Water mills that were once widely used by farmers for grinding grains are now rarely found. Due to cheap sources of energy and availability of raw materials, they survived through generations. Water being the primary source of fuel to run these mills, they are located near river banks. This project was designed with the objectives to identify the raw materials used in constructing water mills and to analyse the problems in using water mills.
Materials & Method
This study was carried out at Thrimshing village under Trashigang Dzongkhag where traditional water mills are still found. Information were collected through face-to-face interviews with farmers, water mill owners, extension agents and the elderly people (who have better knowledge of water mills) in the study site using both structured and semi-structured questionnaires.
Results & Discussions
There are three types of grinding mills in the study area namely, stone mills (using hand power), water mills and modern mills using diesel as fuel. It was found that most of the farmers (13 farmers out of 30) use water mills in grinding their dried grains.
Water mills are built using raw materials available in the locality. The walls are made either with stones or bamboos. The roofs are made of bamboos which do not last more than five years. And the water mill sheds are located near rivers banks. Doors in water mills are made up of bamboos and are not fixed strongly. Grinding stones can be found only in bank of rivers. Those stones have to be shaped and curved into a sphere shape. Water mills are environment friendly. They are easy to operate and do not produce pollution. They are indeed very useful, cheap and ‘green’ technology.
However, one of the major constraints of using water mill is due to shortage of water in dry season. Sometimes, the water in the streams gets dry even to turn the turbines.
Water mills are fully indigenous technology made by local people using locally available raw materials. There are several possibilities for developing water mills, using local resources which can be more efficient to solve the problems faced by the farmers