The Chettinad region is home to some of the most interesting traditional
water management systems and drainage patterns. Water management was
devised by Chettiars and agricultural communities to control the flow of
water which was entirely dependent on rain water resources.
Oorani is a Tamil word for the surface water storage tank located in the
villages and towns. In Chettinad, each village comprises a minimum of
three water bodies in accordance with the storage needs of the villagers
for drinking and bathing. The roofs typical of Chettinad architecture
are designed to harvest water in the courtyards and then divert to
the various different ponds through a water drainage network.
Erys are the traditional surface water storage reservoirs found in Tamil
Nadu. Organized into a huge network over the ages, they have played a
very important role for the ecosystem and for irrigation in areas with
low-rainfall, such as Chettinad. Due to this climatic constraint, since
settling in the region, the Chettiars have been particularly involved in
sustainable water management for agriculture and therefore in shaping