Sunday, 18 September 2016

River Water Conflicts

  • India's rainwater remains the same 4,000 BCM (billion cubic metres).
  • Population has quadrupled since 1951.
  • In the context of a growing economy, we have to better manage this finite water source, although it is a renewable resource.
  • Cauvery water fights are result of over all demand being in excess of availability by more than 2 times.
  • The only way to solve this Cauvery water problem is to reduce demand match its availability.
  • Apart from inter-state rivalries that cause a political headache, most states are dealing with upstream-downstream conflicts within their borders. 
  • Large-scale basin transfers seemingly appear to solve immediate water problems, it is sure to create much bigger problems in future. Hence this is unsustainable.
  • Cities must use local resources first, including urban wastewater, to immediately reduce their demand on distant water.
  • Rainfall patterns and river flows are not guaranteed anymore. 
  • Climate change driven rainfall variations are happening just when we have reduced base flows in rivers due to over-exploitation of groundwater.
  • Rivers are so much polluted and do not even reach the sea.
  • Transparent river flow data sharing will allow efficient utilization of river waters but most state governments manipulate data leading to less efficient water utilization.
  • Participatory groundwater management is a must for efficient and sustainable utilization of ground water but it is a long way to go to develop systems and gets matured.
  • We have to become a low-water society, coming from the urgent need to create economic prosperity for all. We have to re-imagine and overhaul water consumption patterns to optimize every drop, across all competing users - agriculture, industry, and urban and rural domestic needs. So that all rivers flows peacefully and perennially and preserving ecology.
  • We need to have integrated institutions for surface water and ground water to be treated compositely so that water can be governed more wisely, both for quantity and quality.
  • Pollution control boards need to be radically restructured and made far more accountable to the public interest and safeguarding smaller rivers getting destroyed with urban sewerage and pollutants.

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