Environment, GS-3, Uncategorized

New conservation rules may soon apply to wetlands. What are they?

The Draft Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2016, which seek to replace the older Wetland (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010, are open for public comments until today, May 31.

The new Rules have been proposed at a time when several petitions on the implementation of the 2010 Rules are pending at the National Green Tribunal (NGT). After it emerged that states were yet to notify wetlands under the 2010 Rules, the NGT directed them to do so in at least 5-10 districts in a time-bound fashion.

The draft 2016 Rules seek to decentralise wetlands management to states, with the Centre having a say only in “exceptional cases” — a provision that could potentially weaken conservation efforts in these eco-sensitive zones.

Organisations such as the Bombay Natural History Society, WWF India, Legal Initiative for Forests and Environment, International Rivers, INTACH, Yamuna Jiye Abhiyan and South Asian Network on Dams Rivers and People have sent representations to the Environment Ministry.

Here is how the 2016 draft is different from the 2010 Rules.

Overseeing Body

2010 Rules: The Centre created the Central Wetland Regulatory Authority (CWRA), headed by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment, and consisting of bureaucrats and experts.
Draft Rules: Propose the removal of this body entirely, and its replacement by a State Level Wetland Authority in each state. According to the draft Rules, the power to identify and notify wetlands would be vested in the Chief Minister, who as chief executive of the state government as well as of the state wetland authority, will propose and notify wetlands after accepting or rejecting recommendations.

Time-Bound Action

2010 Rules: Wetlands have to be notified within a year of the Rules coming into force, and there are deadlines for each process along the way:

Draft Rules: Do away with the time-bound process for notification.

Permitted Activities

2010 Rules: Activities prohibited in wetlands include reclamation, constructing permanent structures within 50 m, setting up or expanding industries, throwing waste, etc.

Draft Rules: The entire list, apart from reclamation, has been deleted. Activities that make “wise use” of wetlands have been permitted. The state authority is to decide what does, and doesn’t, amount to “wise use”.

Restricted Activities

2010 Rules: 12 activities including fishing, boating, dredging, etc. are restricted without prior permission from the state government.
Draft Rules: Do not address the issue of prior permission for any activity.

Terminology

2010 Rules: State that the Rules apply also to “areas rich in genetic diversity” and “areas of outstanding natural beauty”, besides protected areas.

Draft Rules: Have removed those words.

Wetland complexes

2010 Rules: Include “wetland complexes”, which are a set of wetlands dependent on each other.

Draft Rules: Have removed the provision for wetland complexes.

Environmental Impact

2010 Rules: An Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) is compulsory before undertaking any activity in a wetland area.

Draft Rules: Make no mention of the need to conduct an EIA.

Size Specifications

2010 Rules: Cover all wetlands and wetland complexes larger than a specified area — 5 hectares for high-altitude regions, 500 hectares elsewhere.

Draft Rules: Only those wetlands notified by the state government; no size specified.


Meaning: Wetlands

Wetland encompass a broad range of ecosystems characterised by bodies of water like lakes, ponds, rivers or marshes, and their surrounding bio-networks. They are breeding grounds for fish and fowl, they store and recharge groundwater, and act as buffers against storms and floods. Wetlands are nature’s measures against both droughts and floods, of which India has repeatedly been a victim.

Despite their vital importance to humans, across India, wetlands are seriously threatened by reclamation and degradation through processes of drainage, landfilling, discharge of domestic and industrial effluents, disposal of solid waste, and overexploitation of the natural resources that they offer. In its effort to save and protect wetlands, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has invoked Article 51A of the Constitution, which makes it a Fundamental Duty of every citizen “to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife”.

India is one of the 169 signatories to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. There are 2,241 Ramsar sites across the world, including 26 spread across India from Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir to Ashtamudi Wetland in Kerala, and from Deepor Beel in Assam to Nal Sarovar in Gujarat.

 

Editorials, Uncategorized

Moving towards a water pricing regime

Summary:

Water has now become a scarce natural resource in India. Two back-to-back droughts have further aggravated this problem. Water scarcity is both a natural and man-made phenomenon. Over the years, increasing population, growing industrialisation, expanding agriculture and rising standards of living have pushed up the demand for water. Many human factors influence the availability of water, including dams or other engineering, population, and consumerism – or our water use on an individual, business, and government levels.

