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HomeEditorialCreative governance needed to manage water resource-Part I

Creative governance needed to manage water resource-Part I

Water is an issue that cuts across all aspects of social and economic life in India. Compartmentalised responses are unlikely to be adequate to address the current crises. There is a need for an integrated approach which addresses source sustainability, land use management, agricultural strategies, demand management, and the distribution and pricing of water. With growing pressures due to climate change, migration and population growth, creative and imaginative governance is needed to manage this precious resource.

The death toll from a fresh spell of monsoon-driven floods in India has jumped to over 200 and affected more than a million residents. Heavy rain and landslides have also forced hundreds of thousands of people in southern and western India to take shelter in relief camps, while train services were cancelled in several flood-hit areas. This is every year, hundreds of citizens shed their lives, many migrate and some suffer entire life, the loss of beloved once is an irrecoverable injury. India’s monsoon season starts from June and lasts till September. It sees heavy rains which refill the country’s water reservoirs and are vital for agriculture but cause immense destruction and loss of life. Dozens died in floods in India every year, particularly in the eastern states of Bihar and Assam, last month, with the inundation causing heavy losses to farms, homes, and infrastructure. All because of rising deforestation, poor urban planning, and increased urbanisation as the reasons behind the rise in the intensity of the floods.

India suffers in two extreme conditions, one is heavy pour and another is drought, at least 330 mn people are likely to be affected by acute shortages of water. As the subcontinent awaits the imminent arrival of the monsoon rains, bringing relief to those who have suffered the long, dry and exceptionally warm summer, the crisis affecting India’s water resources is high on the public agenda.

Unprecedented drought demands unconventional responses and there have been some fairly unusual attempts to address this year’s shortage. Perhaps most dramatic was the deployment of railway wagons to transport 500,000 litres of water per day across the Deccan plateau, with the train traversing more than 300km to provide relief to the district of Latur in Maharashtra state. The need to shift water on this scale sheds light on the key issue that makes water planning in the Indian subcontinent so challenging. While the region gets considerable precipitation most years from the annual monsoon, the rain tends to fall in particular places – and for only a short period of time (about three months). This water needs to be stored and made to last for the entire year.

In most years, it also means that there is often too much water in some places, resulting in as much distress due to flooding as there currently is due to drought. So there is a spatial challenge as well – water from the surplus regions needs to reach those with a shortfall, and the water train deployed in Maharashtra is one attempt to achieve this.

Kolhapur is a city on the banks of the Panchganga River; water has started receding in Maharashtra’s flood-hit Kolhapur district and the Mumbai- Bengaluru national highway, which has been closed due to waterlogging for last six days. Continuous discharge of water from Almatti dam in Karnataka brought down the water level of the Panchganga River in Kolhapur where it was flowing above the danger mark. Kolhapur and Sangli districts have been battling unprecedented floods since the last eight days following heavy rains in Konkan and western parts of the state where 40 people have lost their lives in the deluge. Nearly 4.48 lakh people were so far evacuated from flood-hit areas across the state, including 4.04 lakh from Kolhapur and Sangli. They were shifted to 372 temporary camps and shelters, a senior state official said on August 11. Rescuers, including the NDRF and military personnel, received kudos from locals for the relief work.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

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Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 14 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazine Beyond The News (international). She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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