Water harvesting

Jaigarh Fort – Water tank

For more than 800 years, in the Golden Desert of India, rain water is harvested using a system of roof-top catchment surfaces that drain into an enclosed water storage. Millions of gallons of water are captured every year even though there is very few inches of water.

In the video, the presenter Anupam Mishra describes the amazing feats of engineering build centuries ago. In addition, he talks about some of the water ponds and the elaborate stairs and structures that celebrate the presence and quantity of water.

Design Challenge : Water is the center of life

Each question corresponds to a step in the Engineering Design Process.

  • What? (Ask questions, understand the need, identify the problem) – There are only nine inches of rainfall per year but water must be available year round for people to live in the region. Ground water is 300 feet below ground and mostly saline.
  • So What? (Imagine, brainstorm, explore) – New expensive concrete waterways to bring in water from the Himalayas to the Golden Desert have not been able to provided the water necessary to the towns and cities in the region.
  • Now what? (Plan, design) – In addition to the water harvesting system, people have built elaborate structures to remind people that water is the center of life. It can be enjoyed for its beauty as well. They have even created beautiful structures, like the stairs described in the video to show exactly how much water is in storage.
  • Do It (Create, try it out) – The process of water harvesting requires catchment and storage. Displays for enjoyment have also been built.
  • If this then what? (Improve, make it better) – Not all systems for water harvesting are equally successful. Some have worked for centuries. Modern ones, not very well at all.

Engineering vocabulary, concepts
kund, harvest rain, catchment, slope, waterproofing, saline water, storage tanks, canal, zero-b water

Show and Tell
Now it is your turn. Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • Demonstrate the system described in the video. Describe the difficulties and special features in making the system work.
  • Design a structure that can also show the water level in the storage area.

Learn more…

  • kund – water harvesting
  • Jiagarh Fort – more than 400 years old, harvests 6+ million gallons of rainwater each season