Revive havelis, India’s ancient rain harvesting farms, to save big on money and resources
Have you ever heard of a dual-purpose farm that is a reservoir in the monsoon and a fertile farm in the next season? If you did, it might have been about the ancient Indian haveli system – a 200-300-year-old rainwater harvesting system that once greened the Bundelkhand region, one of the most drought-prone areas in India. Compared to check dams, havelis come with numerous benefits. Renovating a haveli is 10 times cheaper, the water storage capacity is on an average 20 times more and the productivity of crops grown on the silt-rich soil of the drained reservoir during the postrainy (rabi) season is higher. These observations are from a study on the haveli in one of our Corporate Social Responsibility watershed projects in Parasai village, Jhansi.
The haveli utilized 8 ha under submergence out of 400 ha (i.e. 2%) over which the village is spread. Thousands of such havelis are lying defunct in the region and their renovation can lead to better water conservation and improved crop productivity in a cost-effective way.ures.