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Editorial Today – Interlinking of Rivers

Issue:Interlinking of rivers as a solution to the increase in frequency of extreme climatic conditions.

What is Interlinking of riversRiver Linking is project linking two or more rivers by creating a network of manually created canals, and providing land areas that otherwise does not have river water access and reducing the flow of water to sea using this means.

Why in news:Climate change along with El Nino resulted in harsh summer and caused drought like situation in many areas.

Advantages of Interlinking:

Would address the issues arising due to variability of rainfall.

Helpful in flood and drought aversion.

Improve irrigation facility and hence agricultural productivity.

Job creation and Inland waterways.

Disadvantages of Interlinking:

Would affect environment, ecology and marine life.

Displace people

Would cause problem in case river changes its course.

Challenges:- Topographical, financial and opposition from states.

Note: – Ken Betwa Link

Issue

Climate change along with El Nino resulted in harsh summer and caused drought like situation in many areas. It is evident from following instances:-

  • Many of the minor water tanks have dried up and storage in the 91 nationally monitored reservoirs has gone down.
  • In Latur, problem is so grave that trains have been deployed to carry water from the Krishna River to that district to provide drinking water.
  • Maharashtra has imposed Sec 144(It prohibits gathering of more than 4 people at a place) in some villages fearing people could riot over water.
  • It has revived disputes between water-endowed states and their neighbouring deficit ones. For example Satluj Yamuna Link issue.

Authorities attribute this crisis to climate change but they have failed in taking steps for storing and equitably distributing water.

In India because of Monsoon rain mainly occurs in a four month period from June to September but this water is not harnessed.

What is the solution?

As climate change will continue to affect weather conditions and create water shortages and excesses, the solution lies in expediting the Indian River Linking (IRL) project that was proposed three decades ago.

What is Interlinking of rivers

River Linking is project linking two or more rivers by creating a network of manually created canals, and providing land areas that otherwise does not have river water access and reducing the flow of water to sea using this means.

The Indian Rivers Inter-link is a proposed large-scale civil engineering project that aims to link Indian rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals and so reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts of India

It was proposed during colonial period also but at that time the main intention was to reduce transportation cost of Raw materials and finished product.

 

Advantages of Interlinking:

  • In monsoonrain falls mostly in northern and eastern part in comparison to southern and western part . Thus western and southern parts generally have shortage of water . Interlinking  would ensure water in this area whole round the year.
  • Moreover every year flood occurs in Ganga and Brahmaputra Basin. It can be averted if the surplus water is diverted to deficit region.
  • Interlinking would help in providing irrigation facility to most area and thus agriculture which is the lifeline of this country would improve.
  • It would have commercial importance as it could be used as Inland waterways thus reducing the transportation cost of goods.
  • It could increase jobs like fishing

 

Disadvantages of Interlinking

  • It would have impact on the environment as the ecology of the area where the canal and reservoir would be constructed will change. Also constructing this would lead to deforestation in many areas.
  • It would result in decrease in fresh water entering sea and thus would be threat to marine environment.
  • Rivers generally change their course and mostly when it is in its youth stage. Himalayan rivers are young and they change their course more frequently and these rivers are mostly the water surplus area from where the water needs to be diverted. Thus if river changes it course then the project would not be feasible in the long run.
  • Huge amount of area would be submerged because of the creation of canals and reservoirs and thus large number of people would be displaced. Moreover government has to spend more on their rehabilitation. 

Challenges

  • Since water has become an emotive issue, none of the water-rich states would like to accept that they have surplus water to spare.
  • This project would need huge amount of funding.
  • There is not uniform terrain and thus it would cause problem in constructing canals.

Conclusion

Though interlinking of rivers could be a long term solution but all pros and cons should be evaluated so that it does not cause problem to environment or aquatic life.

There are genuine challenges in interlinking of  rivers on such a large scale but interlinking can be successfully done at local levels like Ken Betwa link where it is politically and financially feasible.

Note: Ken Betwa Link- The Ken and Betwa rivers in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Madhya Pradesh (MP) are to be linked under an historic agreement that marks the first such project in India’s ambitious and controversial national river-linking project.

The first Inter Linking of Rivers (ILR) initiative in the country, the project aims to enhance irrigation and potable water supplies in both states.It envisages the diversion of surplus water in the Ken river basin to the water-deficient Betwa basin through the construction of a dam on the Ken and a canal to transfer the water.

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  • Dead_Man

    nice article

  • aspirant

    thanks for this comprehensive article 🙂