oppn parties Sharing River Water Needs Prudent Management

News Snippets

  • Trouble brews in Bihar JD(U)-BJP alliance as Bihar police asks special branch officers to keep tabs on RSS activities
  • Trust vote in Karnataka assembly today. With rebel MLAs deciding to stay away after the SC order, the Congress-JD(S) government is likely to fall as it does not have the numbers
  • Amit Shah says the government will identify and deport illegal immigrants from all parts of the country
  • Reports from Pakistan confirm that Hafiz Saeed has been arrested and sent to jail
  • After the SC order, Karnataka Speaker says he will go by the Constitution in deciding on the resignations of the 16 MLAs
  • Rebel MLAs say they will not attend the trust vote on Thursday
  • Supreme Court rules that rebel MLAs cannot be forced to attend the assembly and vote in the floor test
  • Both the Centre and the Assam government have sought re-verification of up to 20% of draft NRC data
  • Pakistan opens its airspace for Indian planes
  • Dilapidated building collapses in Mumbai, killing more than 10 people while many were still trapped
  • Kulbhushan Jadhav case verdict to be delivered today by the ICJ
  • A Vistara flight landed in Lucknow with just 5 to 10 minutes of fuel left in the tank
  • Supreme Court to decide on Karnataka MLAs plea today
  • Karnataka alliance to face floor test on Thursday
  • China says that the next Dalai Lama will be appointed by it
International Court of Justice agrees with India, stays Kulbhushan Jadhav's execution. It asks Pakistan to allow consular access to the accused.
oppn parties
Sharing River Water Needs Prudent Management

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Several things emerge out of the Supreme Court verdict on sharing of the Cauvery waters between Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The most important is that such disputes should reach the courts as the last resort. Instead of establishing individual authorities – like the Cauvery Dispute Tribunal – there must be a permanent apex body consisting of experts that should go into all aspects of river waters and their sharing between states. The mandate of this body must be beyond just sharing and must encompass areas such as reducing wastage in agricultural sector, polluting of rivers by industries and citizens (yes, even citizens are not immune from this disease) and ground water recharge, among other things. This must be done basin wise for all rivers in the country.

It has to be recognized that water is not an infinite resource – in fact, India is fast becoming a water deficient country with availability going down from 1820 to 1545 cubic metres in ten years between 2001 and 2011. This alarming state of affairs is largely due to poor management practices. In agriculture, for instance, one finds that whole fields are inundated with water when drip irrigation is more scientific and consumes just a fraction of water. Even yields are better in several crops. The government needs to focus on educating farmers about the benefits of drip irrigation. It should also give incentives to farmers who use such scientific methods.

Even in cities water is wasted, largely because there is no political will to charge consumers for using water beyond a minimum basic level. Often, one hears about water meters and how people will have to pay for using water. But nothing comes out of it as no political party is willing to anger the voters. But this results in people wasting a scarce resource. Prudent water management requires that people who manage their needs better be rewarded and those who indulge in wastage be penalized. Hence, although the apex court has awarded more water to Karnataka based on the growing needs of a fast expanding Bengaluru, a reverse audit on water wastage should also be done to find out whether the needs are genuine or can be met with more prudency in managing existing resources.

image courtesy: Frontline magazine