Parts of Himachal Pradesh had evolved a local system of canal irrigation called kuhls over four hundred years ago. The water flowing in the streams was diverted into man-made channels which took this water to numerous villages down the hillside. The management of the water flowing in these kuhls was by common agreement among all the villages. Interestingly, during the planting season, water was first used by the village farthest away from the source of the kuhls, then by villages progressively higher up. These kuhls were managed by two or three people who were paid by the villagers. In addition to irrigation, water from these kuhls also percolated into the soil and fed springs at various points. After the kuhls were taken over by the Irrigation Department, most of them became defunct and there is no amicable sharing of water as before.
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