RSTV SUMMARY – 15TH JULY, 2019

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By moderator July 17, 2019 10:42

The Big Picture – Floods & River Linking

Some northern Indian states could receive rainfall during the next 4-5 days, but monsoon activity could be subdued in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra’s interiors, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the next 3-4 days, the India Meteorological Department said. After recording above normal rains between July 6 and July 11, monsoon appears to be slowing down, sparking concerns in the agriculture sector, according to experts. Overall rainfall deficiency in the country till 14TH July was 12.5% over the long period average, an improvement from June’s 33% — the highest deficiency in June in four years. The sluggish monsoon has impacted the sowing of summer cops. But in northeastern India, floods have caused widespread damage. The devastating flood situation across Assam has shown no signs of improvement as parts of the state continue to be submerged for days forcing lakhs to flee for safety. Heavy rains and floods have wreaked havoc in Bihar. According to disaster management officials, at least 9 districts in the state have been hit with floods and over 13 people have lost their lives. While some states are facing floods others states are facing a water crisis.

River Linking

  • It is done under the National Water Development agency under the Ministry of Water Resources.
  • It was mooted as a solution to the water crisis in the country as some parts of the country receive an excess amount of rainfall resulting in floods while other parts of the country experience droughts.
  • Under this project, rivers having excess water would be linked to rivers having negligible water thus allowing the excess water to flow out preventing floods.
  • Ken-Betwa linkage was one of the first projects taken up for implementation though it could not take off due to many reasons.

Challenges

  • The funding required for interlinking of rivers is very large which will have to be allocated by the central or the state governments. The funds are to be allocated at a time when funds for welfare schemes are deemed inadequate.
  • Interlinking of rivers might require pumping water from one river to another as the level of the rivers above the sea level will not be the same.
  • It remains to be seen whether state governments would agree to share river waters at a time when monsoons are erratic and there is a shortage of rainfall.
  • The environmental concerns for interlinking of rivers have not been alleviated. There are concerns of submergence of huge areas besides increasing the incidence of droughts in other areas.

Way forward

  • The government should take up river linking projects of local rivers which are less costly and see the impact of the project in terms of environment, drought mitigation and flood control.
  • State governments should be sharing a river should come together in the management of river basins which will provide clarity on the interlinking of rivers and the needs of the state governments.
  • Besides river linking, the government should look into other methods for conserving water like rainwater harvesting, water management in the high rainfall and low rainfall areas, sustainable cropping patterns, etc.
  • Water tables of a region are a very good indication of imminent floods or droughts in an area as they do not change easily. These water tables can be utilized to study the requirement of a river linking project in that area.
  • India can also learn from international experiences like Israel which have used the little water available economically for agriculture there. In Israel, water is recycled using low-cost technology for washing which is recycled for toilet use which is again recycled for irrigation.
  • In London, the water tables started increasing by a meter after taking away the industries present there.
  • The government should plan before executing the project by taking in to account the land available for habitation, agriculture, forests, etc. and the water required for all purposes. The planning should be done keeping in mind the variability of rainfall in the coming years.

 

moderator
By moderator July 17, 2019 10:42