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Haryana

A look at traditional water harvesting techniques across the country.

india Updated: May 19, 2003 15:27 IST
PTI

Abi

Haryana is semi arid with low rainfall. But fed by Yamuna, Ghaggar, Markanda and Saraswati rivers their flood plains are fertile. Plus, the Rohtak canal also called Nahr-e-Bihist built in 1643 AD by Ali Mardan Khan has for many centuries served the irrigation needs of the Rohtak-Gohana belt. However, in many other parts of Haryana such as Nardak area, a form of irrigation called Abi or tank is practised.

This area has large depressions which get filled with rainwater. The method is similar to lift irrigation and crops are grown around the borders of the tank. Around the Ghaggar river and its tributaries, whose channels are below the surface of the surrounding land, wells are dug near the river bank and carried down to a level lower than its bed. These wells are either lined by masonry or left kuchcha. In the former case, the mouth is left exposed on the riverside and lower down on it an arch or jharokha is built. A channel from the river leads water into the wells and in the winter a bund was built across the bed of the river to hold up the water.