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Water is the precious nectar around which the human civilization has developed, be it the Egyptian Civilization around the river Nile or the Harappa settlements along the Indus River. And in the absence of a river, people settled around ponds or lakes. Water harvesting systems are traditional technologies that have met the needs of local populations for many centuries indicating the systems are clearly sustainable. It is simply defined as a method for inducing, collecting, storing and conserving local surface run-off for future productive use. It is one of the oldest and most commonly used sustainable water management systems in India. There are various types of systems to harvest rainwater in India ranging from very simple to the complex industrial systems. Examples of traditional rainwater systems in India include bamboo pipes and Apatani systems of eastern Himalayas, Ghul of western Himalayas, Zabo and Cheo-ozihi of north eastern India, Dongs, Garh and Dara of Brahmaputra valley, Kund, Khadin, Talabs, Beri, Johad, Baoli etc. of Thar desert and Gujrat, the Havelis of Jabalpur, bandh and bandhulia of Satna, virda of Gujarat, ahar-pynes of Bihar, Eri and Kulam of eastern coastal plains, Jackwells of islands, most of which showed immense structural simplicity and high efficiency. Almost all forts in India,built in different terrains and climatic conditions, had elaborate arrangements for drinking water. Most of the old temples in south India built centuries ago have large tanks in their premises. The viewpoint has always been to catch the rain drops where they fall, thus evolved an intricate and distributed system of various water collection and storage systems. This paper talks about the various water harvesting systems weaved in the social fabric of Rajasthan, their cultural significance and the delicate balance of such systems in the man-water relation.

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