INDIA, May 18, 2019 (The Better India): Caron Rawnsley, a French-born Irishman in his early 70s, has spent the past five years cleaning Jodhpur's famed stepwells, locally known as bawaris, jhalaras (square-shaped open stepwells with steps on three or all four sides), and lakes. Thus far, he has led efforts to clean 10 precious reservoirs including the Ram bawari, Kriya jhalara, Govinda bawari, Chandpol bawari, Mahamandir bawari, Mahila Bagh jhalara, Tapi bawari and the Gulab Sagar lake. Once a part of the ancient networks of water storage, bawaris were drinking water points, while jhalaras supplied regular water for religious rites, royal ceremonies and community use.
Till the 1950s, Jodhpur met its water needs through this complex network of lakes, canals, aqueducts, tanks, surface wells and stepwells. However, these stepwells went into disuse, when supply from the Indira Gandhi canal brought perennial water from the rivers in Punjab into this desert city. Today, many of these architectural marvels that also double up as one of India's oldest rainwater harvesting systems lie dilapidated. "When I came to Jodhpur sometime in the latter half of 2014, I saw these beautiful stepwells but was shocked to see these ancient and unique water harvesting systems going derelict. So, I decided to devote my time to cleaning these places and trying to bring them back in good shape," says Caron in a conversation with The Better India.
Much more at "source" including photos.