How to tackle this crisis in the long run?

According to experts, water pricing is the only long-term, sustainable solution to promote efficient and equitable use of this precious natural resource.

Why water pricing is necessary?

  • According to a study, water subsidies provided through public utilities in India amounted to 0.6% of global gross domestic product in 2012. But, these subsidies were inequitable and disproportionately benefitted upper-income groups.
  • The inequitable consumption also operates along other dimensions. With 18% of the world population, India has only 4% of the world’s renewable water resources. Moreover, the distribution is geographically skewed and the majority of rainfall occurs over just a few months, leading to reckless consumption in well-endowed geographies and during those months.
  • Also, inefficient agricultural usage of water and exports of water-intensive crops make India a large virtual exporter of water. And the domestic scarcity of water has not been priced into the exports.

However, moving towards an elaborate water pricing is not that easy. There are few challenges involved in it:

  • The first challenge will be to make a case for water pricing at a time when the most vulnerable to water shortage are already reeling under severe economic hardship.
  • The second challenge to introducing water pricing is the entrenched political economy in different parts of India. Severe water crisis in some parts of the country are in stark contrast to flourishing fields in some other parts. Besdies, the public procurement policies also promote cultivation of water-intensive crops, sometimes in those very states where the usage is most inefficient.
  • The third challenge is the inherent design problems associated with water pricing. This is because the government does not exercise control over the sources of water as it does over other natural resources.

What can be done?

  • The government should make people realize that without a price on water usage, it is they who will suffer the worst consequences of a drought.
  • It is also important to target irrigation water for pricing purposes because it alone comprises more than 78% of the total water usage in India. Also, irrigation consumption is an area where the scope for increase in efficiency is very high.
  • Groundwater has to be priced through proxies—electricity or diesel—used by farmers to pump the water. The strategy for pricing should be such that the cost of migration from one method of irrigation to another—or from electricity to diesel—offsets the difference in cost between the two.
  • An important part of this effort will also involve the separation of electric feeders for agricultural and non-agricultural purposes—already a focus of the government under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.
  • Additionally, there will be questions regarding whether the pricing should also take into account income distribution of water users and hence be accommodative towards poorer farmers or households.

Conclusion:

A counter-argument to water pricing is that it may erode India’s export advantage. But this argument ignores how the status quo continues to erode the competitiveness of farmers living in water-deficient parts of India—also some of the same regions where the incidence of farmer suicides is high. Water prices have rather negligible effects on income distribution within the farming sector and hence water pricing should be designed in order to promote efficiency, leaving equity consideration to other policy tools. Several countries including rich ones such as Singapore and poor ones such as Burkina Faso have, within their own constraints, benefited from this regime. India needs to do the same.

 

GS-3, Uncategorized

SC pulls up Centre, States for failing to tackle drought

The Supreme Court has pulled up states for their “ostrich-like attitude” on drought, saying they ignored information provided by central agencies and failed to take any preparatory steps to tackle a possible disaster.

Important observations made by the court:

States are not assessing the drought situation in time leading to serious consequences. The adverse or negative impact of a delayed declaration of drought affects the common person, particularly women and children, and postpones the assistance that is needed. It also puts an undue strain on the resources of the State Government and the Government of India.

  • The Centre is also to be blamed for taking refuge in the concept of “federalism” to pass the buck to the States for declaring and managing drought and providing only financial aid.
  • States such as Bihar, Gujarat and Haryana are not even willing to acknowledge, leave alone address a drought. Such an ostrich-like attitude is a pity and the sound of silence coming from these states is subjects the vulnerable to further distress. The failure to declare drought by these States has robbed the poor of their fundamental right to dignity of life.
  • A drought definitely falls under the definition of ‘disaster’ under Section 2(d) of the Disaster Management Act of 2005. But, governments have not even tried to enforce the statute.

Background:

These observations were made by the court based on a PIL plea that alleged that parts of 12 States such as Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Haryana and Chhattisgarh were hit by drought and the authorities were not providing adequate relief. The court found that the total population in the districts affected by drought is about 33 crore.

