Not many would be in disagreement that if rivers are interlinked after taking into consideration various points like its feasibility, displacement of people, its effect on ecology and international constraints the project would sure lead to more economic prosperity.
Interlinking of rivers as can be seen from various successful examples proves that it can help not only people living in rural areas but also urban population. It can bring down pollution levels by working as eco friendly means of transportation too.
In the last part of the series on interlinking rivers OneIndia brings to you the pros of interlinking rivers and how it was used in ancient times also with great success.
Pros of interlinking the rivers:
Global environmental review of IBTs Snaddon, Davis and Wishart in 1999 advocated using precautionary principle and concluded that: "In many parts of the world, water transfers have become the lifeblood of developing and extant human settlements, for which no alternative is currently perceived to be available". The major boons that mankind can derive from interlinking rivers are:
It will reduce the poverty and floods and also distribute water equally.
The main occupation of rural India is agriculture and if monsoon fails in a year, then agricultural activities come to a standstill and this will aggravate rural poverty. Interlinking of rivers will be a practical solution for this problem, because the water can be stored or water can be transferred from water surplus area to deficit.
The Ganga Basin, Brahmaputra basin sees floods almost every year. In order to avoid this, the water from these areas has to be diverted to other areas where there is scarcity of water. This can be achieved by linking the rivers. There is a two way advantage with this - floods will be controlled and scarcity of water will be reduced.
Interlinking of rivers will also have commercial importance on a longer run. This can be used as inland waterways and which helps in faster movement of goods from one place to other. Interlinking of river will boost transportation in india and thus transportation of raw material and products will be faster and cost effective.This will reduce price of commodity and thus will improve standard of living.
Interlinking creates a new occupation for people living in and around these canals and it can be the main areas of fishing in India.
Interlinking rivers in ancient times:
Here are few examples of how interlinking was done thousands of years back in India and it was used for the benefit of people:
Bhojtal which still provides drinking water to 40 percent residents of Bhopal, the capital city of present day state of Madhya Pradesh was built by interlinking 365 tributaries as per the local folklore.
Dholavira which is a settlement off the coast of Gujarat and dates back to the Indus Valley civilization had lakes to collect monsoon runoff, bunds and inlet channels to divert water. Archaeologists have found this desert city also had intricate drainage system for storm water, drinking water and waste. Dholavira which was laid out on a slope between two storm water channels, is an example of sophisticated engineering that was present with mankind many thousands of year back.
Grand Anicut or Kallanai built by Karikala Chola around 2nd century AD, across the river Cauvery to divert water for irrigation is still functional.
The Chandela Kings of Bundelkhand, Madhya Pradesh, who ruled the region around 851 - 1545 A.D. had established a network of several hundred tanks that ensured a satisfactory level of groundwater. The tanks were constructed by stopping the flow of a nullah or a rivulet running between 2 hills with a massive earthen embankment. The quartz reefs that ran under the hills confined the water between them.