Friday, August 21, 2009

Indian drought

Pune is having a water shortage. The monsoon has been erratic both in terms of timing and location. The major dams constructed around Pune have received minimal water in their catchment areas while the city has been inundated. 70% of the Indian population have an Agro based livelihood and are very dependent on seasonal monsoon rains. Crops are sowed during a time every year and Gods are expected to water them. So there is drought every year the monsoon fails. Apart from water and food shortage, there are also wide spread power cuts leading to loss of productivity and inflation. Horrible isn't it?!

There are many short term actions being taken such as:
1) Water and power cuts.
2) Educating people
3) Releasing water through pipelines and using water tankers for transportation instead of releasing water into open canals from the dams

All good, but there must be viable and time-oriented long terms approaches such as:
1) River-linking project
2) Desalination plants

Desalination plants are good but cost and fuel prohibitive in spite of increasing use of reverse osmosis technology over traditional thermal distillation techniques. A bigger problem is the transportation of water from these plants to the remote areas of our country that need them most. This is where the river linking project would be most useful. They would also help mitigate the floods in the Brahmaputra, Kosi and Ganga river basins, if planned properly. The environmentalists will be crying their hearts out but should we rather watch people die? If they have an alternative to solve the problem, there are people ready to listen. But the problem must be solved rather then delayed.


Chetan Vaity said...

Another long-term action item must be Irrigation. Currently states like Punjab and Haryana do not fear a drought as much as Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar etc.

Maverick said...

Agree building a good irrigation network helps. Some villages in our country do not even have basic necessities such as electricity and roads. I wonder how long would it take to bring water to them.