and may play an important role, if regenerated.

In the above context, I request members to please respond to the following:

  • In what ways and in what context are indigenous irrigation methods better than modern watershed/irrigation technologies? What is the relevance of these traditional irrigation systems in today’s world, where there are conflicting demands on water resources?
  • What are the causes for decay of these traditional systems of irrigation and water management? What have also been the failures of these traditional systems? Since these technologies are available in all districts and regions, should we emphasize and revive them, or should we focus on modern systems of irrigation only?
  • Members may also please send in their experiences and efforts at trying to regenerate/ modify/upgrade traditional irrigation systems in other parts of India.

Please see attachment below for the responses.