The above figures are approximate. The illustration, too indicates a chiseled shape which is seldom achieved by a machine digging at a great speed. The splendid temple tanks of India, with their precise geometries and stone steps were built by patient human hands at a time when people took pride and care over such things. Today people are too busy earning a living, with which they may buy bottled water.
Returning to pond design, water is not held to the top of the embankment. It is held only up to the level of the berm and thereafter, a break in the embankment allows the pond to spill the excess. The purpose of the embankment is to withstand temporary surges during periods of heavy rains.
We began by shaving off the little top soil there is at pointReturn. Teeming organisms in this soil are worth preserving. I had it carried away to a small plot near the pond. Below this layer, the soil is pretty inert. Depending on whether it is gravely or clayey the soil was transported to form roads or for proposed mud buildings. About 40% of the excavated soil went to build the embankment. A small lot went to raise the floor of the living quarters and to fill small ditches.
Against the advise of the JCB operator I decided to dig down to 3′ and then decide on going deeper by another 3′. It would have been far cheaper and somewhat quicker to excavate down to 6′ in one go. My compulsion was the fear of approaching rain. If ever you dig a pond, excavate to the planned depth in one go- a JCB can hoist from 8′ down.
I camped three days in row. The Morning Star shed incredibly bright light heralding day break. I’d rise at 5, squat in my two-pit composting toilet, wash up and be ready by six. Food was basic. Banana, biscuits and an awful tea raised on my portable cooker. The JCB switched on at 6 and worked solo for an hour before the tipper tractors arrived at 7. This hour is useful as there is a lot of work that a JCB needs to do by itself; it wouldn’t pay to have tractors idling by. Earth dumped for road making has to be leveled and compacted, pond sides have to be sloped, ramps to be created for tippers to come down to the pond floor or climb up the embankment in progress.