Water Bank Concept- Traditional Practice in India

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator

Water is one of the important elements that sustain life on Earth. It is necessary to develop proper water management methods to conserve water in areas with heavy rains and use them during drought or in regions with low water levels. Water banks serve as a good water management practice, which storage surface water in areas where water is present in large quantities and transferit to areas where there is a scarcity.

The first water bank was constructed in 1977 in California. It was called California Water Bank, which started with an idea to supply water for public needs during drought conditions. Later on many water banks were constructed in USA under the Water Bank Act mainly functioned to preserve and improve the wetlands, conserve surface waters, reduce water runoff and soil erosion.  Water Banks were also developed to supply water for places that have no or less water in a low cost way.

Tradition water harvesting practice in India is more or less similar to the Water Bank concept. During Satavahanas, Kakatiyas and Nizam era, huge water tanks were built to store water during the monsoon season, and later use them for irrigation and drinking throughout the year.

The massive water tanks built by them provided water to other small water tanks by means of “Golusukattu cheruvulu” means interconnecting tanks. The beauty behind this practice is if one major tank is filled up, the excess water would reach the other small water tanks. One such example includes the well-known lake in Hyderabad, Hussain Sagar, that stores the water perennially fed by the canals of Musi River. 

In 2010, a farmer in Satara district, Maharashtra, India constructed a common water bank with the help of other farmers by interconnecting the perennial rivers. At first, they connected the target wells with pipelines and then lifted the water using an electric motor which initially was not acceptable by many farmers to share water. Later on, a great attention was received to this project and now 30 wells have been interconnected. The farmers of that village understood the advantage of the water banks and started a big project with the help of the government, and about 11,000 ft pipeline has been set up to connect wells and farms. This pipeline takes water from wells and spreads it across the farmlands. The interconnection between the wells also helped farmers to do farming even when the wells were dried which shows that villagers were benefitted with continuous supply of water through water banks.

Author: K. Swathi, Project Assistant, Bioengineering and Environmental Sciences Lab, CEEFF, CSIR-IICT, Hyderabad.

(Image source: http://missiontelangana.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Mssion-Kakatiya.jpg)


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