WATER RESOURCES SHOULD BE NATIONALIZED INTRODUCTION: Water resources are sources of water that are useful. The world is fast running out of usable water. Anthropogenic activities are depleting and polluting this finite well spring of life at a startling rate. The present ineffective management of water ignores the potential of conservation and embraces the chimeric alternative of increasing supply. Degraded watersheds, drying local pond systems, shrinking canal networks, and wetland degradation as a result of anthropogenic activity and climate change relegate water to the status of “scarce commodity. The ever-increasing stress caused by population growth and concomitant increased agriculture and industrial demands for water has created an apparent scenario of water shortage that requires augmentation. The assessed needs could be met with more efficient utilization of intra-basin resources, except in case of Cauvery and Vaigai basins where limited water transfers could take place by transferring water from Godavari River. Despite this report, plans were floated to combat water deficits by conveying surpluses to water deficient locations.
Various political parties and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members in Tamil Nadu felt that linking river water resources could enhance the realization of water needs. These political pressures pushed the proposal forward, leading to Supreme Court direction to the government of India demanding that the government take steps to interlink certain major rivers of the country by the year 2012, spelling the beginning of the “Interlinking of Rivers Project”. WHAT IS NATIONALIZATION OF WATER RESOURCES?
The rivers flowing from the north to south are not hundred per cent utilised by the individual states efficiently. Because some state may need water and some may not need depending upon the geographical location, requirement, agriculture etc. So the unused water from these rivers are directed to the sea. So what the government has planned is to nationalize the rivers by constructing a water channel from north to south , like how the national highways are there in our country , we will have the water highway routes in the form of the channels. INTERLINKING OF RIVERS:
All ancient civilizations over world were born, bred, flourished and advanced by the river banks. Rivers are, therefore, an integral part not only of human existence but the very existence of life on our planet “The Earth”. Indian culture owes its supremacy to the rivers which are the life and blood of the nation. That is why they are worshiped as goddesses all over the country. Role of rivers in human life and now in national development, progress and prosperity, development of agriculture, science, technology or industry is beyond description.
In olden days when there was no problem of overpopulation water resources provided by these rivers were sufficient for the population living by the banks. But with the ever increasing burden of population and multiplicity of demand for water for various purposes ranging from agricultural needs to industrial needs and for generation of power judicious utilization of this natural resource has become an absolute necessity. India is a country with vast population with extremes of climate, different topography, varied types of soils, annual rainfall ranging from 5 cm to more than 1000 cm. ome parts facing the havoc of floods and other parts thirsty for rain drops. Hence a scheme for effective and efficient management of water resources was prepared which envisages interlinking of 37 national rivers through 30 links across 9600 km with 32 connecting dams. The apex court of India has issued a directive to the government of India to interlink these rivers within a period of 10 years. The government on its part has set up a task force under former power minister, Suresh Prabhu to build national consensus, work out detailed plans and to see that the entire work is completed by the year 2016.
In view of the director general of National Water Development Agency (NWDA) the interlinking of rivers should be based upon- INTER-BASIN TRANSFER: Inter-basin transfer is an outstanding example of effective and efficient management of water resources on the basis of need of the people; Interbasin transfer or transbasin diversion are (often hyphenated) terms used to describe man-made conveyance schemes which move water from one river basin where it is available, to another basin where water is less available or could be utilized better for human development.
The purpose of such designed schemes can be to alleviate water shortages in the receiving basin, to generate electricity, or both. The national water development agency (NWDA) has estimated that the project would cost Rs. 5, 60,000 cores at 2002 prices. The project Inter basin transfer aims to deliver 173 billion cubic meter of water through a 12,500 km maze of canals which would irrigate 34 million hectares of land and would supply drinking water to 101 districts and five metro cities. THE NWDA HAS DIVIDED THE INTERLINKING OF RIVER PROJECT INTO TWO PRIMARY COMPONENTS: 1.
THE HIMALAYAN COMPONENT PROPOSING A CONSTRUCTION OF 14 CANALS: The project intends to link the bramaputra and its tributaries with the ganga and the ganga with the Mahanadi river to transfer surplus water from east to west. The scheme envisages flood control in the ganga and brahmaputra basins and a reduction in water deficits for many states which is estimated to cost Rs. 3, 75, 000 core. 2. THE PENINSULAR COMPONENT WITH A PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION OF16 CANALS. River interlinks are envisaged to benefit the states of Orissa, Karnataka,Tamil nadu,Gujarat,Pondicherry,and maharastra. he linkage of the Mahanadi and Godavari rivers is proposed to feed the Krishna,pennar,cauvery,and vaigai rivers. Transfer of water from Godavari and Krishna entails pumping 1200 cusecs of water over a crest of about 116 meters. Interlinking the ken with the Betwa, Parbati, Kalisindh, and Chambal rivers is proposed to benefit Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The river links to cost Rs. 1, 85, 000 cores. It is planned to transfer 141 km3/yr through peninsular India and 33 km3/yr Himalayan links essentially for redistribution in the Ganga basin and to Western India.
