Interlinking of Rivers

Scientific Reports

Posted by Susan Sharma on October 15, 2005

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There is an urgent need for scientific study reports to be made available in the public domain. In the absence of transparency in big projects, media reports become the only source of news and these reports can be manipulated/used for political aims. Worse still, extreme positions are taken by the affected parties with the result that sustainable solutions become difficult to implement

Interlinking of Rivers

The Assam experience-Official statement in Parliament

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 25, 2005

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"Interlinking of rivers under National Perspective Plan (NPP) prepared by Central Government envisages construction of storage dams. The storage dams reduce the severity of floods and flood damages considerably.

Preliminary studies done by National Water Development Agency (NWDA), the flood peaks are estimated to be reduced by about 20-30% in Brahmaputra basin. Under the NPP, Manas-Sankosh-Tista-Ganga link project has been identified for preparation of Feasibility Report. According to the preliminary studies done by NWDA, irrigation benefits to the extent of 2.08 lakh hectare to Assam State in the districts of Goalpar, Dhubri, Kokrajhar and Barpeta is envisaged under the link."

However, the National Water Development Agency which functions under the central Water Resources Ministry has not been able to release any of its studies and reports to the public.

Interlinking of Rivers

A balanced view?

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 25, 2005

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In nature what is linked are not rivers but water itself, through the hydrological cycle. A balanced water cycle demands a holistic policy that promotes forest cover, prevents erosion, enhances ground water through micro-watershed structures and provides for de-siltation and maintenance of existing tanks, lakes and reservoirs.

Eco-tour

Eco-tour rating

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 15, 2005

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The Malaysian Tourism Department has developed an eco-rating system for their eco-tourism operations ranging from Ec0-1 to Ec0-5. 

ECO-5 should be the ultimate goal for ecotourism supporters, whether they are tour operators, the travelling public, or the resource management agencies. This includes

  • no advertising in non-recyclable magazines.
  • Transportation must be in environmentally friendly vehicles.
  • On-site accommodations and all visitor and staff activities must be benign to the environment.
  • Heating and air-conditioning would be solar and low-impact.
  • Foods and souvenirs would be produced in sustainable ways.
  • All residual products would have to be handled in a benign way.
  • Sewage containment and treatment would be an absolute requirement.
  • Used products would be recycled, soaps and cleaning solutions would be biodegradable, and non-degradation of the environment would be the standard.

This rating system takes into consideration many types of ecotourism categories, facilities and activities available at ecotourism sites in Malaysia. Easily accessibility through Internet, transparency of the rating, accountability of a person who use the system, and the incorporation of knowledge from domain experts and field data are the strength of this rating system. New knowledge and information could easily be incorporated into the system.

Interlinking of Rivers

The india Experience-Gujarat

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 09, 2005

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Many large scale projects with potential impact on large populations are still designed with little scrutiny, if not secrecy. Here is how Gujarat has adverised its linking plans. 1. Major river Narmada being linked with other rivers in the state. 2.Surplus water being moved to deficit areas by linking two holy rivers, Narrmada and Saraswati. 3.Water of Narmada to travel a distance of 414 kms to recharge Saraswati. 4. Revival of holy River Saraswati at Siddhpur, Matrugaya 5. Matrugaya is known for Matru Shraddh as is Prayag for Pitru Shradh 6. Restoring the religious and historical importance of Siddhipur-Matru-Gaya-Titrth. Jalabhishek was performed on 8th Sep 2005, to mark the great confluence of holy rivers Saraswati-Narmada Mahasangam.

Interlinking of Rivers

The Chinese experience

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 08, 2005

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The south-north transfer project in China includes three different routes that are to interlink the Yangtze river ( which has relative "surplus" water) and the yellow river ( which is severely overcommitted). The North China plain is home to a population of over 300 million and is undergoing critical water scarcity, with the common patterns of declining acquifiers, reduced allocation to agriculture, shortages in supply to cities and severe environmental problems of pollution and siltation. The first phase aiming at the diversion of 20 Bm2 has started with an estimated cost of $ 17 billion and the likely displacement of 3,00,000 people.

Interlinking of Rivers

The Thailand Experience

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 08, 2005

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Pilot Projects worth US $ 1 million are expected to be kickstarted soon. This will consist of a diversion of Mae Klong water to Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan. According to the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, "whatever the outcome of the pilot project" the government will finish all 13 schemes within five years.

Interlinking of Rivers

The Indian Experience

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 08, 2005

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, has sought the cooperation of all the political parties, non-Governmental Organisations and people of the State to fully harness the potential of Godavari and Krishna river basins by completing the irrigation projects. The Chief Minister said that the significance of the gigantic task taken up by the Government should be understood from the fact that 700 tmcft of Godavari water was already let into the sea and 500 tmcft of Krishna water would also join the sea. The only strategy for over all development of agrarian economy was to fully tap Godavari floodwater and divert a part of it to the Krishna basin, he added.

Dr. Reddy said tenders to the tune of Rs. 30,000 crores had been finalised and 33 major irrigation projects had been prioritised for completion at a whopping cost of Rs. 50,000 crores.

In accordance with the Cabinet decision, the Chief Minister deputed Finance Minister, K. Rosaiah and Home Minister K. Jana Reddy to perform Gangamma puja at Nagarjunasagar project on Thursday. The Major Irrigation Minister, Ponnala Laxmaiah, would perform a similar puja at Srisailam reservoir, while the Sports Minister, M. Satyanarayan Rao, would visit the Sriramsagar project. The Higher Education Minister P. Venkateswara Rao and Panchayat Raj Minister J. C. Diwakar Reddy would perform puja at the Prakasam barrage.

Interlinking of Rivers

The American Experience

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 06, 2005

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Dams in 11 States being pulled out in 2005 ( Source: Environment News Service 1 Sep 2005)

 56 Dams in 11 States in the U.S are being removed in 2005 according to the latest survey conducted by the Conservation Group "American Rivers".

This trend is the result of renewed appreciation for free flowing, healthy streams and ageing of much of the nation's dams infrastructure. 185 dams have been removed since 1999. Only about 3% of the dams in the U.S have hydroelectric turbines. Most were built for purposes such as running mills, controlling floods and creating water supplies or recreational parks.

"While dams can provide valuable services, the ecological price is high", American Rivers said. "Dams drown valuable habitat under reservoirs, block the annual migration of fish and can create downstream conditions inhospitable for fish and wildlife. Dams also create several safety hazards, some of which increase with age".

Interlinking of Rivers

Nepal: East Rapti River Basin

Posted by Susan Sharma on September 05, 2005

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The East Rapti River basin includes the Royal Chitwan National Park of Nepal.

Two researchers from the International Water Management Institute ( Srilanka) have suggested that linking social preferences -read rural livelihood-to eco-hydrological science -read planning for water allocation- is the challenge of the future. Their research has come to the conclusion that arriving at acceptable limits for water resources exploitation must consider the relationship between river flow and eco-system, in order to be viable.

The research report is available online at the website

http://www.iwmi.cgiar.org




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