Villagers Using Ancient Water Technique To Overcome Drought
In a quest to save themselves from drought, villagers from Tamil Nadu have planned to follow traditional practices of water harvesting. There are many drought-hit areas in Tamil Nadu like Ramanathapuram. In such areas, villagers have started old water harvesting practices in a structure called Oorani. With the help of Dhan Foundation, the villagers have set up a Tank Users Association to restore these ponds.
What is an Oorani and what are its uses?
Oorani is a dug out pond that traps rainwater run-off and stores it for future use. This was practised almost 2000 years back, and since then they have been left abandoned. It is found in areas where water is either inadequate or unfit for use. The stored water is mainly used for drinking and for livestock. They play a huge role in conserving water and are very beneficial for farmers. It is a source of irrigation for farmers who cannot afford other sources of water for irrigation.
How does it work?
Once the oorani is set up, it gets ready to store rain water. After monsoon, the tanks will be filled with water which will remove a lot of burden from farmers since they can rely on the water in oorani for irrigation.
Benefits of Oorani
Oorani can be used to store rainwater which will help farmers to irrigate their lands without depending on other expensive sources of water supply. The water can also be used for drinking and can be consumed by livestock. It not only helps the local people but also the neighbouring villagers who come to the village to draw water. The lives of women and children have been improved since they don’t have to walk miles to fetch water.
How is the water cleaned?
The water collected in the Oorani is dirty, so in order to clean it, the earthen pots are scrubbed with seeds called ‘thethankottai’ for good 20 minutes. Thethankottai is a natural coagulant and removes mud and other turbid elements. After scrubbing the earthen pot for almost 20 minutes, the water gets fit for drinking. After being forced to buy water despite poor economic conditions, the village in Ramanathapuram has taken steps to free itself from the shackles of water scarcity and has set an example that ancient water harvesting process are still important today and if practiced will be more successful than other methods.
Practices like Katta, Sand Bores, Johads, Bawdi or Jhalara are few ancient methods that will be more fruitful in managing water in judicious ways.