The court asked the government to:

  1. Establish a National Disaster Response Force with specialist cadre in six months.
  2. Set up a Disaster Mitigation Fund within three months.
  3. Frame National Plan on risk assessment, risk management and crisis management in respect of a disaster.
  4. Update 60-year-old Drought Management Manual keeping in mind “humanitarian factors” like migrations, suicides, extreme distress, the plight of women and children.
Agriculture, Editorials, GS-3, Uncategorized

Indian River Linking (IRL) project

Article Link

Summary:

Water has now become a political issue for want of proper development and management of the resource. While millions suffer from droughts and floods, waters in the country’s many rivers flow unutilised, and are discharged into the sea every year.

  • In the wake of this crisis, few experts have asked the government to expedite the Indian River Linking (IRL) project that was proposed three decades ago.

About the project:

The interlinking project aims to link India’s rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals that will allow for their water capacities to be shared and redistributed. According to some, this is an engineered panacea that will reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts besides facilitating the generation of hydroelectricity for an increasingly power hungry country.

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Components of IRL project:

Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources. It has been split into three parts:

  1. A northern Himalayan rivers interlink component.
  2. A southern peninsular component.
  3. An intra-State rivers linking component.

The NWDA has studied and prepared reports on 14 projects for the Himalayan region, 16 projects for the peninsular India component and 36 intra-State river interlinking projects. However, various governments have shelved the idea for a number of reasons.

Why this is a good idea?

  • India receives most of its rain during monsoon season from June to September, most of it falls in northern and eastern part of India, the amount of rainfall in southern and western part are comparatively low. It will be these places which will have shortage of water. Interlinking of rivers will help these areas to have water throughout the year.
  • The main occupation of rural India is agriculture and if monsoon fails in a year, then agricultural activities come to a standstill and this will aggravate rural poverty. Interlinking of rivers will be a practical solution for this problem, because the water can be stored or water can be transferred from water surplus area to deficit.
  • The Ganga Basin, Brahmaputra basin sees floods almost every year. In order to avoid this, the water from these areas has to be diverted to other areas where there is scarcity of water. This can be achieved by linking the rivers. There is a two way advantage with this – floods will be controlled and scarcity of water will be reduced.
  • Interlinking of rivers will also have commercial importance on a longer run. This can be used as inland waterways and which helps in faster movement of goods from one place to other.
  • Interlinking creates a new occupation for people living in and around these canals and it can be the main areas of fishing in India.

However, some people are opposing this project due to the following reasons:

  • Interlinking of rivers will cause huge amount of distortion in the existing environment. In order to create canals and reservoirs, there will be mass deforestation. This will have impact on rains and in turn affect the whole cycle of life.
  • Usually rivers change their course and direction in about 100 years and if this happens after interlinking, then the project will not be feasible for a longer run.
  • Due to interlinking of rivers, there will be decrease in the amount of fresh water entering seas and this will cause a serious threat to the marine life system and will be a major ecological disaster.
  • Due to the creation of Canals and Reservoirs, huge amount of area which is occupied by the people will be submerged leading to displacement of people and government will have to spend more to rehabilitate these people.
  • The amount required for these projects is so huge that government will have to take loans from the foreign sources which would increase the burden on the government and country will fall in a debt trap.

Opposition from states:

Despite many expert committees recommending the project and a taskforce preparing a timeframe for its execution, not a single link has been constructed so far due to opposition from water-endowed states. Since water has become an emotive issue, none of the water-rich states would like to accept that they have surplus water to spare.

What’s the solution?

By offering to compensate the economic cost of the water surplused, these states could be persuaded to share the surplus. This would pave the way for early implementation of the project.

Conclusion:

The IRL project is a great challenge and an opportunity to address the water issues arising out of climate change. The long-term solution to water scarcity lies in making the IRL project work by building a network of dams and canals across the length and breadth of the country. However, interlinking has to take place after a detailed study so that does not cause any problem to the environment or aquatic life.

Agriculture, GS-3, Uncategorized

Water Crisis: Why has it reached such proportions?

As the summer sets in, many parts of the country are said to face one of the worst water crisis in the history. Reservoir levels in many states have come down alarmingly. Also, drinking water situation in states like Maharashtra is equally alarming. Ganga, which was to provide water to 1/3rd population of the country, is witnessing lower and lower water levels every year. Ten states had declared drought last year and with depleting water levels in reservoir it’s getting worse. In 91 major reservoirs of the country water level is just 25% of the capacity with monsoon still two months away.

How bad is the situation?

