A johad (Hindi: जोहड) is a rainwater storage tank principally used in the state of Harayana and Rajasthan, India, that collects and stores water throughout the year, to be used for the purpose of drinking by humans and cattle. In many parts of the state, the annual rainfall is very low (between 450 and 600 mm) and the water can be unpleasant to drink. Rainfall during July and August is stored in johads and used throughout the year. Johads are called as "khadins" in Jaisalmer. They are popularly known as tankis in most parts of the country. Johads were used extensively by the NGO, 'Tarun Bharat Sangh' by Rajendra Singh which led to revival of Alwar district of Rajasthan. Today there are over 4,500 working johads in Alwar and surrounding districts.


These are simple mud and rubble barriers built across the contour of a slope to arrest rainwater. These earthen check dams are meant to catch and conserve rainwater, leading to improved percolation and groundwater recharge. They are built across a slope with a high embankment on the three sides while the fourth side is left open for the rainwater to enter. They are very common in most villages of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and the Thar desert of Rajasthan.

Johad of Haryana

In 2007, Irrigation Department of Haryana spent INR435.26 crore (INR4.3 billion or US$7 million) to renovate and restore water bodies in the state to for conservation of water, recharging of ground water, preservation of environment and enhancement of tourism.[1] A study by the Panjab University found 60 fish species of 19 families, 11 commercial and 6 exotic species, in the water bodies of Haryana.[2] Water bodies remain under risk from encroachment, shrinking of catchment area and pollution.[3] In 2010, India's first ever diatom data basing was done in ten different water bodies at ten different stations in Haryana. [4] A 2015 study of 24 water bodies of Haryana, found 39 morphologically different types of diatoms.[5] In 2016, Government of Haryana announced a plan to map the district-wise map of water flow and to create a database of all water bodies within the state.[6] These water bodies have contributed to the economic development through fisheries in the landlocked state of Haryana, Haryana ranks second in India in terms of the average annual fish production per unit area in the Country with 7000 kg per hectare average annual fish production.[7] Fish production has increased from 600 tonne in 1966-67 at the time of formation of Haryana to 121000 tonne of fish during the year 2015-16, providing livelihoood to over 30000 families in fisheries sector.[8]

Johad revolution of Rajasthan

View of a johad in Thathawata village in Rajasthan

There was a severe drought in Alwar district in Rajasthan during 1985-86. In 1985, volunteers from the Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS), a voluntary organization led by Rajendra Singh, came to Alwar. The Alwar District had once thrived, but logging, mining, and other industrial activities resulted in land degradation that intensified flooding and droughts. The traditional water management system using Johads was abandoned. TBS revived the tradition of building Johads, an example of traditional technology that provided water for use and recharging ground water. Now Johads are popularly known as Tankas in most parts of the country.[9][10]

The water revolution spread by Johads in the Alwar district has spread far and wide. Now there are around 5,000 johads all over Rajasthan and this has greatly helped in reducing water shortage and improving water quality.

See also


  1. Haryana approves 435.26 crore for renovation of water bodies, The tribune, 2007
  2. 60 fish species in Haryana water bodies, The Tribune, 2006
  3. Encroachment of Haryana water bodies, The Tribune, 2010
  4. Diatoms Atlas of Fresh Waters Bodies from Haryana (India), LAP Lambert Academic Publishing, 2012
  5. MORPHOLOGICAL STUDY OF DIATOMS IN 24 DIFFERENT WATER BODIES OF HARYANA, INDIA, Journal of Forensic and Texicology, Saini and Kushwaha, 2016, vol 16, number 1
  6. Haryana plans district-wise maps of water flow, Business Standard newspaper, Jan 2016
  7. [ Haryana fisheries annual production average, July 2016]
  8. Haryana fisheries, July 2016
  9. "50 people who could save the planet". The Guardian. January 5, 2008.
  10. "Unquiet flows the water in this village". The Hindu. Apr 15, 2005.
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