Renovating traditional pond system for flood protection and water conservation through Feeder Water Channel

The Bharari Gram Panchayat of village Bharari in Belha block of Bilaspur district, Chhattisgarh included the construction of a Nali (feeder water channel) in the labour budget of 2016-17. Bharari has three interconnected ponds that are used for domestic purposes and to provide drinking water to cattle.


During the Integrated Participatory Planning Exercise (IPPE), the villagers raised concerns about the drying of ponds during summer months from April to June and the need to connect the community ponds with Nali (feeder water channel) so that runoff could be channelized into the community pond. The comprehensive plan to renovate the traditional pond system includes de-siltation of ponds, pitching of bunds, creating bathing steps and Nali Nirman (feeder water channel) as the last step.


73Nali Nirman is a convergent work of three schemes with total outlay of Rs. 5.91 lakhs – the Gram Panchayat contributed 20% of the cost from the 14th Finance Commission funds and Samagra Vikas, a State Panchayat Department scheme contributed 40% of the cost. The work was selected through participatory planning and approved by the Gram Sabha following a technical assessment. Farmers also gave their consent for Nali Nirman without any compensation.

The MGNREGA Technical Assistant assessed the feasibility of the channel on the following criteria:

  1. Gradient of Nali to channelize the runoff water;
  2. Assessment of catchment area;
  3. General observations on suitability for construction of Nali in terms of amount of runoff from the catchment.

Based on the consultation and field observations, the ICRG team shared a technical proposal to enhance the durability of the asset from the climatic stresses of flash floods and heavy rainfall.

The >1ha inter-connected community pond is located in the mid-land area and can be used for providing life-saving irrigation to the paddy crop as well as irrigation for rabi crops. A Nali was proposed to channelize the runoff from the catchment area to this interconnected community pond. The current design of the Nali has a dimension of 100mX0.6mX0.6m and three such Nalis have been proposed to connect these three inter-connected community ponds. Most of the runoff from the catchment was earlier getting lost while the ponds were running dry in the summer.

Technical suggestions by ICRG team included:

  1. Bed slope to be maintained at least 0. 5 % at every 100 m;
  2. Compacting the nali sides with grasses and shrubs on compacted soil to stabilise the nali bunds;
  3. A silt trap chamber of size 4m x 2m x 1.2m to be constructed at the point where the nali connects with the inlet of the pond to reduce siltation of ponds;
  4. Catchment treatment through soil conservation work and plantation to be done on priority.

By constructing Nalis, runoff can be channelized to three community ponds that will increase the storage volume. The increased volume of storage water can be utilised in case of weather aberrations as well as under normal weather conditions. With increased water availabilty the community pond will provide irrigation and additional livelihood opportunities


About 24% of the total cost of Nali construction is labour based and will create 852-person days of employment, of which 54% will go to women and 59% to scheduled castes. The majority of community members who will be directly benefitted belong to scheduled caste category.

By connecting the community ponds with Nali, the runoff will be channelized to increase the storage capacity of the pond. This will contribute to water availability throughout the year and help in irrigating paddy crops (major crop of Bilaspur cultivated during Kharif season) over 20 ha in case of intermittent spells of drought. Further, under normal weather conditions, the community pond has the potential to irrigate 8 ha during rabi season.

As both the Nali and the community pond are community assets, direct benefits will reach to the entire village in terms of water availability for domestic purposes during the summer months. In case direct irrigation is allowed, 25 households will use the stored water of inter-connected community ponds to provide life-saving irrigation to Kharif crops and under normal weather condition cultivate rabi crops


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