The Cauvery river water dispute raises its head at times of scarcity and in-sufficient rainfall.
Frankly it is futile to rely on Cauvery water for both Karnataka and Tamilnadu for their agricultural needs. It is only to the benefit of chauvinist, anti-India organizations that want to create bloodshed that this problem continues. It will also divert our energy from key issues we need to address for our future.
Chauvinist organizations on both sides have taken up this issue, made it as a fight between two states, so that they can gain foothold in the state through such agitations. The ‘so-called’ national political parties, due to their ineptness and in-efficiency have not addressed this issue and try to use it for their electoral advantage, based on who is in power.
Core of the problem:
1. Due to increase in irrigation area and dams built across Cauvery, during times of insufficient rainfall, water becomes a scarce commodity for all farmers, in upper riparian and lower riparian states.
2. Farmers in India use water-intensive methods for agriculture and have not learnt to use drip-irrigation in farming and other water conservation methods to improve Ground Water Table in their land. While NGO’s have been working in this area, Government has not made it a priority like it made Green Revolution a priority, few decades back. We need a Water Revolution here.
3. Tube wells, Bore wells have become empty of water due to this non-conservation. Also exploitation of Underground water in agricultural fields by Commercial establishments and Big Business establishments have tremendously increased in the last decade, depleting Ground Water Table heavily.
4. Power condition in India has become so worse that even if water is there in bore wells, it cannot be pumped out.
5. Large amount of water is drained into ocean every year, though India is a peninsula and has a huge coastline through which water can be diverted all over India.
6. Whatever water bodies are there, they are polluted by reckless polluting by law-violating business establishments in connivance with corrupt officials. When Ganga and Yamuna can be polluted to such an extent, what about other rivers?
The reason I am talking about other rivers is, there is water in India, if we take into account the whole of India, but we choke the river-ways, do not use them intelligently, do not store them in Ground, do not plan to use excess water from one region in another region. When Californian desert in America can be flooded with piped water from mountain springs hundreds and hundreds of miles away, can we not do the same without disturbing farm lands, agricultural lands (in the name of Ganga-Cauvery integration plan)?
1. The fundamental solution is to improve the water availability. Governments of Karnataka and Tamilnadu should make drip irrigation in farming mandatory. Water conservation efforts should be carried out as the Green Revolution was carried out in every village, every town and every city. They need to be made mandatory and taken up in a planned way, with targets for reducing water consumption every year without decreasing agricultural output.
We need a Water Revolution in both states in which farmers use drip-irrigation and water conservation efforts are mandatory and done in a planned way in all the villages. Like the Green revolution it should have targets to reduce water usage without compromising agricultural output. This should be driven by Government funds on war-footing. This should be implemented in next 4-5 years all over the state in fast paced manner.
2. Ground water exploitation by commercial and big-business establishments should be banned in phased way. First it should be outright banned in 5Km areas around agricultural fields. In other areas the water drawing should be limited and a phased schedule published for complete prohibition.
Ocean De-salinated water alone should be used by commercial and big-business establishments. If it means hotel products and soft-drinks become costlier, then that should be borne by these institutions. This should be done immediately within a year.
3. Water getting drained into Bay of Bengal along the East coast and Arabian sea along the west coast should be diverted downstream on pipelines that are laid along the coastlines. This requires NO land-grabbing. Such diverted water should be stored in reservoirs on the coastlines in every state.
Thus we would have created a river waterway around India along the coastline, which will ensure water during sufficient rainfall is stored in the dams across the coastlines.
With this Karnataka will be receiving water from rivers emptying in Gujarat, Maharashtra etc, while TN will be receiving water from rivers emptying Bengal, Orissa and Andhra.
Each state should make arrangements to pump these water into local reservoirs that can be used for irrigation.
4. Tubewells and Borewells should be gradually abolished except in cases of high need. Power needs for them also will get eliminated.
5. Funds for these should be got from recovered black-money.
Another Idea is to attach the declared assets (the political parties can voluntarily donate their thousands of crores worth assets that they have accumulated) in excess of 50 crores (nationally) and 5 crores (regional).
This could be combined with Electoral reform and state-funding of elections. Hence these parties do not need these much assets. Also today many businessmen fund and run political parties for name-sake just to cover up the Income Tax. All these money will flow in.
I request farmers of both states to realize the futility of their agitations. Instead they should join together and revolt against the political class in both states. They should call for Water revolution in the steps of Green revolution to make these states water self-sufficient in 4-5 years.