This is one of the worst water crises in recent decades. The situation is acute in western parts of the country and equally concerning in southern states. Around 330 million people in India are affected by drought, according to the government.

  • The Marathwada region in India’s western Maharashtra state is badly affected, reeling under the worst drought in decades. In Latur, Maharashtra, the looming fear that the survival instinct can turn lethal on account of the water crisis, has led authorities to invoke Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code that bars the assembling of more than 5 persons near wells and other water collecting sources.
  • Currently, water levels in the 91 major reservoirs in the country have dropped to less than one-third of their capacity at 29%, as per the Central Water Commission’s report. This is considered the lowest in the decade.
  • Also, agriculture is largely dependent on a mere 400 BCM (billion cubic metres) of groundwater, which is again fast depleting.
  • Rivers are faring no better. The Ganga, regarded the lifeline of North India, catering to a quarter of India’s population, has been experiencing a much-reduced flow. To a great extent the river’s water level is determined by the groundwater reserves of the areas along its course. With the water table shrinking further over the years, and the delay in the melting of the Himalayan ice this year, the shortage is being acutely felt.
  • In South India, while the Krishna River basin is badly affected, Cauvery and Godavari basins are facing deficiency.

Reasons behind the crisis:

A combination of factors apart from inadequate monsoons has led to this crisis. It has been caused by an amalgamation of natural and man-made factors. The rampant plundering of groundwater reserves for agricultural and industrial purposes, contamination of underground drinking water sources, the cultivation of water-intensive crops such as sugarcane in vulnerable areas, and the damming of rivers in the upper reaches have been instrumental for this catastrophe.

Also, the rapid growth of population and its growing needs has meant that per capita availability of fresh water has declined sharply from 3,000 cubic metres to 1,123 cubic metres over the past 50 years. The global average is 6,000 cubic metres. As water demand is expected to rise further, the pace of supply is expected to fall further.

Effects:

This situation has been in the making for several years, and will likely aggravate in the coming days.

  • This is the worst time for agriculture and industries, with even power generation coming to a halt at the National Thermal Power Corporation’s station in West Bengal’s Farakka. This will affect also affect prices of cereals and other essential commodities. On the farming side, crop cycles tend to get affected as a result.
  • Depleting groundwater levels are the biggest threat to rural livelihoods and food security. There’s been a 6% dip in share of groundwater wells within 10 metres below the ground. This depth is the threshold beyond which farmers have to start using deep-water equipment, which adds to their hardship.
  • Mispricing of water has meant that large parts of Indian cities do not have access to regular water supply. Two of India’s 5 biggest cities are unable to meet the recommended quantities of water supply. Most of the water goes to privileged classes.

What needs to be done?

Land reclamation and efficient soil and water management, with well-planned seasonal crop mixes using short-duration varieties, should form part of a comprehensive strategy to protect and boost monsoon-dependent agriculture.

  • India’s monsoon-forecasting models need to be supplemented with emerging methods in data science, irrigation and seed use, and evangelised with communication technology-driven extension methods.
  • The stereotype of the Indian farmer needs to change from the haggard punter on rains to an Internet-savvy manager of nature. This needs fiscal and policy commitments. Agriculture is a state subject under the Constitution, and the kind of responsibilities required to overcome the monsoon’s challenges need active central intervention.
  • Cooperative groundwater management should be accorded top priority. This involves government at all tires, empowering local groups with the understanding of the status of groundwater on a regular basis, so that extraction does not exceed the sustainable limit.
  • Desalination and recycling are two other viable measures with strong support from experts. Recycling in addition to being cost-effective, also takes care of the problem of wastewater and is therefore, a much better long-term solution.

Conclusion:

At present 4 billion people worldwide are affected by the shortage for at least one month every year. Latest studies show that the impact of the crisis is most acutely felt by about 1.8 billion people for six months in a year. The World Economic Forum rates “water crises as one of the three greatest risks of harm to people and economies”. What India needs is a permanent wake-up call, not a snooze button in the form of news reports of water crisis cropping up once in a few weeks or months. Measures such as those suggested above needs to be complemented by conservation efforts from the grassroots level.

Editorials, Uncategorized

From Plate to Plough — The big thirst

Article Link

Maharashtra is facing one of the biggest water crisis in recent decades. In Latur, where the traditional sources of water have run dry, Section 144 has had to be imposed to prevent into a water riot. Trains carrying water are now being despatched to Latur. Even, the high court intervened in the case of IPL matches and asked these to be shifted out of the state to save about 60 lakh litres of water.

