India faces at times a huge gap in demand and supply of water for various purposes like irrigation, drinking and industrial use. This gap is creating more issues with ever increasing population of India.
The reasons for this gap in demand and supply of water are many like: rainfall mostly only during the four month monsoon period June through September; east and north get more rain compared to west and south; India sees years of excess rains that causes flood which are followed by years of below average rains and droughts.
In this series on interlinking of rivers, OneIndia will focus on points to be considered before undertaking such a huge project and the cons of interlinking rivers in the Part 2 while Part 3 will cover the pros of interlinking rivers and the history of water conservation.
A solution suggested to permanently fill this gap between demand and supply of water is interlinking of rivers.
Those who proposed this solution say that India should conserve water in reservoirs when rainfall is abundant and then use the inter linked rivers to supply it the areas which over the time face scarcity of water.
Andhra Pradesh: 50-year-old dream comes true! Godavari, Krishna rivers interlinkedAndhra Pradesh: 50-year-old dream comes true! Godavari, Krishna rivers interlinked
One then is forced to think that when the solution is so simple what is it that is stopping the government of India from implementing such a wonderful project.
Obviously it is not going to be that easy to inter link rivers across India with various states and neighbouring countries also being the stakeholders.
History of Interlinking of rivers:
Gujarat shows the way in interlinking the rivers in India:
By interlinking rivers and allowing water of Narmada available during flood to flow through Narmada main canal to eleven rivers of Gujarat (Heran, Orsang, Karad, Mahi, Saidak, Mohar, Watrak, Sabarmati, Khari, Rupen and Banas); Gujarat has shown how interlinking rivers can solve the most acute shortage of water. This interlinking helps to fill around 700 small and large village tanks and ponds by water of Narmada.
The irrigation department had earlier recharged Saraswati River near Sidhpur with the help of Khorsam-Saraswati lift irrigation scheme, as well as canal escape route. Gujarat state is continuously trying to link more of its rivers so that there is no problem of flooding and drought in the state in the future. Major linking projects underway in Gujarat are Harnav - Guhai Link, Kadana - Bhadar Link, Ukai - Purna Link, Damanganga - Sabarmati - Chorwad Link, Ukai - Godhra Link and many other interstate interlinking projects too.
Godavari and Krishna rivers interlinked:
September last year witnessed interlinking of river Godavari and Krishna in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It was a historic occasion as interlinking of Godavari river with Krishna river was thought up by eminent engineer and former Union minister K L Rao several decades ago.
Thanks to the Pattiseema scheme which lifts Godavari waters that previously used to flow into the sea is now being diverted towards Krishna river in the neighbouring Krishna district. The water that comes to Krishna river will then be diverted to the parched Rayalaseema region.
The interlinking is termed a boon for the farmers in the Krishna delta (mainly those in the Krishna and Guntur districts), who had been facing acute shortage of water after neighbouring Karnataka allegedly raised the height of the Almatti project which was built in 2005.
Germany has interlinked rivers:
Germany has connected Rhine river with Main and Danube rivers across the European Watershed. It runs from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim. The canal is used to connect the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. It provides a navigalbe artery between Rhine Delta in Netherlands and Danube Deltain Romania and Ukraine. This canal has been functioning since 1992 and it is 171 kilometers long.
US too has many interlinked rivers:
The US completed its Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in 1949. This project interlinks 8 rivers, and is located along the Gulf Coast of the United States. The canal is a navigable inland waterway which runs from Florida to Texas and is around 1700 kilometers long. It is used for internal low cost eco friendly transport means and it is also a significant source for fishing industry as well as harvesting and shipping shellfish.
Another manmade canal in the US interlinks river Tennessee and Tombigbee. The canal is 377 kilometers long. This waterway is used for commercial navigation of coal and timber products and also supplies water for industrial use as well as drinking purpose. The water is also used for irrigation purposes.
Illinois Waterway system which is 541 kilometers long was built to interlink a system of rivers, lakes, and canals. This system provides a shipping connection from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River. It is also used for internal navigation and also supplies water for industrial and municipal services.
Watch out this space for more on interlinking of rivers.