The low lying rice fields of Goa are famous for the variety of rice they produce, what often goes unnoticed is the clever system of canals, weir bridges and sluice gates that form their lifeline. On my walks around Moira village ,I came upon this weir bridge which has typical sluice gates that swing shut at the peak tide, limiting the amount of saline water that enters the shallow river basin. This is essential not only for the low lying rice fields as well as for the fisheries inland. By also regulating the amount of water that flows out at low tide, the system ensures that the stream basin with it’s valuable fish nurseries never go dry, even in the peak summer .
The bridge is a favourite hangout for the village anglers, while the narrow footbridge over the weir is used by the motorcycle-taxi man as well as by pedestrians. The local village diety ‘Rashtroli’ ,besides patrolling the rest of the village also keeps an eye on the waterworks. He carries a cudgel and torch on his nightly rounds and the villagers make him offerings of good ‘feni’ (cashew liquor) and local cigarettes. Of course one wonders how he kept up with the monotoniety and endlessness of his job before the Portugese arrived in India with these two offerings, tobacco and cashew.