© 2023 Dr Margaret Sheppard

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Many of the Tanks (reservoirs) that provide the water for irrigating the paddy fields are hundreds of years old  having been constructed in pre-colonial times. Enormous dams were constructed across rivers and streams by labourers  who also dug out the extensive systems of irrigation canals, channels and ditches to bring the water over huge distances to irrigate the paddy fields. Nowadays diesel or electric pumps are in common usage.

Tanks (Reservoirs)

One of the many large tanks constructed for irrigation during pre-colonial times

Often a road  is constructed along the dam wall of the tank These roads obviously provide useful crossings and access

Irrigating the paddy fields

When the rice farmers in an area are ready, the water is channeled from the tanks via the irrigation ditches into the paddy fields. Local committees control the water channeling, liaising with the district committees that control the water supplies and pumping from the tanks. The local committee notify the farmers when the water will be channeled to their area and open the sluices.

As the rice grows it needs weeding, which can be by hand or with a weeder pulled by oxen, buffalo or by a small tractor

Walking along a path beside an irrigation ditch through a paddy field area

Ancient tank with modern system for controlling the flow.