Back-to-back drought has exposed the vulnerable water situation not just in Latur but in more than 250 districts (out of 678) in India.

Reasons behind the crisis:

  • Maharashtra has only 18% of its cropped area under irrigation cover compared to an all-India average of 47% and states like Punjab with 97%. Maharashtra is also hugely under-investing in developing its irrigation cover, just Rs 7,000 crore compared to Rs 25,000 crore in Telangana.
  • Sugarcane cultivation is also to be blamed. Sugarcane occupies about 4% of gross cropped area in Maharashtra’s agriculture but takes away almost two-thirds of the state’s irrigation water. Such a huge inequity doesn’t exist in any other state.
  • Also, water and power for agriculture in the state are highly subsidized and it artificially creates excess demand, triggering a scramble for these scarce resources.

What needs to be done?

The first thing needed is removing the elitist biases in public policymaking and resource allocation.

  • But, just pouring more money will not have the desired results. Maharashtra needs a white paper scrutinising its irrigation expenditures and irrigation potential, created and utilised, in comparison with similar states to find out why huge investments in the past haven’t yielded results.
  • The government has already decided that in the next five years, no new sugar factories can come up in Marathwada. It’s a welcome step, but care should also be taken to monitor the existing 20 sugar factories.
  • Also, when water is scarce, the only way to manage its demand is either by raising its price progressively with use, or by rationing quantity.
  • The government should also consider making drip irrigation almost compulsory for sugarcane. Drip will save almost 40-50% water.

Conclusion:

It’s not the first time, and certainly won’t be the last, that trains had to ferry drinking water in water-stressed areas. Their frequency and coverage may increase, unless some major corrective actions are taken. This crisis should be seen as an opportunity for change that can benefit the masses. The deepening crisis has also inspired a section of opinion-makers to intensify their demands for a nationwide river-linking project — touted to be a long-term solution. But, without assessing the environmental impact and human displacement such a mammoth initiative will trigger, any attempt at linking rivers can result in an even bigger catastrophe. For Maharashtra government, the situation is so dire that it will have to find an immediate solution to prevent a law-and-order problem spiralling out of control.

Environment, Geography, GS-1, GS-3, Uncategorized

The interlinking of rivers offers some solutions, but comes with a big load of problems

