Khazans: Traditional Water Management System of Goa

in Module
Published on: 18 October 2019

George Jerry Jacob

George Jerry Jacob is an architect, whose work focuses on urban ecologies. His interests lie in the relationship between city centres and their peripheries, the interdependency of rural communities on ecological systems and everyday cultural practices. He teaches at the KRVIA, Mumbai.

The Zuari is a tidal river originating in the Dighi ghat of the Sahyadris in Karnataka. The Mandovi and Zuari Rivers are joined by the Cumbarjua canal near their estuaries give rise to the largest estuarine complex of Goa which is the lifeline of its economy. The rivers and the surrounding ecosystems of wetlands, tidal marshes and cultivated paddy fields are interconnected by canals, inland lakes, bays, lagoons and creeks governed by regular tides. Khazans are community-managed agro-aqua integrated ecosystems. These are mangrove areas, reclaimed from the sea using a system of dykes, canals and sluice gates. The khazans, a pre-Portuguese invention in Goa by the Gaud Saraswat Brahmins who settled in the state from Bengal, along with being an agro-aqua culture practice are also deeply rooted in everyday cultural systems of the village.