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  • For emotions, we should not move quickly to the desert.

  • So, first, a small housekeeping announcement:

  • please switch off your

  • proper English check programs

  • installed in your brain.

  • (Applause)

  • So, welcome to the Golden Desert, Indian desert.

  • It receives the least rainfall in the country,

  • lowest rainfall.

  • If you are well-versed with inches, nine inches,

  • centimeters, 16 [centimeters].

  • The groundwater is 300 feet deep, 100 meters.

  • And in most parts it is saline, not fit for drinking.

  • So, you can't install hand pumps or dig wells,

  • though there is no electricity in most of the villages.

  • But suppose you use the green technology, solar pumps --

  • they are of no use in this area.

  • So, welcome to the Golden Desert.

  • Clouds seldom visit this area.

  • But we find 40 different names of clouds in this dialect used here.

  • There are a number of techniques to harvest rain.

  • This is a new work, it's a new program.

  • But for the desert society

  • this is no program; this is their life.

  • And they harvest rain in many ways.

  • So, this is the first device they use

  • in harvesting rain.

  • It's called kunds; somewhere it is called [unclear].

  • And you can notice they have created

  • a kind of false catchment.

  • The desert is there, sand dunes, some small field.

  • And this is all big raised platform.

  • You can notice the small holes

  • the water will fall on this catchment,

  • and there is a slope.

  • Sometimes our engineers and architects

  • do not care about slopes in bathrooms,

  • but here they will care properly.

  • And the water will go where it should go.

  • And then it is 40 feet deep.

  • The waterproofing is done perfectly,

  • better than our city contractors,

  • because not a single drop should go waste in this.

  • They collect 100 thousand liters in one season.

  • And this is pure drinking water.

  • Below the surface there is hard saline water.

  • But now you can have this for year round.

  • It's two houses.

  • We often use a term called bylaws.

  • Because we are used to get written things.

  • But here it is unwritten by law.

  • And people made their house,

  • and the water storage tanks.

  • These raised up platforms just like this stage.

  • In fact they go 15 feet deep,

  • and collect rain water from roof,

  • there is a small pipe, and from their courtyard.

  • It can also harvest something like 25,000 in a good monsoon.

  • Another big one,

  • this is of course out of the hardcore desert area.

  • This is near Jaipur. This is called the Jaigarh Fort.

  • And it can collect six million gallons of rainwater in one season.

  • The age is 400 years.

  • So, since 400 years it has been giving you

  • almost six million gallons of water per season.

  • You can calculate the price of that water.

  • It draws water from 15 kilometers of canals.

  • You can see a modern road, hardly 50 years old.

  • It can break sometimes.

  • But this 400 year old canal, which draws water,

  • it is maintained for so many generations.

  • Of course if you want to go inside, the two doors are locked.

  • But they can be opened for TED people.

  • (Laughter)

  • And we request them.

  • You can see person coming up with

  • two canisters of water.

  • And the water level -- these are not empty canisters --

  • water level is right up to this.

  • It can envy many municipalities,

  • the color, the taste, the purity of this water.

  • And this is what they call Zero B type of water,

  • because it comes from the clouds,

  • pure distilled water.

  • We stop for a quick commercial break,

  • and then we come back to the traditional systems.

  • The government thought that this is a very

  • backward area and we should bring

  • a multi-million dollar project

  • to bring water from the Himalayas.

  • That's why I said that this is a commercial break.

  • (Laughter)

  • But we will come back, once again,

  • to the traditional thing.

  • So, water from 300, 400 kilometers away,

  • soon it become like this.

  • In many portions, water hyacinth

  • covered these big canals like anything.

  • Of course there are some areas where water is reaching,

  • I'm not saying that it is not reaching at all.

  • But the tail end, the Jaisalmer area,

  • you will notice in Bikaner things like this:

  • where the water hyacinth couldn't grow,

  • the sand is flowing in these canals.

  • The bonus is that you can find wildlife around it.

  • (Laughter)

  • We had full-page advertisements,

  • some 30 years, 25 years ago when this canal came.

  • They said that throw away your traditional systems,

  • these new cement tanks will supply you piped water.

  • It's a dream. And it became a dream also.

  • Because soon the water was not able to reach these areas.

  • And people started renovating their own structures.

  • These are all traditional water structures,

  • which we won't be able to explain in such a short time.

  • But you can see that no woman is standing on those.

  • (Laughter)

  • And they are plaiting hair.

  • (Applause)

  • Jaisalmer. This is heart of desert.

  • This town was established 800 years ago.

  • I'm not sure by that time

  • Bombay was there, or Delhi was there,

  • or Chennai was there, or Bangalore was there.

  • So, this was the terminal point for silk route.

  • Well connected, 800 years ago, through Europe.

