Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol.13, Issue 04, 2007; Page No.(787-794)


Chaman Lal and L.R. Verma


Over a millennium, indigenous people of Himachal Pradesh have evolved a large nu. lber of practices locally called Indigenous Technical Knowledge (iTK) relating to soil and water management systems suitable for different agro-climatic conditions of the state. The ITK regarding soil and water management systems were collected and compiled through' PRA and household interviews in the remote and rural area of Himachal Pradesh. In several parts of the Himachal Himalaya, villages are located at the foot hills or in the valleys. Villagers often harvest rainwater by building small water storage ponds commonly called chal. In hills, there is traditional practice to plough the fields early in the morning before dew or fog is evaporated for the conservation of water. Spring water is collected in small reservoirs scattered at intervals on the high uplands and then drawing water from these ponds when required. Heavy snow is melted with the help of ash. Ash is spread over the snow and contains certain substances which help to convert snow into waterAsh is spread/broadcasted over field for weed control, surface soil crust breaking, and making soil more porous by conserving the rainwater. In Kinnaur district, soil mulching is done with Pinus, Chilgoza needles and grasses from the kandas/hill top. Mulching conserves soil moisture in the field and also helps in maintaining the soil temperature. In the lower areas of Himachal Pradesh during the rainy season, roof water is collected in dugout structures that are known as Diggi in Kangra and Khatis in Hamirpur and Bilaspur district. Khatis provides stored water, which is the main source of water for various purposes during summer season. Farmers have been managing soil and water by making arrangements for the safe disposal of excess water.They make diversion channels at the toe of the rivers.

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