  1. Environmental: Inbuilt in the linking philosophy is that the rivers flooding is a disaster and that it should be curbed.
  • River flooding, in lowland areas particularly, is good for agriculture and ecology. If all human civilization and development are due to sustainability of agriculture then there is no earth process that is more beneficial to mankind than natural river flooding.
  • Floods are a constructive geological process, Floods are responsible for alluvium deposits in the Gangetic Plains. The floodwater brings along nutrient rick sediments, which get deposited in the plains, a process so crucial to agriculture.
  • River flooding created fertile plains, by depositing nutrient-rich sediments, which had acquired the textures and mineralogy to hold enormous quantities of water and nutrients. River flooding as a constructive geological process will be eliminated once interlinking takes palce.
  • Allowing the rivers not to flood will cut down the sediment supply and this could cause coastal and delta erosion by waves and longshore currents.
  • On a geological timescale, this will result in a loss of productive farmland as well as small-scale sea transgressions. If the global warming is a reality and taking place, with a consequent sea level rise on the east coast, the cumulative effect of coastal erosion due to reduction of sediment supply and the sea level rise could lead to large scale sea transgressions into the coastal areas.
  1. The floodplains allow the rivers to store store the excess water in these floodplains and deltas during monsoons and release it during dry periods to maintain the minimum flow and to sustain agriculture. The floodplain formation will stop once the rivers are linked.
  2. Whenever water goes through any living body, the chemistry of its dissolved solute changes. The entire ecosystem along a river and at its mouth has evolved in response to the natural and dynamic changes in the chemistry of flowing water as well as small-scale physiographic changes along the river and its adjacent region. This chemistry will change in case of river linking.
  3. There is a strong symbiosis between marine and land life systems on earth. The hydrologic cycle provides fresh water to the land from the oceans. Water, fallen on land either as rainfall on snowfall, weathers rocks on land and picks up the nutrient elements as dissolved solutes, and carries them through surface run-off (rivers) as well as subsurface flows to the sea. The linking of rivers would cause little water to be returned back to sea. If only little water is returned to the oceans there are at least two major consequences.
  • Marine life is deprived of nutrient supply and marine productivity could get adversely affected.
  • The Bay of Bengal (BoB) is uniquely characterised by the presence of a less-dense and low-saline layer of water. The presence of this low-salinity layer helps in the maintenance of high sea-surface temperatures (greater than 28°C), a requirement though to be responsible for the intensification of summer monsoon in the BoB. A very large part of the Indian subcontinent gets summer monsoon rainfall because of the development and maintenance of a low-pressure system in the Bay of Bengal. Monsoons can get adversely affected if floods dont take place.
  • Once reservoirs and virtually a country-wide network of canals are created, this will play havoc with this ecological role. It will not only impoverish river valleys and the prosperity, it will lead to systained displacement of local communities.
  • As one sees in Punjab and Haryana, it will lead to waterlogging and salinity in the absence of proper drainage that rivers provide.
  • It will fragment wildlife habitats: Animals require corridors to connect them to far-flung forests, and these will be severed by the construction of reservoirs and canals.
  1. Political: Moreover, this river-linking plan can become a potential source of perennial conflicts at various level: centre versus state, state versus state, state versus people, urban versus rural etc.
  2. Constitutional: The National River-Linking Plan is a blatant violation of constitutional provisions, especially in two areas.
  • First, it is a cryptic effort to circumvent states’ control over water and placing it in the hands of the centre, de facto.
  • Second, it wipes out all the ambiguous and unresolved issues or rights over water, forest, and land, in just one stroke. This second aspect poses a great threat to the functioning of thousands of field-based smaller action groups engaged in empowering local communities, mostly rural, voiceless and marginalized. It therefore becomes pertinent that such groups have adequate information of the river-linking plan and keep updating it from time to time in the future, as and when the complete picture begins to unravel, especially those groups working in the areas falling under these 30 river links.
  1. The plan may also lead to greater conflict at the international level. Cooperation of neighbouring countries, is crucial for the success of the river-linking project.
  2. Economic-Socio-Environmental Considerations
  • It has been claimed in the official documents that no new reservoirs are planned for construction under this river network plan in Peninsular India but it seems that it is merely a technical jargon. It implies that various dam projects, pending with the government owing to various reasons, will be brought under the fold of this plan and will be put on fast track in the name of national interest. Many of these projects are delayed because of environmental and financial reasons, which mean that now these parameters will be swept away.
  1. Macro-Economic and Financial Factors

The two components of inter-linking, the Himalayan and the Peninsular Rivers Development will cost Rs. 560,000 crores (US $112 billion), at 2003 rates. The enormity of this can be gauged from the fact that this amount is:

  • More than the total debt incurred in last 50 years
  • It is equal to 25% of the national GDP
  • It is 2.5 times more than the tax revenue
  • More than the total market capitalization of India’s 500 biggest companies

The inter-linking of rivers can only be completed by taking massive foreign loans, as many of the current ongoing water development projects are being completed with similar loans. It is really essential to push the country into yet another debt cycle? Why are other successful alternatives not being given priority and tried? In this context it becomes pertinent to look at the performance of the dams.

In last two decades of the past century, very strong anti-dam, mass-based, people’s movements have emerged throughout the country, drawing worldwide attention on some fundamental issues related to water management.

  • As per government claims, overall 79,292 hectares of forest land, will come under the submergence of this project.
  • Secondly, there are 24 river basins in India, as per the MOER, GOI. Even a cursory look at the boundaries of each river basin is enough to tell a common man that a large number of lifts will be involved in the river linking.
  • Thirdly, each river regime is unique in its own way within its own ecosystem. Which will be disrupted
  • Engineering limitations
  • The most important of these pertains to the difficulty of lifting water from the north up to the Deccan. This will entail enormous amounts of energy much of which has to be produced by hydropower to begin with and renders the scheme infructuous from the start.
  • It has been suggested that a Central authority should construct huge reservoirs on the Ganga and Brahmaputra and link these two mighty rivers with canals, thereby diverting surplus waters south-eastwards into the Mahanadi. Any scheme that smacks of gigantomania of this kind ought to be questioned.