Rajasthan’s nadis, an insurance against a dry summer

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Rajasthan’s nadis, an insurance against a dry summer

  • In western Rajasthan, traditional water-harvesting structures brimming with rainwater.

Traditional water-harvesting structures - Nadis

  • Nadis or talabs (ponds) are shallow depressions across the rural landscape in the arid regions of the Jodhpur and Barmer districts.
  • The water collected in these tanks will satiate people, cattle and wild animals during the dry months.
  • The nadis have been a part of rural life for ages.
  • The rural communities store rainwater in these structures with the application of traditional knowledge and locally available materials in view of the highly fluctuating and scanty rainfall in the State.
  • However, not all nadis are in good shape now.
  • Several of them have fallen into disrepair, while others leak because of cracks in their embankment walls.
  • The structures can even be a solution to flash floods.

Ramrawas Kalan model

  • At Ramrawas Kalan, a village in Jodhpur, the two nadis undergo periodic maintenance.
  • The two structures are Deoli and Chan, the latter being the bigger one and are in orans or sacred groves.
  • The orans are associated with the local deities.
  • Many varieties of trees in these orans slow the water run-off.
  • Slower run-off of rainwater has led to more percolation in the local nadis and ponds.
  • The orans are mini-oases in an otherwise arid landscape.
  • The local Bishnoi community has worked hard to ensure the maintenance and functioning of orans and nadis.
  • Bishnois follow the commandments for protecting the flora and fauna.

Way ahead

  • These local systems are vital to maintaining resilience against global warming and climate change.
  • Orans and nadis are “mixed water-pasture regimes” that need careful maintenance to protect their water-holding capacity and save rainwater.

Prelims take away

  • Nadis
  • Orans
  • Traditional water harvesting system