Anoushka Mukherjee


The Synergetic Canal

The Synergetic Canal is a response to shifting narratives for water use, failure in infrastructure execution, and non-prevalent last mile connectivity of the Narmada Canal that has robbed thousands of farmers of the promise of water for irrigation. Situated in the Vadodara district, it re-imagines the canal network and its associated infrastructural systems as mechanisms that function to benefit the agrarian sector and farmers. 

The speculation works with existing infrastructure systems and reimagines them as machines that contribute to the cycles of growing and harvesting that are not only productive but also regenerative. Added to the existing are community-developed mechanisms that are deployed to create decentralized and distributed agents of care and growth. The speculation is more a question ‘What if the canal system started working to create a sustainable holistic network for its initial purpose of agriculture?’ 

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Neighbourhood Scale: Ghar Ghar ka Paani studies the consumption patterns in my apartment bifurcating the households with the water usage activities and the number of buckets utilized. Observing the apartment, each house has a story with water, an activity where they consume more water, thus charting a water activity rank to each house.

Neighbourhood Scale: For speculation, Charge-in water imagines an alternate water community where along with the consumption of water, the residents have to pay a maintenance charge through shared activity spaces which enables the recycling of water. It consists of two typologies of pods, Individual Pods for in-house spillage and Collective Pods for community use aiming to create a closed-loop system.

City Scale: Water is guided by a set of machines before reaching the city of Ahmedabad, Un(Grouped) Canal deconstructs this mechanized route by ungrouping the journey of various structures located on the Narmada main canal. The idea is to form a taxonomy of apparatus constructed to make the water move in the city.

City Scale: Along this complex route, multiple structures are constructed to regulate and control the water transforming the journey of the natural source to a mechanized movement.The journey of the canal spans about 240 km till Ahmedabad and passes through cross regulators, escape structures, road bridges, aqueducts, canal, and drainage siphons, siphon aqueducts and canal crossings to reach its destination.

The Sardar Sarovar project envisioned transforming the lives of Gujarat’s farming communities, thus multiple channels were created from the main canal into branches, distributaries, minors, and sub-minors to supply water to the end of chainage. Yet, looking at construction progress, all of the work is left on minors and sub minor channels which are for the farmlands and irrigation. With the slow construction process, farmers of Kheda, Ahmedabad, Saurashtra, Kutch districts, and many more in the command area resort to illegally pumping water, which was promised to them.

Zooming in the canal system, a machine works on the infrastructure allowing water to flow and move. These included multiple structures like head regulators, cross regulators, escape structures, canal siphons, aqueducts, canal crossings, drainage siphon, siphon aqueduct, and road bridges. What if these stationary structures start working more than just the purpose of regulating water and specifically aid the farming sector?

The intervention on the canal is divided in two ways, one which includes the transformation of existing structures and also the addition of deployable structures that can be connected to any farmland and used at community level.

The entire canal system along with its branches transform into working for farmers following the crop cycle and steps.The canal provides the promises through its machinery, in this sense each structure on the canal is altered into systems working for the benefit of farming.

Views: Farming involves a number of steps and follows a cyclic rotation starting from land and soil preparation, crop and seed selection, sowing, irrigation, harvesting, storage and selling.

Following the principles of permaculture, the system approaches sustainable agriculture through the care of the earth, people, and the environment creating a holistic farming system.