|Interlinking of Rivers Awareness Campaign|
Page 1 of 3July 2005
Place: Online Petition and Representation to the government
Through this campaign we highlight different concerns that civil society has with the interlinking of rivers proposal. Interlinking of rivers is presented to the public as a panacea for all water problems. Some facts and logic tell an entirely different story.
Interlinking of Rivers project envisages to achieve the following targets.
Just delving a little into these claims, we see a different picture of the project. The sections below provide some additional insight into these claims.
In summers, when there is drought in either Rajasthan/Gujarat or peninsular India, then it is highly unlikely that Indo-gangetic plain's states would have any water to spare from their own agricultural needs. We already have problems with Bangladesh over the less amount of water that India releases in Ganga during the lean months. If Ganga's water are already being completely utilized such that Bangladesh complains about the Farukkabad barrage, where will we get the water to divert to the drought areas in summers.
Recently Delhi government was unable to convince the UP government to provide raw water for its much hyped Sonia Vihar Plant. When the capital of the country could not weild enough influence on a neighboring state (even after intervention of the prime minister), it seems highly unlikely that water share agreements envisaged in the ILR will ever bear fruit.
Punjab Government has gone back on its Satluj Yamuna Canal commitment last year.
The project will create more troubles than provide solutions. And investing thousands of crores of rupees to invite such inter-state troubles is absolutely unwarranted.
If even a small percentage of this cost is allocated towards reviving water harvesting and conservation structures, the impact (in terms of drought proofing) will be much more substantial.
Flow in Brahamputra in the monsoon months is about 30,000 cu meters/ sec (30,000 cusecs). Capacity of the canals being suggested is of the order of 1,500 cusecs. Even this capacity has huge economic, environmental and social costs. Increasing capacity will be still more detrimental.
Floods can be better prevented by river-basin level measures. Numerous ponds and lakes have gone out of use due to silting and lack of maintainance. If these structures across different basins are revived, they would not only reduce the fury of floods more effectively (because of distributed nature of such structures, instead of the social, environmental and ecological costs, benefits accrue to the participating communities), but also, reduce the intensity of droughts (because these structures would recharge underground aquefiers).