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Drought And Deluge: Conflict and the Solution

July 13, 2019 , 0 Comments



Drought And Deluge


Contrasting
images…. The bizarre fact is that both images are not only from the same state of
Maharashtra but also are contemporary. One side Mumbai is facing deluge and
on the other side, there is a drought-like condition in Marathwada region wherein
people don't even have sufficient water for daily needs. Ask anyone and they
will promptly reply that the solution is rainwater harvesting. However, there
lies the issue a) Who is responsible for creating infrastructure for rainwater
harvesting? and b) What is the most effective solution? Let's deal with each
question:

Who is responsible for creating infrastructure
for rainwater harvesting?

In
typical bureaucratic style of functioning, Government departments issue directives
that all new housing societies will be required to develop rainwater
harvesting facility. The government here is merely shifting the responsibility on to
the citizens. While in reality, considering the situation, it is the government
which should undertake large scale water harvesting measures.

This
automatically takes us to the next question that is “What is the most effective solution?”

In
my humble view, such directives to housing societies are grossly ineffective
and merely hogwash considering that millions of gallons of rainwater are getting
wasted and pushed out to sea. How much water can a few of the housing societies
save? A droplet in the ocean. Some readers will parrot the famous saying "boond
boond se banta sagar". However, given the condition, substantially larger
and impactful steps need to be taken. We need to ensure that a limited amount of
fresh water is pushed out to the sea be it rainwater or river water.

Hence
am suggesting two of the many possible large scale solutions which government should
swiftly undertake:

1. Connect Mumbai's stormwater drains with
large storage facility

Mumbai's
most unique infrastructure amongst Indian cities is its widespread out storm
water drain network. They are meant to pump rainwater out to the sea. Propose
that the stormwater drain be connected to a pipeline and the rainwater (post-initial
few showers of rain) is pumped to a new large lake outside the city. A basic treatment the facility shall be created at the proposed lake and thereafter the water be
pumped across to drier parts i.e. Marathwada where water can be taken to the
existing dams or new lake can be created to store the water.

While
many will find this quite elaborate but it certainly pales in front of the water
scarcity and projects like Kaleshwaram (wherein we are pumping river water).

2. Collecting River Water (Ultra Long Term
Solution) but we need to start now – Point in the case in Kalpasar Project



‘Kalpasar’
means a lake that fulfills all the wishes. The word originating from Hindu
mythological ‘Kalpa Vriksha’– wishing tree.
This project will resolve four vital problems of the State
of Gujarat which are water, electrical power, road-rail transport and
development of ports.


Kalpasar
project aims at the creation of a freshwater coastal reservoir in
the Gulf of Khambhat by the construction of a dam connecting the east
and west bank of the Gulf. In the reservoir, the runoff
from Sabarmati, Mahi, Dhadar, and Narmada will be
stored, together with the waters from the Saurashtra rivers discharging
into the Gulf of Khambhat. The stored waters are to be used for
irrigation, domestic and industrial water requirements in the Saurashtra
region. Kalpasar is considered the evident solution for solving on the short as
well as on the long term the threatening drinking and irrigation water problems
in Saurashtra.

A 10
lane road link will also be set up over the dam, greatly reducing the distance
between Saurashtra and South Gujarat.

Once the Gulf is closed, water levels within the reservoir can
be controlled while the tidal fluctuation outside the reservoir
continues and, hence, can be harnessed for the generation of tidal energy.
In addition to fresh water storage and tidal
power generation, Kalpasar also aims at land reclamation, transportation
improvements and fisheries development.
The
cost of the project is estimated at ₹90,000 crore (as of 2017).

Project history:
Gulf
of Khambhat was identified as a promising site for tidal power generation by
UNDP Expert, Mr. Eric Wilson in the year 1975. Successive governments were then
presented in details the possibility of a project, aptly named Kalpasar Project
by its visionary Dr. Anil Kane, who conceptualized it in the 80s as a feasible
project. In 1988-89 a reconnaissance report was prepared for the dam across the
Gulf of Khambhat. The report concluded that assuming sound foundation
conditions, the closure of the Gulf was technically feasible. Studies are still
going on and the length of the proposed dam is reduced and the tidal power
component is dropped.

In
2004, Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of Gujarat, had inaugurated work
on Kalpasar Dam project. 

Sadly
no progress has been made and the project languishes.
After 21
pre-feasibility reports, 10 on-going studies and 19 more in the pipeline, Gujarat’s
Kalpasar project yet to see the light of day. Sadly State Government has made the budget allocation of only Rs 130 Cr in the recent budget of FY20 towards the
Project.
It is clear that successive Governments have
shown apathy towards the project considering the longer time frame and large
capital outlays. Only wish that considering BJP government both at Center &
State and a Gujarat CM, this project were given due importance. There are
very few projects, which can meet the water requirement of the entire state.

Some will question the selection of the
proposal/project that has been shared here. I can only state these are only
two of the many large scale projects that can be undertaken to save water –
every drop of water.

In the end, I will reiterate that we now need
to undertake large scale, long term projects before it is too late. Just imagine,
if Kalpasar project were complete by now and one of the generally arid states
was water sufficient. Just imagine!!

 Numerounity
_________

PS: This is an original article, any copy or plagiarism is seriously condemned. Please take author's permission for any kind of reproduction or so. 

__________

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