Stepwells - Connecting people to water

Out of all our natural resources, groundwater is both the most precious and exploited. Of the total fresh water found on Earth, over 30% is groundwater, and 50% of all drinking water needs are met with groundwater.

Humans have been interacting with this resource for centuries and have innovated some ingenious, contextual solutions to meet their needs, including qanats and khattara found in places like Iran and Morocco, and stepwells found in India.

Known locally as ‘baolis’, stepwells were constructed for storing rainwater, stormwater, and recharging groundwater. The distinctive stepwells of Delhi are an amazing example of how our freshwater systems interact, with both the extraction and recharge of water accounted for in their construction. The structures also allowed people to see, hear, touch, and understand the presence of groundwater in a deeper way.

In this video, Ashwini More talks us through the structure of a stepwell, their cultural significance and importance, and how such traditional infrastructures can be a sustainable solution.

Music by Bensound

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