Lessons in rainwater harvesting

Lessons in rainwater harvesting

Pumping out excess water in times of drought, did you say? Where did this water come from? Don’t be surprised, because all this water is springing out from ancient water systems constructed by the palegars, or local rulers of the region.

The buildings in the vicinity of the Santehonda have been seeing groundwater rise to the surface in their basements for the last seven to eight months. The tanks and other water bodies in the town were full thanks to the rain last year. Ever since the Santehonda (tank) reached the brim, people have been busy pumping out excess water in the area.
Chitradurga is traditionally known as a drought-hit region. The problem existed even during the time of the palegars. But, these rulers had great foresight in building tanks that could store rain water for later use. Chitradurga has many such tanks. Even the water supply system for these tanks was so well planned.

Every drop saved
It was ensured that every drop of rain water was eventually saved. It shows that rain water harvesting, which is a highly appreciated system, was in place even back then. The rain water that falls on the Chinmooladri range of hills in Chitradurga first gets collected in the Gopalaswamy honda. The excess water from this tank then flows into the Akka-Tangiyara honda (another tank). From there, the water flows into another water body.

Later, the water flows through the Onake kindi to reach yet another tank.  All the excess water flows into the Santehonda situated in the heart of the town. There has never been an instance when the Gopalaswamyhonda has gone dry so far. Though there have been times when the town hasn’t seen rain, the water body has not gone dry, according to historians.

The water body has even drawn film crews over the years. Earlier, water from this tank was supplied to residents of the fort area. Historians say that before attacking the fort, Hyder Ali had conducted a detailed study of the water system here.
Santehonda has the capacity to save 0.04 TMC of water.

The tank is nearly 80 feet deep. It is said that this tank was constructed during the time of Bicchugatti Bharamanna Nayaka. This tank supplied drinking water to his soldiers. As many as 20 tanks are said to have been constructed by this chieftain, historians say.
Today, excess water from Santehonda is flowing into the drains and basements of the town’s buildings. During the time of the palegars, the lesser known tanks such as the Channakeshvarahonda, Kenchamallappanabhavi and Kamanabhavi would supply water to the rest of the town’s residents. These tanks played a vital role in increasing the water table of the region.

The Chitradurga district experiences an average rainfall of 486.60 mm. As much as 88 per cent of the district depends on rain. The district experiences drought at least once or twice in ten years. Meanwhile, the water bodies here continue to be full of water.

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