Tour with Shailesh: Suranga – indigenous water management system in Kasargod

A suranga is a narrow horizontal tunnel, barely two-and-a-half feet wide and just over five-and-a-half feet high, dug into laterite hills until a water spring is found. The typical suranga can run from anywhere between 30 metres to 300 metres into a hill.

Called Suranga in Kannada and Thurangam in Malayalam, these unique tunnels are one of the most sustainable water management systems used in and around Kasaragod district for generations.

As water percolates through rock and flows into the tunnel, it is carefully channelised in a narrow stream to a small mud reservoir, built near the tunnel. Once water starts flowing from a spring, there is a steady supply of fresh water for years, without having to use pumps and electric motors.

Finding the right location at the base of a hill was the begining, this followed by laborious work to dig out the sand in a scientific manner ensuring it does not collapse. At the same time using the earths vibration to reach the correct source of water was a unique quality. Today we see remanants of these with few still generating the water, this is one such source.

For some years now, suranga have been losing popularity in the region with the arrival of bore-wells, which are much cheaper and more easy to dig to find water.