A khadin is an ingenious construction designed to harvest surface runoff water for agriculture. Its main feature is a very long (100-300 m) earthen embankment built across the lower hill slopes lying below gravelly uplands. This conserves the maximum possible rainwater runoff within the agricultural field. Sluices and spillways allow excess water to drain off.
The khadin system is based on the principle of harvesting rainwater on farmland and subsequent use of this water-saturated land for crop production. The embankment not only helps to increase moisture in the submerged land, but also prevents the washing away of the top soil and the manure added to it.
Depending upon the amount of rainfall and consequent runoff received during the monsoon, one or two crops are grown. There is 3-4 fold increase in agriculture production, in comparison with non-Khadin conditions depending upon rainfall quantity and distribution. This system assures the farmers of at least one crop even in very dry tracts. Other than improving socio-economic conditions of desert dwellers, Khadins also have created positive impact on the ecology of the region, effectively checking soil erosion and increasing vegetation cover.