Architectural Heritage Safeguarding
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WATER
WATER
WATER
WATER
WATER
WATER

Conservation and Improvement of Traditional Drainage System

Due to their settlement in a hot and semi arid region the Chettiars have taken their climate into consideration in the design of their homes and the materials used. The sloped roofs typical of Chettinad architecture are designed to harvest water in the courtyards and divert to the different ponds through a water drainage network.

This network which is mainly comprised of drainage alongside the compound walls of the palatial homes, is today not maintained properly to enable the harvest of the water and as consequence to feed the village ponds. The local inhabitants today indeed reject directly their waste water in the drainage which is polluting the different water bodies. As they are still dedicated for specific and traditional uses, such as daily bath, drinking water or fishing the polluted water brings diseases to the villagers. The waste water now collected in the traditional drainages makes difficult their maintenance.

The tanks very often need restoration for the proper surface water storage. It is important to take into consideration all the technical aspects and the role of the oorani, such as the recharge of the water table. Moreover, their heritage values, walls made of laterite stones, steps into the pond, inlet and outlet have to be taken into consideration for any improvement work.  The step wells require specific attention and their structure has to be maintained and restored.

In 2008 the District Collector Sivagangai has requested ArcHe-S to provide recommendation reports on improvements of the water bodies of the village of Kanadukathan as well as on the restoration of the Alagappa Oorani in order to be submitted to the Ministry of Tourism GoTN for granting.

In the framework of the 2010 Decentralized Cooperation programme supported by French Regional Council, Région Centre, ArcHe-S has taken the opportunity of a presentation of the current survey study of Kanadukathan to the President town Panchayat. He has shown a great interest for the state of conservation of the traditional drainage system of the village and has requested ArcHe-S’ support for preparing a proposal for the reuse and restoration of the traditional drainage system to be presented to the District level.
The Chairman Panchayat is sharing his vision with ArcHe-S by considering this traditional management system as a great engineering inherited from past generations to be considered as heritage and to be preserved and reused.