The city of Bidar gets an average of 940.7mm of rainfall annually during the months of June to September (Bidar District Official Website). Experiencing insufficient water supply from open wells, the municipality turned to the two non-perennial rivers Manjara and Karanja as their main water source.

Image: Water sources in Bidar

Karez/Qanat is an ancient method of collection, transportation, storage and engineered distribution system of water. The karez technology basically taps into the ground water sources/ natural springs and transports it through an underground tunnel to the settlement, ending in surface canal and/or pools in the village for various uses like drinking, washing, watering livestock, and allso further used for irrigating fields and gardens. It is built according to Iranian method called “Qanat”. It is a naturally recharging underground water supply system which works under gravity and slope of the land from which water could be used for diverse uses. It is believed that Karez might have been constructed by Persian engineers in India because most of the Qanats were developed during the reign of Muslim dynasties with the ruling class descending from Persia.

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Image 1: Air vent locations of Naubad Karez system (Credits: IHCN Report, 2013)

Karez are found in 38 countries worldwide, mostly in Middle Eastern regions. In India, it is very rare. The system has had a great influence in the socio economic organizations around it due to multiple and varied uses of the system. History of Bidar validates the compelling need for water through the implementation of the Karez system by the governors of the Bahamini dynasty. There are more than one Karez system in Bidar. They were constructed during 15th and 16th centuries by Bahamani rulers. The Karez is called Surang Bhavi in Kannada. Karez in Bidar, was not in a functional state since a long time due to several reasons such as siltation, pollution of different kinds etc. Gulam Yazdani rediscovered the Karez in 1920s.

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Image 2: Cross sectional and aerial view of Naubad Karez system (Credits: IHCN Report, 2013)

One of the Karez exist in a place called Naubad, which is in west of Bidar, towards Udgir. The restoration of this Karez system was started in 2015. Senior expert from ICQHS from Iran Mr.Mejeed Labbaf Khaneiki was invited to guide the restoration framework. Along with ICQHS, team YUVAA, CMC and Kerala based Geologist and professor Govindankutty were keystones to Karez restoration project.

All karez are excavated into porous, water-bearing materials like alluvium, laterite, conglomerate, limestone and sandstone. Karez in Bidar are made by cutting into Laterite plateau. They are naturally strong and make very good aquifer making many natural springs along edges where the basaltic bed is situated. The source well of the system is called mother well.

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Image 3: Mother well fitted with electric pump for irrigation purposes (Credits: IHCN Report, 2013)

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