Add river project: not easy to connect rivers
Recently, six states of North India signed an agreement on the Renuka Dam to be built in Upper Yamuna Basin on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The issue of Renuka Dam has been hanging in the balance for more than two decades due to various reasons.
Indeed, the summer season does not come in our country yet, plans are being made about the availability of water and the concern is started. It’s got to be seen every year. This problem arises due to the uneven availability of water in small rivers, lakes and ponds etc. in the country … and one of its possible solutions gave birth to the concept of connecting rivers.
Background of ‘River Joint’ in India
The idea of adding a river to India was first proposed by Sir Arthur Thomas Cotton in 1858 by a British irrigation engineer. But since then no special progress has been made on this issue. In fact, there is no disagreement among states, no legal provision for the Center’s interference, and environmental concerns have emerged as a major obstacle in its path. In July 2014, the central government approved the formation of a special committee to link rivers.
The lifeline of the living beings is rivers
Rivers are considered the lifeline of humans and all other creatures. It is evident from the fact that all the world’s largest human civilizations have developed on either side of some river. The main sources of irrigation and drinking water are the rivers. Apart from this, waterways are considered to be the most economical medium of transport … and livelihood of millions of people is also connected with rivers.
Water goes waste in large quantities
The total amount of water on the surface of our country is 690 billion cubic meters per year, but only 65 per cent of the water is used. The remaining water goes waste in the ocean, but it keeps the ecological balance of the earth and the oceans and fresh water and sea.
However there are also spatial and temporary causes affecting the availability of water. As a result, conditions like drought and floods go hand in hand with India. For a country where a large portion of the population does not have clear water available, this situation is definitely worrisome.
Use of rivers water should be maximized
Connecting rivers is one way to ensure maximum use of rivers water.
In this process, the river with excess water is connected to low water streams.
For example, the capacity of the basin of the Godavari river is 110 billion cubic meters of water per year, whereas in Kaveri it is only 21 billion cubic meters. In order to make maximum use of the water of the river Godavari, extra water can be added to the Kaveri river.
Apart from this, many other short term and long term remedies can be taken in addition to inter-basin water transfer to reduce the possible environmental impacts arising from connecting rivers.
What is the situation now?
Under the National Perspective Plan for the development of water resources through the inter-basin water transfer prepared in 1980, the National Water Development Authority (FASI) has prepared 30 contacts (Peninsular component) for preparation of Feasibility Report Under 16 and Himalayan component 14) has been identified. According to this plan, various hydro projects with capacity of 3000 reservoirs and 34 thousand MW capacity have to be constructed along with 30 canals. In addition, on completion, irrigation facilities can be provided on 87 million hectares of land. The Ken-Betwa link project is the first link of this large river Junkies scheme. But the huge expenditure on this plan is not easy for a developing country like India. According to the 2002 estimates, this plan was estimated to cost $ 123 billion. 17 years after today the cost is fixed
Ken-Betwa river contact
So far only Ken-Betwa contacts have been done and some progress is seen on the ground. This is the first river project of the country which has some progress. Under this river contact, the extra water of the Ken river has to be inserted into the river Betwa through the canals. With the completion of this project, the affected areas of Uttar Pradesh and Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh will benefit, and there will be availability of irrigation, hydro-electricity and drinking water.
Let us tell you that the Ken River comes out from the hills of Kaimur located in Madhya Pradesh and after the distance of 427 km, it is found in Yamuna in Banda, Uttar Pradesh. At the same time, Betwa rises from Raisen district of Madhya Pradesh and after 576 kms distance, it is found in Yamuna in Hamirpur, Uttar Pradesh.
Benefits of adding river
The problem of drinking water will be reduced
Drought and flood will reduce the problem
Economic prosperity will improve the quality of life of people
There will be significant increase in the share of irrigated area in agriculture.
Availability of hydroelectric will result in inexpensive and clean energy
Transport costs will be reduced by the development of shipping
The development of the tourist destinations will increase the level of development
Stoppage of river link
The river link project is an ambitious and important project. But the ongoing dispute over water between states is the biggest obstacle in connecting rivers. Connecting rivers is an extremely difficult task in itself, but it gets tougher when the affiliated states get entangled with the sharing of water. There has been a dispute over water sharing between rivers in different states across the country for a long time. The situation is so serious that orders of various tribunals and Supreme Court have also failed to solve it. The government should seek to create a national water policy immediately after consultation with the States, which can solve the environmental and social concerns of India in connection with excessive exploitation of ground water, water related disputes and water related issues. After working on these reforms, a very expensive project like River Junk should be implemented.
National water mission
The main objective of the National Water Mission is to conserve water within and outside the states through its consolidated water resources development and management, minimize waste and more equally distributed.
5 major mission targets
To make public the comprehensive water database and assess the impact of climate change on water resources
To promote civil and government action for water conservation, promotion and preservation
Focusing on weaker areas including more water-stressing areas
Increasing water usage efficiency by 20 percent
Promoting Basin Level and Integrated Water Resources Management
Water is considered to be a matter of states in the Constitution, but the discussion of rivers which flows in more than one state, declares them as a national asset also attracts from time to time. The Supreme Court, while giving its final decision on the Cauvery water dispute, said that water of any inter-state river is a national property and no state can claim its name on these rivers.