Sunday, November 9, 2014

More conflicts over water of large reservoirs are expected as big dams continue to fail in this nation!

At 72 per cent of the total storage capacity, 85 important reservoirs of the country sound an alarming bell  

As per information received from the Central Water Commission, 85 of the important reservoirs (we can call it major reservoirs) of the country as on 5th November 2014 was 111.957 BCM that is 72 per cent of their total storage capacity at Full Reservoir Level (FRL).  This was 128.73 BCM on 11th September last year, a huge reduction.  In fact on October 01, 2014 it was 121.396 BCM which is 78% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs.  So, within a month, we have already experienced a 6 per cent reduction. Large dams continue to fail in this nation!

Yesterday only I had posted in this blog about the drastic reduction of sowing in Wheat, Gram and Pulses.  Even though there is no data available as yet from the government that could establish the exact relationship between the reduced water availability of water in these reservoirs and the decrease in farming, we can assume about this especially in cases of reservoirs which are providing irrigation. 

Reduced water levels in the reservoirs would mean more conflicts between different uses. Farmers and hydro power generation are going to suffer in cases such as Hirakud where there is already a growing conflict due to illegal and excessive withdrawal of water by the industrial houses making irrigation and hydro power generation to suffer. 

Storage Reduction in Eastern Region including Odisha:  As per the CWC, the Eastern region that includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura, has 15 reservoirs having a total storage capacity of 18.83 BCM. The total storage available in these reservoirs as of 5th November 2014 was 14.71 BCM which is 78 per cent of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. The storage during corresponding period of last year was 88 per cent, which means these reservoirs are running at a capacity reduction of 10 per cent from the previous year.

As I have always said, India’s water woes have a solution in decentralized water harvesting and management through small structures that are done in ecologically sustainable models so that the entire river basins are recharged, as against the centralized large storage systems which have more negatives to offer than they can contribute positively.

Ranjan Panda

Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha
Convenor, Combat Climate Change Network, INDIA
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Global Waterkeeper Alliance)

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