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Step-wells, subterranean aqua-structures, (Bawari or Vav in local dialect) were an integral part of communities until the end of 19th century India. Relegated in favour of canal and piped water-supply, these exquisite step-wells were gradually abandoned and forgotten.

However, after a hiatus of over a century, as ecological and sustainability issues took centre-stage amidst growing concern over deepening water-crisis, it became vital that ancient wisdom of harnessing water be re-visited.

Birkha Bawari, a 21st-century step-well to conserve over 17.5 million litres of rain-water was conceived and built in Umaid Heritage Housing Township in Jodhpur. A unique structural system that owes no parallel was built out of site-quarried overburden of stone, without the aid of RCC, to harvest a renewable source without expending non-renewable energies.

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