Anil Paliwal an IPS officer of 1994 batch belongs to a village near Phalodi in Jodhpur district of Rajasthan. Currently, he is working as ADG(Personnel) with Rajasthan Police. He has keen interest in traditional Rain water harvesting systems particularly of Thar desert. Here are the excerpts from our conversation with him.
Q: What made you take interest in this field of rain water harvesting?
A: It came very naturally to me. As a child I studied in Jodhpur but in May-June in hot summers of Phalodi each year I lived in my village for summer vacations. While growing up, I have seen severe scarcity of water and importance of traditional water resources.
Q:What are your memories of that period?
A: I remember bath water being collected and used for drinking for cattle,cleaning “Tanka” before rains ,happiness when village Talai(pond) is full.,rhymes of children after a good rain ,the struggle to get water out of very deep wells using camels/oxen etc.
Q:What are major traditional rain water harvesting techniques/sources you have come across ?
A: There is a series of these. Tanka,Talai,Step well (Baori),Khadin, etcEach has its own importance and making them depends on depends on terrain,needs,resources available etc.In the Thar desert struggle was to collect and save every drop of Rains.
Q: What is your initiative and experience in this field?
A: In my village “Hopardi” under guidance of parents we made a rain water harvesting structure in our field.It is very useful ,by using drip irrigation optimum use of water being done,we have planted various types of trees.
Q:While working in BSF(Border Security Force) you also took initiatives in this field,what were they ?
A: BSF as organization takes various good initiatives for society,environment etc.In the field of rain water harvesting also many initiatives were taken.Various type of rain water harvesting structures were made.Old structures were maintained and cleaned. Publications and literature is published for knowledge and awareness.
Q: You worked as SP Jaisalmer also, what you observed?
A: Jaisalmer district has a very long tradition of rain water harvesting.The Gadhisar Talab once took care of water needs of an entire city Jaisalmer.It made human survival possible here in old days when there was no canal water or deep boring machines. Many centuries ago people from Pali area migrated and settled here,they took greatinitiative in Khadin system of agriculture and other rainwater harvesting techniques.They also developed water resources.The step well of village Kuldhara in Jaisalmer an example of it,
Q: Any other suggestion for our readers ?
A:There is a lot of resource material on this subject.I found a book “Rajasthan ki Rajat Bundain” quite simple and informative. It also finds a mention in NCERT books.