Many sustainable traditional methods of water conservation can be found in the pages of Indian history. They have not only saved millions of lives, but also stood the test of time.

India’s diverse regions are enriched with locally developed techniques for water harvesting and conservation, specifically designed to suit the distinct geographical and cultural requirements of each place and its inhabitants.

Here are five such water conservation methods practised in our country:

Ahar Pynes A traditional floodwater harvesting system found in South Bihar, ahar pynes serve as reservoirs that effectively control the flow of water, storing it for irrigation and various other uses.

Apatani The Apatani tribes of Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh, practise a system wherein terraced plots are carved into valleys, creating a framework for harvesting both ground and surface water for irrigation. These plots are separated by earthen dams reinforced with bamboo frames.

Baoli When constructed specifically for agricultural needs, these step wells or baolis were equipped with a sturdy drainage system that directed all the water directly towards the fields.

Cheo-ozihi In certain regions of Nagaland, a system called cheo-ozihi is employed, featuring a lengthy bamboo channel connected to multiple sub-channels. They facilitate the redirection of water from the river to the terraced areas where cultivation takes place.

Eri Implemented in various parts of Tamil Nadu, this technique functions as a flood-control system that effectively mitigates soil erosion and minimises the wastage of runoff water, particularly during heavy rainfall. Additionally, eris also play a crucial role in replenishing groundwater levels.