Water Harvesting Dams: Lessons from Bharal, Bhoj Mataur

A water harvesting dam was built on the ‘Upali Khala’, a seasonal choe emerging from the Mandana hills near Bharal, a hamlet of Bhoj Mataur falling on the Jalah road. Pipes were laid out to provide water for the fields lying downstream of the dam.

As per the locals, the dam got silted in the second year itself. The silt submerged the mouths of the pipes and rendered the irrigation network of galvanized pipes useless. The height of the dam wall was then raised to restore the storage capacity. The locals complained that the expenditure was wasteful as the locals were unable to draw any benefit from the reservoir. The dam also got repeatedly breached during the rains and was repaired a number of times. A breach that occured in the rains in 2011 awaits repairs and a narrow stream of clear, clean water falls through it to the pool below and runs down in a trickle through the choe. A woman grazing her cattle in the choe area complained that the dam had blocked the natural pathway along the choe to the upper slopes that was used by the women for collecting grass and fuel-wood. There is no alternate passage as the dam is flanked by steep slopes with thorny scrub.

Bharal Dam
The Breach in the Dam Wall
Pool under Bharal Dam
Choe at Bharal
The Dead End- Dam wall blocks grazing passage along choe
Bharal Dam