Chettinad is located in an area Northeast of Madurai, North of the River Vaigai and South of the River Vellar, on a semi-arid plain.
The region of Chettinad is home to some of the most interesting water management systems and drainage patterns. Water management was devised by Chettiars to control the flow of water which was entirely dependent on rain water resources.
The oorani is a Tamil word for the surface water storage tank located in the villages and towns. In Chettinad, each village comprises a minimum of three water bodies in accordance with the storage needs of the villagers for drinking and bathing. The roofs typical of Chettinad architecture are designed to harvest water in the courtyards and then divert to the various different ponds through a water drainage network.
The erys are the traditional surface water storage reservoirs found in Tamil Nadu. Organised into a huge network over the ages, they have played a very important role for the ecosystem and for irrigation in areas with low-rainfall, such as Chettinad. Due to this climatic constraint, since settling in the region, the Chettiars have been particularly involved in sustainable water management for agriculture and therefore in shaping the landscape.
For more details you can go through the web site of our NGO ArcHe-S