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Sustainable Management of Water Resource in India: Feasibility of Linking the Rivers

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Abstract

The history of development is the story of struggle to achieve human security at the expense of ecological security. The aridity, human thirst, water control and political power have always been intricately related. Time and again, water has been the means of consolidating power in the human society. In the beginning of the new millennium, water has become a major issue of the Indian politics. Our country is known to be the gift of its unique river systems. The rivers have been flowing along the lines, which are unquestionably the best possible routes of flowing water. But now there is a plan to alter the courses of rivers. The idea is to modify the delicately balanced natural system and introduce a controlled hydraulic system to combat the twin problems of flood and drought. The 174 billion cubic metres of water would be diverted from the so-called water-excess areas to the water-short areas to irrigate 35 million hectares of land. This is more than 25% of the utilisable surface water of the country. This water will be diverted largely from the Ganga–Brahmaputra basin (GBB). The per capita available water in the Ganga basin is about 1473 m3, and this is less than the national average (1869 km3). Still the Government is planning to divert water from the Ganga basin to facilitate water-intensive agriculture in the drought-prone areas. Whilst there is nothing called excess in the perfectly balanced hydrological system, the proponents of this megaproject identify the monsoon freshet in the GBD as excess and thus ‘wasted’. The cost of the megaproject may ultimately exceed the GDP of the country. This chapter critically reviews the viability of the project from ecological and economic standpoint.

Keywords

  • Flood
  • Drought
  • Hydrological equity

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Correspondence to Kalyan Rudra .

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Rudra, K. (2017). Sustainable Management of Water Resource in India: Feasibility of Linking the Rivers. In: Nath, K., Sharma, V. (eds) Water and Sanitation in the New Millennium. Springer, New Delhi. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-3745-7_17

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