Community pond restoration

Community ponds in Panchase, located in forests and near settlements, are an example of important green infrastructure. Healthy ponds increase water infiltration by reducing water run-off, can reduce water-induced disasters like landslides, and can help with the storage of rainwater; rainwater storage is particularly important in this mountainous region as it helps protect agricultural land and downstream areas from erosion, flooding and landslides. It also helps ensure year-round availability of water. Restoration activities for this building block included water source protection, repair and maintenance of old ponds, and development of water supply arrangements. First, IUCN helped communities to map ponds, after which some were prioritized based on extent of damage, potential for restoring groundwater, and level of dependency of surrounding communities. Locally available materials were used for repairs, to construct basic irrigation infrastructure, and to channel water from nearby sources to try to maintain water supply for as much of the year as possible. More than 60 community ponds were restored, covering three different sub-watersheds in Panchase. 


Communication, outreach and awareness building
Technical interventions and infrastructure
Natural infrastructure restoration
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

Use of local and traditional knowledge at all stages – mapping, pond prioritization, and restoration activities – is essential. Drawing on such knowledge enables the use of local materials, which also keeps the cost of implementation low.

Lessons learned

While water availability has increased, there is poor integration with economic activities such as agriculture. In addition, unplanned infrastructure such as road construction and repair can impact negatively on ponds. Better planning and community sensitization would help to address such lack of integration. Note that ecosystem maintenance and management works most effectively at sub-watershed level, but administrative boundaries usually don’t adhere to this, meaning that collaborating with multiple administrative units (e.g. villages) will be necessary. 


Workshops and training-of-trainers events, held at the village level, have helped to promote pond restoration through different villages and community conservation groups.


A high level of community participation in implementing the pond restoration activities facilitated the revival of indigenous knowledge and its transfer to younger people. It also fostered understanding between the different stakeholders.

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