Tender fields dating
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C., while the “Great Bath” was probably a water storage tank.
Irrigation systems on the other hand spread over large open areas and had a complicated network of pipes and channels for collecting and distributing water. The melting snows and glaciers are the only source of water.
The structures became more sophisticated and much bigger when the streams turned to rivers. In the arid and semi-arid regions, where the streams are more seasonal, the diversion channels first led the water to a storage structure like a tank for later use.
Storage systems to collect just runoff from the watershed were also built. In the flood plains, several unique systems to control and harness the floodwaters were devised. In regions with good groundwater aquifers, dugwells with innovative methods to lift the water were in use.
The technology and engineering of the traditional water harvesting systems differed, depending on whether they were to provide drinking water or to be used for irrigation.
Those meant for drinking water were generally smaller, sometimes covered and with steps leading down to the water.
Several wells were also dug in the bottom of the tank to ensure adequate water supply in the dry months.a.
In the hills and mountainous regions where there are plenty of streams, simple engineering structures were used to divert the water into channels that fed the fields.Excavations have unearthed a fully brick lined tank that is 800 feet long, 60 feet wide and 12 feet deep.The natural slope of the land was taken advantage of to bring water from the river Ganga to the tank by a nullah.The history of India tells us that floods, droughts or both were a perennial occurrence.If the overflow of rivers and streams in spate could be redirected and stored, the water could be used during drought.Dholavira, laid out on a slope between two storm water channels, is an example of sophisticated engineering.