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Inter Linking of Rivers_Shripad, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra_July 16,2014

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What does ILR signify? A look at the core idea behind it, its justification,benefits and issues & problems associated with it.
The author would like to thank UNESCO-IHE for the use of a few slides.

Published in: Environment
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Inter Linking of Rivers_Shripad, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra_July 16,2014

  1. 1. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) Shripad Dharmadhikary, Manthan Adhyayan Kendra Image: Wikimedia Commons
  2. 2. Core Idea  Transfer of “surplus” water from one basin to another “deficit” basin  Transfer from “flooded” rivers to those with “drought and scarcity” Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  3. 3. Rationale and Justification  Need to irrigate 160 m ha for food self sufficiency by 2050, but assessed potential from conventional sources 140 m ha  Floods in one part of the country, droughts in other  Reduction of regional imbalances Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  4. 4. Benefits  Additional irrigation of 25 m ha from surface and 10 m ha from groundwater  34,000 MW of hydropower  Host of other benefits Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  5. 5. The ILR Plans Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Inter Linking of Rivers  Formal name – National Perspective Plan  16 links in Peninsular India  14 links in Himalayan region, several transboundary  Plus, many intra-state links
  6. 6. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Source: NWDA
  7. 7. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Source: NWDA
  8. 8.  Polavaram  Par Tapi Narmada  Ken Betwa  Parbati Kalisindh Chambal Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Some Active ILR Projects
  9. 9. Time Line  Idea of national water grid Dr. K.L Rao (then irrigation Minister), 1972  Garland Canal, Capt. Dastur 1977  Both rejected as “economically prohibitive and “technically infeasible”  MoWR and CWC in 1980 formulated the NPP  Supreme Court order to expedite ILR 2002, complete by 10 years  Supreme Court order of 27 Feb 2012, constitution of a “Special Committee for Interlinking of Rivers” headed by Minister, WR Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  10. 10. Not a new thing Many earlier attempts  Periyar Project  Parambikulam Aliyar  Beas Sutluj Link  Narmada – Sabarmati ! Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Map by: Rehmat/Manthan
  11. 11. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  12. 12. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  13. 13. Issues and Problems  Notion of surplus and deficit problematic  Lack of recognition that different water flows represent different ecological systems  E-flows becoming a major issue in all river basins, e-flows show that current notion of surplus is limited and wrong understanding  A little digression… Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  14. 14. E-flows: Some Concepts Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 “The full range of natural intra- and inter-annual variation in hydrologic regimes, and associated characteristics of timing, duration, frequency, and rate of change, are critical in sustaining the full native biodiversity and integrity of aquatic ecosystems.” (Poff et al. 1997) Flow variation is the characteristic and all important parameter in defining river ecology, livlihoods and lives
  15. 15. 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 19 87- 88 19 88- 89 19 89- 90 19 90- 91 19 91- 92 19 92- 93 Cumecs Ten Day Flows at Demwe Lower Site, Lohit River 1987 to 1992 Flow in Lohit River Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  16. 16. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Mahanadi, Just Below Hasdeo Sangam
  17. 17. Components of the flow regime (Mathews and Richter, 2007)
  18. 18. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Brahmaputra Plains
  19. 19. Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014 Hasdeo River, Tributary of Mahanadi
  20. 20. Ecological functions of flow Channel form Habitat complexity Patch disturbance Biotic diversity Principle 1 Life history patterns • Flowers & seeds • Growth strategy Principle 2 Lateral connectivity Longitudinal connectivity Principle 3 Natural regime discourages invasions Principle 4 Time Discharge Bunn & Arthington 2002 Environmental Flows20
  21. 21. Issues and Problems Apart from a mistaken notion of surplus  No proper definition of surplus or deficit  Surplus estimated based only on irrigation, water supply and hydropower needs  Needs of river, ecology, community, livelihoods not considered  Irrigation needs (maximum possible irrigation) assessed only on basis of large dams systems  Decentralised, rainwater harvesting potential not considered Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014
  22. 22. Issues and Problems  Many dams, canals, tunnels  SANDRP estimates at least 78 dams and barrages  Huge social and environmental impacts  Particularly downstream impacts, displacement  Very high lifts, up to 120 m  Huge financial costs 340,000 crore Himalayan, 103,000 crore Peninsular, at 2003-04 prices  Interstate issues as many rivers are multi-state  International issues – ILR requires dams in Nepal, Bhutan  Diverting attention from real solutions Manthan Adhyayan Kendra July 17, 2014

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