  • None of us were able to go to Europe,

  • but Jaisalmer was well connected to it.

  • And this is the 16 centimeter area.

  • Such a limited rainfall,

  • and highest colorful life flourished in these areas.

  • You won't find water in this slide.

  • But it is invisible.

  • Somewhere a stream or a rivulet

  • is running through here.

  • Or, if you want to paint, you can paint it blue throughout

  • because every roof which you see in this picture

  • collects rainwater drops

  • and deposit in the rooms.

  • But apart from this system,

  • they designed 52 beautiful water bodies around this town.

  • And what we call private public partnership

  • you can add estate also.

  • So, estate, public and private entrepreneurs

  • work together to build this beautiful water body.

  • And it's a kind of water body for all seasons.

  • You will admire it. Just behold the beauty throughout the year.

  • Whether water level goes up or down,

  • the beauty is there throughout.

  • Another water body, dried up, of course,

  • during the summer period,

  • but you can see how the traditional society

  • combines engineering with aesthetics, with the heart.

  • These statues, marvelous statues,

  • gives you an idea of water table.

  • When this rain comes and the water starts filling this tank,

  • it will submerge these beautiful statues

  • in what we call in English today "mass communication."

  • This was for mass communication.

  • Everybody in the town will know that this elephant has drowned,

  • so water will be there for seven months or nine months,

  • or 12 months.

  • And then they will come and worship this pond,

  • pay respect, their gratitude.

  • Another small water body, called the [unclear].

  • It is difficult to translate in English,

  • especially in my English.

  • But the nearest would be "glory," a reputation.

  • The reputation in desert of this small water body is

  • that it never dries up.

  • In severe drought periods

  • nobody has seen this water body

  • getting dried up.

  • And perhaps they knew the future also.

  • It was designed some 150 years ago.

  • But perhaps they knew that on sixth, November, 2009,

  • there will be a TED green and blue session,

  • so they painted it like this.

  • (Laughter)

  • (Applause)

  • Dry water body. Children are standing on

  • a very difficult device to explain.

  • This is called kund. We have, in English, surface water and ground water.

  • But this is not ground water.

  • You can draw ground water from any well.

  • But this is no ordinary well.

  • It squeeze the moisture

  • hidden in the sand.

  • And they have dubbed this water as the third one called [unclear].

  • And there is a gypsum belt running below it.

  • And it was deposited by the great mother Earth,

  • some three million years ago.

  • And where we have this gypsum strip

  • they can harvest this water.

  • This is the same dry water body.

  • Now, you don't find any kund;

  • they are all submerged.

  • But when the water goes down they will be able

  • to draw water from those structures throughout the year.

  • This year they have received only six centimeters.

  • Six centimeter of rainfall,

  • and they can telephone you

  • that if you find any water problem in your city,

  • Delhi, Bombay, Bangalore, Mysore,

  • please come to our area of six centimeters, we can give you water.

  • (Laughter)

  • How they maintain them?

  • There are three things: concept, planning,

  • making the actual thing, and also maintaining them.

  • It is a structure for maintain,

  • for centuries, by generations, without any department,

  • without any funding,

  • So the secret is "[unclear]," respect.

  • Your own thing, not personal property,

  • my property, every time.

  • So, these stone pillars

  • will remind you that you are entering into a water body area.

  • Don't spit, don't do anything wrong,

  • so that the clean water can be collected.

  • Another pillar, stone pillar on your right side.

  • If you climb these three, six steps

  • you will find something very nice.

  • This was done in 11th century.

  • And you have to go further down.

  • They say that a picture is worth a thousand words,

  • so we can say a thousand words right now,

  • an another thousand words.

  • If the water table goes down,

  • you will find new stairs.

  • If it comes up, some of them will be submerged.

  • So, throughout the year

  • this beautiful system will give you some pleasure.

  • Three sides, such steps, on the fourth side

  • there is a four-story building

  • where you can organize such TED conferences anytime.

  • (Applause)

  • Excuse me, who built these structures?

  • They are in front of you.

  • The best civil engineers we had, the best planners,

  • the best architects.

  • We can say that because of them,

  • because of their forefathers,

  • India could get the first engineering college

  • in 1847.

  • There were no English medium schools at that time,

  • even no Hindi schools, [unclear] schools.

  • But such people, compelled to the East India Company,

  • which came here for business, a very dirty kind of business ...

  • (Laughter)

  • but not to create the engineering colleges.

  • But because of them, first engineering college was created

  • in a small village, not in the town.

  • The last point, we all know in our primary schools that

  • that camel is a ship of desert.

  • So, you can find through your Jeep,

  • a camel, and a cart.

  • This tire comes from the airplane.

  • So, look at the beauty from the desert society

  • who can harvest rainwater,