Traditional drinking water ponds, types & distribution: Use and misuse of "ooranies" as run off collection ponds in Tamilnadu

In Tamil Nadu, in the last few years, traditional drinking water ponds (called ooranies, a tamil word) in a few villages have been repaired to provide water for potable uses for the villagers. While doing so, the runoff rainwater is being discharged into them, which I feel is not correct. These ponds, as the tamil name suggests are seepage ponds and hence fit for potable uses. I also feel that these ponds should be thought of as open wells at the macro (community) level catering to the needs of those who did not have their own wells. These ponds are also different from the keres, where runoff is collected since the end use is only agriculture.

I have the following questions:

1. Is it correct to collect the runoff in such ponds?
2. Were there such traditional drinking water ponds in other states in India, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka?
3. Have any attempts been made to repair and revive them either by the state or NGOs?
4. If so, has the runoff water being discharged into them or not?

I hope I have made myself clear, if not, I am willing to clarify further.

Sekhar Raghavan, Rain Centre, Chennai
sekar1479@yahoo.co.in

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