Q.1. Multipurpose river projects are referred as the ‘temples of modern India.’ Elucidate.
Why did Jawaharlal Nehru proudly proclaim the dams as the temples of modern India? (2010)
Ans. Multipurpose River Projects were launched after Independence with the approach of integrated water resource management. The objective was to provide multifarious benefits that would lead to the development and progress of the nation, overcoming the handicap of its colonial past. Jawaharlal Nehru had proudly proclaimed the present-day dams or multipurpose projects as ‘temples of modern India’. The reason behind this was that these projects integrate the development of agriculture with rapid industrialisation and lead to the progress of both the village and urban economy.
The benefits provided by Multipurpose Projects include :
(i) Providing water to those areas which suffer from water scarcity.
(ii) Irrigation of agricultural fields during dry season as well as in regions of scanty or inadequate rainfall.
This helps in increasing agricultural productivity and bringing more area under cultivation.
(iii) Flood control by regulating flow of water.
(iv) Water supply for domestic and industrial purposes.
(v) Generation of hydroelectricity for our industries and homes.
(vi) Inland navigation for the purpose of transport and trade.
(vii) Fish breeding.
(viii) Recreational facilities.
(ix) Soil conservation through afforestation.
As a result of these benefits that lead to all round development of the nation, the multipurpose projects are termed as ‘temples of modern India.’
Q.2. In recent years, multipurpose projects and large dams have come under great scrutiny and opposition. Explain why. (2010)
What objections have been raised against multipurpose river valley projects? Explain any three.
Ans. In recent years, multipurpose projects and large dams have come under great scrutiny and opposition for a variety of reasons.
(i) Regulating and damming of rivers affect their natural flow and lead to sedimentation and rockier stream beds which become poorer habitats for aquatic life.
(ii) Fragmentation of the river, its diversion and barricading due to building of dams affect migration and spawning of aquatic life.
(iii) The reservoirs that are created on the floodplain overflow and submerge the existing vegetation and soil and consequently lead to their decomposition and land degradation.
(iv) Ironically, the dams that were constructed with the objective of flood control have triggered floods due to sedimentation in the reservoir and release of excess water during heavy rains.
(v) The primary cause of resistance to some multipurpose projects like the ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ and the ‘Tehri Dam Andolan’ by activists of social and ecological movements is large scale displacement of local communities who lose their livelihood when ousted from their land for the projects.
(vi) Landowners and large farmers, industrialists and a few urban centres are benefited while the more numerous local people who give up their land for the projects hardly receive any benefit. This widens the social gap between the rich and the poor and leads to social tensions.
(vii) Interstate water disputes with regard to sharing the costs and benefits of multi-purpose projects are leading to tension between states, e.g. Kaveri-Godavari dispute, Sabarmati water dispute.
(viii) It has also been observed that multipurpose projects induced earthquakes, caused water borne-diseases and pests, and led to pollution resulting from excessive use of water.
Q.3. What are interstate water disputes? Why are such issues raised? Give examples of interstate water disputes.
Ans. Tension created between two or more states regarding sharing of river water mainly due to construction of multipurpose projects is termed as interstate water dispute. Interstate water disputes arise between states regarding sharing of the costs and benefits of the multipurpose projects. When a river flows through two or more states, damming at one state may affect the flow and volume in another state. If the flow is not regulated, one state may derive multiple benefits from the river, and another state may suffer leading to interstate disputes. Interstate water disputes :
(i) The Krishna-Godavari dispute is due to the objections raised by Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh regarding the diversion of more water at Koyna, a tributary of river Krishna, by Maharashtra government for the Koyna hydroelectric project. The construction of the multipurpose project would reduce downstream flow in their states with adverse consequences for their agriculture and industry.
(ii) The Kaveri water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu regarding sharing of the water of Kaveri river.
(iii) Narmada River water dispute involving Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra.
(iv) Ravi-Beas water dispute between Punjab and Haryana.
(v) Mandovi-Mahadayi-Vansadhara and dispute between Goa, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
Q.4. Write about the rooftop rainwater harvesting system prevalent in Meghalaya. How is the bamboo drip irrigation system employed for water harvesting in Meghalaya.
Ans. Rooftop rainwater harvesting is the most common practice in Shillong, Meghalaya. Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, is situated only at a distance of 55 km from Mawsynram, the place receiving highest rainfall in the world. Yet, it faces acute water shortage as it is located in the rainshadow area on the leeward side of Khasi hills. So, nearly every household has rainwater harvesting structure to tap whatever amount of rainfall is received by the area for use during dry periods. Nearly 15 to 25 percent of the total water requirement of the households comes from rooftop rainwater harvesting.
The Bamboo-drip irrigation system prevalent in Meghalaya is 200-years old system of tapping stream and spring water by using bamboo pipes. Bamboo grows naturally in plenty in the region. Hence, bamboos are used instead of pipes for collection of water free of cost. Bamboo pipes are used to divert water from perennial springs on the hilltops to the lower reaches by gravity. The channel sections, made of bamboo, divert water to the plant site where it is distributed into branches, again made and laid out with different forms of bamboo pipes. The flow of water into the pipes is controlled by manipulating the pipe positions. The last channel section enables water to be dropped near the roots of the plant.
