There are a number of ancient methods of rain water harvesting which are now not in use. But many of these dying methods are now being renovated and rebuilt to conserve water. Some of the methods also help to improve the ecology. Degraded pastures have been dyked to harvest rain by the people of Laporiya in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The pastures were barren and degraded in 1970s. In 1990 a civil society group of Laporiya has undertaken to revive its ecology.
The method of Chaukas has been initiated in Jaipur. The method consists of rectangular plots in a dyked pasture to store rainwater. The enclosures are 66 meters long and 132 meters wide and are arranged in a zigzag pattern and lie along small gradient. Dykes are structures 1.5 m high and are built along the three sides that lie towards the part of the land that has a lower gradient. To withstand rain, trees are planted on the dykes to give them additional support. Water gets collected in the dyked lower half of the Chauka when it rains. Once the amount of water stored in an enclosure overflows, it enters the neighboring chauka and thus gradually seeps over the entire pasture. Hence the fields are never inundated with water and the grasses can grow. The water flows into a monsoon drain after reaching the last chauka. This system provides adequate water for villagers and promotes the recharge of ground water.
Use of such methods is necessary to save maximum water. The builders in Cochin
are trying out innovative methods to save and store water to meet the needs of increasing urbanization.