6. Every Drop Counts Long Long Ago This is a picture of Ghadsisar. Sar means a lake. King Ghadsi of Jaisalmer got it made 650 years ago with the help of the people. All around the lake there are ghats with steps leading to the water, decorated verandahs, large halls, rooms and much more. People came here to celebrate festivals and for programmes of music and dance. Children came to study in the school on the ghat. The talab belonged to everyone and everyone took care to keep it clean. Rainwater collected in this lake spread over many miles. It was made in such a way that when the lake was full, the extra water flowed into another lake at a lower level. When that too filled up, the extra water flowed into the third lake and so on – filling nine such interconnected lakes. The collected rain water could be used throughout the year and there was no shortage of water. Today, Ghadsisar is no more in use. Many new buildings and colonies have come up in between those nine lakes. Now the water does not get collected in these lakes but just flows away and is wasted. 51 Think and find out • Look at the area around your school. Are there any fields, farms, pucca roads, drains, etc. Is the area sloping, rocky or flat? Think, what will happen here when it rains? Where will the rain water go – into the drains, pipes or pits? Is some water also getting soaked into the soil? Drop-by-drop Besides Jaisalmer, many places in Rajasthan, get very little rainfall. Here it rains for only ten to twelve days in the entire year, sometimes not even that much. The rivers here do not have water in them all round the year. And yet, most of the villages in these areas did not have a shortage of water. People knew that every drop of water was precious. Lakes and johads were made to collect these precious drops of water. Water was everyone’s need. One and all came together in this work – be it a businessman or a labourer. Some water from the lakes soaked into the ground and reached the wells and bavdis (stepwell) in that area. The soil of the area also became wet and fertile. Every house had a system to collect the rain water. Look at this picture. How do you think the rainwater that falls on the roof will reach the underground tank? Draw the path. Have you ever seen a stepwell? Look at the picture. Can you imagine by looking at the picture that the steps go down several storeys deep? Instead of drawing the water up from the well, the people could go down the steps and reach the water. That is why they are called stepwells. Long ago, people used to make long journeys with their caravans of animals and goods. People felt it was a good thing to give water to thirsty travellers. Thus, they built many beautiful stepwells. • Have you ever faced a shortage of water in your area? If yes, then what was the reason for it? Talk to your grandmother or any elderly person. Find out, when they were of your age: • From where did they get water for the house? Has there been a change now? • What kind of water arrangements were made for travellers – for example piau, mashak (leather bag) or any other? Now what do people do about water when they travel? Customs related to water Even today people get water from very old lakes, dharas, stepwells and naulas. Many customs and festivals are related to water. At some places, whenever lakes get filled up with rainwater, the people gather around the lake to celebrate. See the bride of Uttarakhand in this picture. After getting married she has come to the new village. She bows to the spring or the pond. In cities one can see an interesting form of this custom. The new bride worships the tap in her home. Can we even imagine life without water? 54 Looking Around Do you have some special pots for water at your place? Look, water is being filled in this beautiful copper pot. The shining yellow pot of brass is seen in the other picture. Many stone carvings are also made near the place of drinking water. Have you ever seen any beautiful building near the place of water? Where? • How old is it? Who got it built? • What kinds of buildings are around it? • Is the water clean? Is it cleaned regularly? • Who all use the water? • Is there any festival celebrated at this place? • Is there any water today, or is it dry? Every Drop Counts 55 was water in these wells. The wells could have dried up because: • Water is being pumped up from under the ground, with the help of electric motors. • The lakes in which rain water used to collect are no longer there. • The soil around trees and parks is now covered with cement. • Is there some other reason for this? Explain. The story today Let us see the different ways in which people manage water today. See page 57 and discuss. Do you get water in your house by any of these ways? Put a tick (✓) on that. If you get water by some other way, write in your notebook. Every Drop Counts 57 Discuss • Everyone has the right to live. Yet, is everybody getting enough water to live or even water to drink? Why is it that some people have to buy drinking water? Should it be like this? Water on this earth is for one and all. Some people draw out water from the ground by deep bore wells. How far is it correct? Have you ever seen this? Why do some people put a pump directly in the Jal Board pipe line? What problems would other people face due • Do you get a water bill at home? Find out from where it is sent? • Why do you think Dilli Sarkar (Government of Delhi) is written under Delhi Jal Board? • In whose name is the bill? How much money do they have to pay for each month? • Do you have to pay for water? How much? Is the rate of water different in different colonies? Ask your elders. 58 Looking Around It can be done There are some groups that work hard to bring water to the people of different areas. They ask the elders about the water arrangement in their times. They rebuild the old lakes and johads, and also build new ones. Let us see how the group called Tarun Bharat Sangh helped Darki Mai. This is Darki Mai. She lives in a village in the Alwar district of Rajasthan. The women of the village used to spend the entire day looking after their home and animals. Sometimes, it took them all night to pull water from the well for the animals. In the summer, when the wells dried up, they had to leave the village. Darki Mai heard about this group and asked for help. Together, the people from the group and the village decided to make a lake. The problem of food and water for animals is now less. People get more milk. They have started earning more. From the book – Char Gaon ki Katha • Have you ever read this kind of news in any newspaper? How did people solve their problem of water? Did they repair and Every Drop Counts 59

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