About 18-20 litres of water enters the bamboo pipe system, gets transported over hundreds of metres, and finally reduces to 20-80 drops per minute at the site of the plant.
Q.5. An area or region may have ample water resources but still face water scarcity. Explain why such circumstances arise.
(i) Water scarcity in most of the cities are an outcome of dense and growing population. The multiplying urban centres and urban lifestyles of the huge population have not only added to water and power requirements but have also aggravated the problem by over-exploiting available groundwater resources.
(ii) A large and growing population results in greater demands of water and consequently unequal access to it, especially in rural areas.
(iii) More water is required for domestic use by the multiplying population. Over and above, available water resources are over- exploited for expanding irrigation and dry season farming to facilitate higher food grain production. Over-irrigation may lead to falling groundwater levels, adversely affecting water availability and food security of the people.
(iv) Ever-increasing number of industries with their heavy consumption of water and hydroelectricity have placed undue pressure on the existing freshwater resources.
(v) Another situation of water scarcity arises when the available water resources are rendered unusable due to pollution by discharge of effluents from industries, use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers in agriculture and due to dumping of domestic wastes.
Q.6. Identify the reasons (any three) for water scarcity specially, in metropolitan towns. Suggest one measure that in your opinion can lead to a more equitable distribution of available water supply.
Ans. Metropolitan towns are characterised by large and dense population and intensive urbanisation as well as industrialisation. The fast development demands excess use of water leading to water scarcity. The main reasons for water scarcity in metropolitan towns are as follows :
(i) The dense population with urban lifestyles not only consumes more water and energy for daily domestic requirements but has further aggravated the problem by over-exploiting the available groundwater resource. Housing societies and colonies in the metropolitan cities have their own groundwater pumping devices to meet their water needs. As such, the groundwater level in the cities has been adversely affected due to over-exploitation.
(ii) Industries and multinational corporations in the metropolitan cities have made the water situation worse. They have exerted pressure on existing freshwater resources due to heavy consumption of water and hydroelectricity.
(iii) Water pollution due to discharge of domestic and industrial wastes into water bodies leads to water scarcity.
A more equitable distribution of available water supply throughout the country can be achieved through linking of the river systems of India. This can distribute the water in the various river basins from areas of surplus to areas with deficient water resources.
Q.7. Water is available in abundance in India but even then scarcity of water is experienced in major parts of the country. Explain with four examples.
Ans. India receives nearly 4 per cent of the global precipitation. The total renewable water resources of India are estimated at 1,897 sq km per annum. Inspite of this fact that water is available in abundance in India, scarcity of water is experienced in major parts of the country. At present India ranks 133rd in the world in terms of water availability per person per annum. It is predicted that by 2025, large parts of India will join countries or regions having absolute water scarcity.
Geographically, some parts of India like the desert region of Rajasthan receive low rainfall and are drought-prone. Thus, water shortage is a common and regular problem of such regions. The metropolitan cities of India like Mumbai and Kolkata face acute water shortage on account of large and dense populations and their urban lifestyles requiring more water and power consumption. The multistoreyed buildings and housing complexes or colonies have their own groundwater pumping devices which lead to over-exploitation and depletion leading to water scarcity.
In the industrial areas of Uttar Pradesh, National Capital Region, Bihar etc. water pollution due to discharge of effluents and industrial wastes and chemicals has turned big rivers like Ganga and Yamuna into toxic streams. Though freshwater resources are present in sufficient quantities, it is unfit and hazardous for human use. In agriculturally advanced regions of India like Punjab, Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh, to facilitate higher food grain production for our growing population, water resources are being over-exploited to expand irrigated areas and dry-season agriculture. Over-irrigation in these areas have adversely affected water-availability.
Q.8. How have intensive industrialisation and urbanisation passed a great pressure on existing freshwater resources in India? Explain with two examples for each.
Ans. Intensive industrialisation and urbanisation in the post-independence period have exerted great pressure on existing freshwater resources of India. The following examples further explain their effects on the fragile water resources of India. Effects of industralisation. Industries like cotton textile mills of Maharashtra, jute textile mills of Hooghly basin in West Bengal and all the iron and steel plants in the Damodar Valley region and other parts of the country are heavy users of water and require large supply of hydroelectricity. The existing freshwater sources of these regions are over-exploited as a result. Discharge of industrial effluents and dumping of industrial wastes and chemicals have turned big rivers like Ganga and Yamuna into toxic streams unfit and hazardous for human use. Pollution of the freshwater resources have lead to water scarcity.
Effects of urbanisation. The metropolitan cities of India like Mumbai and Kolkata face acute water shortage on account of large and dense population and their urban lifestyles requiring more water and power consumption.
Housing societies and colonies and multistoreyed buildings in the cities have their own groundwater pumping devices which lead to over-exploitation and depletion of the fragile water resources.