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Ancient Paddy Field Irrigation System

 ( Not Rated ) , By BeED Author   -  Geography Upper Secondary (IGCSE)

  1.5 hour(s)
   22   0   1
  Thursday, August 3, 2017
   Not Required
  18.2 MB

Course Info

About this Place Of Interest

Main Photograph: Jack Merridew/ Wikimedia Commons/ 2005 [1]. If you are done visiting crowded tourist sites and would prefer going to a place surrounded by plateau areas with greenery and paddy fields, then a trip to Gunung Kawi will prove to be a fulfilling experience. Located in Tampaksiring and about 10km northeast of Ubud, Gunung Kawi is located next to the sacred Pakerisan River in Sebatu Village. As you descend the 315 stone steps, you will be able to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of lush green terraced paddy fields. Bali is blessed with 150 rivers and streams and these water sources are used to irrigate paddy fields throughout the year through a ninth century water management system known as Subak [2]. In Bali, paddy farmers are organised into irrigation organisations or subaks and each subak is fed by the same water source. Subak has become part of Balinese culture and it sustains thousands of families through the simple method of controlling water irrigated to paddy fields. If you visit the paddy fields in Gunung Kawi, there is ample evidence of the existence of the ancient water management system. In fact in 1987, American anthropologist J. Stephen Lansing worked with farmers in Bali to redevelop the system and make it more effective [3]. As you explore further, you will see tombs or candi, which were all carved into sandstone cliffs. Each tomb is about seven metres high. Although they are referred to as “tombs”, they do not contain any human remains. Instead, these tombs provide evidence of how ancient rulers were deified by their subjects. This aside, visitors may also visit the meditation caves which were used by many famous monks and pilgrims in the past. Located nearby is the sacred Pakerisan River. The river and its watershed is the oldest known irrigation system in Bali.

About this Learning Experience

Main Photograph: Jack Merridew/ Wikimedia Commons/ 2005 [1]. In this Learning Experience, you will learn how Balinese people effectively use the land’s natural water sources to maximise paddy production, through an ancient irrigation system. You will also learn how paddy farmers have benefited from the sharing of information on scientific studies and research. Note: The reflection phase will take place under Point A.

Syllabus Content

  • Development:
  • Classify production into different sectors and give illustrations of each.
  • Describe and explain the process of globalisation and consider its impact.
  • Rivers:
  • Demonstrate an understanding that rivers presents hazards and offer opportunities for people.

Resources Needed


Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu, Bali, Indonesia

Banjar Penaka, Tampaksiring, Gianyar, Tampaksiring, Bali 80552, Indonesia


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