India's history is witness to how cities of our ancient civilisation were equipped with systems of water harvesting and drainage.
The problem these cities face is common: most of the traditional water bodies in the cities and towns have been ignored and today these water storage structures are no more than ruins or sites of archaeological value. These age-old structures were the strong support systems during the times when the modern infrastructural marvels didn't exist, but they were more than efficient in managing the water resources even at the time.
....But water is everyone's responsibility and as India is walking towards a water-stressed future, it becomes extremely important to save our traditional water bodies to secure our future.
But water is everyone's responsibility and as India is walking towards a water-stressed future, it becomes extremely important to save our traditional water bodies to secure our future.
The varied benefits provided by such water bodies in the urban ecosystem are of great significance.
Since they have always been subject of reverence for Indians, reviving these traditional water bodies by involving locals could be a strategy that every city needs to adopt.
Through a participatory approach, these water bodies could be revived and put to use for drinking or recreational purposes.
Additionally, these revived water bodies also help to recharge groundwater and most of the cities have over-exploited the reserves that can be recharged through local water bodies.
Even if used for recreational purposes, they will contribute to ecosystem services and when locals have access to these water bodies, they also get a sense of ownership and willingly maintain the water bodies.
The government has launched some promising initiatives like the Smart Cities, where a key area of focus is preserving and developing open spaces.
This initiative could be expanded to explicitly promote the revival of traditional water bodies to help better manage the water resources of the city besides reducing urban heat effects and promoting eco-balance, as intended in a smart city programme.