Only small volume of water can be transferred from the Brahmaputra basin. Thus in totality 1660 km3/yr of development water resource can be created which can take care of any exigencies. THE BENEFICIARIES OF RIVER LINKING: The politically important consideration for drawing up the river linking plan was the emergence of major national and transnational industries and rapid urbanization in many of the ‘low water availability’ natural regions of the west and south. It was purported also to help the commercial farming lobby for sugarcane.
A case of ‘mortgaging the nation’s future for a miniscule affluent population. The plan is aimed at ending the flood problems of the Gangs and Brahmaputra and at the same time solving the drought problem in southern India by diverting surplus water of the snow-fed rivers to the rain fed Peninsular river. Help prevent floods in north and east, drought in south and west of the country. India depends heavily on monsoon. Interlinking will help irrigation, which in turn will help increase the crop yields by making farmers less dependent on monsoon and ensuring a year long water supply.
These worlds bring an extra 35 million hectares under irrigation whereby per capita food grain consumption would be doubled in spite of the increase in population. This interlinking of rivers will provide food security to the country. Additional 34,000 k. w. electricity will be generated against the present 24,000 k. w. I. e. it will be more than doubled. This would give an impetus to the industrial sector as well. It will not just be a linking of rivers but a linking of lives. It will promote national integration. River transports is not only cheaper but also a non-polluting transport alternative.
This has been a success in Europe. Experts suggest that even canals can be used for moving cargo between the states. Interlinking of rivers will generate employment opportunities all over the country especially in agriculture sector, power, transport and construction works. This project alone can enhance the GPD by 4%. Above all migration from rural areas will reduce which would reduce congestion in urban areas. Decentralization of industries would be a natural phenomenon with the availability of water and power. HURDLES IN INTERLINKING OF RIVERS:
Undoubtedly, interlinking of rivers would provide innumerable facilities and comforts but certain hurdles are bound to arise in the implementation of the project. In the first instance many canals will pass through national parks and sanctuaries and many people may be displaced by the building of dams and canals. The construction of reservoirs and dams may swallow up the natural habitats of wild life and the ecology of the country may be subjected to unknown consequences. Large areas under forests may be submerged under water.
According to some scientist’s monsoon rains come all over the country at one and the same time, hence interlinking rivers may cause floods. Then rivers like Ganga and Brahmaputra are international rivers, hence consent of adjacent countries like Nepal and Bangladesh would be a necessity for the completion of the project. Country is already facing a dispute over sharing of Kaveri river water. Further conflicts may arise between the states on the issue of sharing of water between them. Dams tend to sometimes aggravate he condition of floods They cause water logging and soils become saline and unsuitable for crops if floodwater from the east is transferred to other areas the biodiversity of these regions will be affected; the plants growing in these regions will die, many animal and bird species that live there will become extinct. the severe drought during summer in many parts of the country is due to mismanagement of water and not because a lack of it. Steps should be taken to conserve water at the local level instead. Finally financing of the project will not be so easy.
FUDAMENTAL OBJECTIONS TO RIVER LINKING: 1. Linking of rivers violates the natural laws governing the life support system, and natural dynamics; and discounts the bounties provided by river systems. 2. The loss of flood plains and spill basins by human interference has caused devastating floods. River linking shall enhance this situation. 3. Man-made dams, reservoirs, and artificial lakes that are to be project ingredients would rob the rivers of their energy potential. 4. In fact, stupendous energy would be needed for the rivers to jump over the natural water divides and topo-barriers. . Rainfall and water availability is regulated by the monsoons, resulting in a highly bimodal annual river flow and moisture regime with consequential seasonal lows (droughts) and highs (floods). River linking shall certainly aggravate both droughts and floods by superimposition of the situation in each of the linked rivers. 6. Such linkages could possibly be thought of in more temperate latitudes with a more homogeneous annual moisture/flow regime. However, the Soviet experience of river diversion has even then been catastrophic, resulting on the devastation of the Aral Sea. . A river is not a mere flow channel, but a holistic system encompassing the whole basin — water divide, catchment, valley and outflow point. Any alteration shall affect the whole system and even induce microclimatic changes. 8. Inestimable loss of natural biodiversity, wild cultivars and plant gene banks shall inevitably follow river linking to disrupting the regional food chain operation. 9. Monsoonal rainfall on the degraded catchments shall cause excessive siltation-related problems in the linking systems. 10.
Careful scrutiny of the state of environmental health of various rivers should have been first made before clean rivers are linked very filthy rivers. 11. River linking shall inevitably lead to an alteration of the seasonal water availability pattern; and the possibility of upsetting the evapo-transpiration balance. 12. An inevitable change in the cropping pattern from excessively irrigated lands after river-linking shall cause a major increase in methane and other gases that contribute to global warming. 13. Land degradation shall also be inescapably aggravated. 4. The colossal estimated cost will surely jeopardise the national economy for decades and force diversion of funds from the more essential needs of the vast majority of rural poor. 15. The inter-state and international ramifications of shared riparian systems would certainly open the floodgates for a civil war situation and serious discord with India’s neighbours. Not only is any such proposal for inter-basin transfers totally repugnant to all natural and economic logic, but shall alter the subcontinent’s geographical configuration.
In the ultimate analysis, the proposal shall signal the death knell of our river systems that provide the principal source of sustenance; and encompass social, cultural and religious traditions. INTERLINKING MAJOR RIVERS WILL REDUCE FARMER SUCIDES: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) hasdrawn out a blue print for implementing the project with the help of images collected from the Remote Sensing and Cartosat satellites launched by it in 2007 and 2008.
Though the UPA government which came to power in 2004 had included the inter linking of peninsular Indian rivers as one of the top priorities in its Common Minimum Programme nothing was heard about it afterwards. India and Pakistan are locked in water war over the construction of power projects on Jhelum on their respective territories. Snow-fed rivers like Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra, which originate in the Himalayas, and their tributaries are perennial. They continue to flow throughout the year. During monsoons, they tend to overflow and inundate large flood prone areas and cause loss of ife, livestock, crops and property. Rain-fed rivers like Luni in Rajasthan remain dry for most part of the year because the rainfall is scanty in that area resulting in drought like conditions. The volume of water in the west flowing rivers of Central Highlands, Narmada and Tapti is directly proportional to the amount of rainfall received during the monsoon season. Hence, there is a always an element of uncertainty in availability of water. To the North of the Vindhyas, the Malwa Plateau and the Chhotanagpur Plateau of Jharkhand are comparatively better placed as they are drained by steady Ganga and Yamuna.
But due to the absence of adequate river valley projects a large quantity of water wastefully flows into the Bay of Bengal through Ganga-Brahmaputra delta. In the peninsular region too, the rainfall is uneven, While the Western Ghats receive high rainfall, the Eastern’ Ghats receive very less. States like Tamil Nadu lie in the r tin shadow area and get little rainfall from advancing South West monsoons. The East flowing rivers of the Deccan Plateau-Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery drain this area. SEASONAL RIVERS OF THE SOUTH:
To overcome the problems of flood and drought a whopping Rs. 5,60,000 crore river linkage project has been envisaged. The perennial and often inundating rivers of the north will be connected with the dwindling: and rather seasonal rivers of -the south through a network of canals so that the former are stopped from overflowing and the latter are regularly replenished, curbing floods and famines at the same time. The project will also ensure regular, adequate and timely supply of water to all parts of the country for agriculture, industry and consumption. Of the three big Himalayan rivers, Indus has been left out because there is a natural connectivity in the shape of its tributaries like Sutlej, Beas and Jhelum which drain and well cater to the needs of the Indian part of the Indus basin. Water from Brahmaputra shall flow into Ganga. Two main headwaters in the ,Himalayas the Bhagirathi and the Alaknanda join at Devprayag and flow as Ganga thereafter. It enters Northern plain at Haridwar. “Yamuna joins it at Allahabad. Yamuna, in turn, is joined by its tributaries like Chambal, Sind, Betwa and Ken. Sone joins Ganga directly and
Damodar joins its distributor Hooghli. As the Ganga river system drains the States of Haryana, Southern Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand’ and major parts of West Bengal many times its water falls short of the required quantity. Linking Ganga with Brahmaputra shall solve this problem. Brahma- putra carries ‘a tremendous volume of water. When it enters India at Namcha Barwa the undercutting done by this powerful river is of the order of 5;500 meters. With the eastern States receiving heavy rainfall during monsoon, season the danger’ of floods looms large in many areas of Assam and Bihar almost every year.
The linkage will mean diversion of . excess water from Brahmaputra into Ganges ,and this problem of floods shall be taken care of automatically. Ganga will be connected to Mahanadi and Godavari. This, will boost agriculture in the States of Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Godavari will be further linked to Krishna, Pennar and Cauvery replenishing their depleting, waters. It will help Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and many parts of the Eastern ghats and the rain shadow areas of the South which get little rainfall from the advancing monsoons.
This will bring smile on the faces of the farmers of the’ South many of which committed or contemplated suicide due to crop failures. This may also solve the dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing of Cauvery waters. Narmada will flow into Tapi helping mainly the farmers around Satpura range. Yamuna will flow into Sabarmati which, in turn, will be linked to Luni. It will benefit many areas of Gujarat and the desert state of Rajasthan. Thar desert of today may become the prosperous Sahara in future, who knows?