NCERT Textbook - Water Resources Class 10 Notes | EduRev

Social Studies (SST) Class 10

Class 10 : NCERT Textbook - Water Resources Class 10 Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


You already know that three-fourth of the
earth’ s surface is covered with water, but only
a small proportion of it accounts for
freshwater that can be put to use. This
freshwater is mainly obtained from surface
run off and ground water that is continually
being renewed and recharged through the
hydrological cycle. All water moves within the
hydrological cycle ensuring that water is a
renewable resource.
You might wonder that if three-fourth of
the world is covered with water and water is
a renewable resource, then how is it that
countries and regions around the globe suffer
from water scarcity? Why is it predicted that
by 2025, nearly two billion people will live in
absolute water scarcity?
WATER SCARCITY AND THE NEED FOR WATER
CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
Given the abundance and renewability of
water, it is difficult to imagine that we may
suffer from water scarcity. The moment we
speak of water shortages, we immediately
associate it with regions having low rainfall
or those that are drought prone. We
instantaneously visualise the deserts of
Rajasthan and women balancing many
‘matkas’ (earthen pots) used for collecting
and storing water and travelling long
distances to get water. True, the availability
of water resources varies over space and time,
mainly due to the variations in seasonal and
annual precipitation, but water scarcity in
2020-21
Page 2


You already know that three-fourth of the
earth’ s surface is covered with water, but only
a small proportion of it accounts for
freshwater that can be put to use. This
freshwater is mainly obtained from surface
run off and ground water that is continually
being renewed and recharged through the
hydrological cycle. All water moves within the
hydrological cycle ensuring that water is a
renewable resource.
You might wonder that if three-fourth of
the world is covered with water and water is
a renewable resource, then how is it that
countries and regions around the globe suffer
from water scarcity? Why is it predicted that
by 2025, nearly two billion people will live in
absolute water scarcity?
WATER SCARCITY AND THE NEED FOR WATER
CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
Given the abundance and renewability of
water, it is difficult to imagine that we may
suffer from water scarcity. The moment we
speak of water shortages, we immediately
associate it with regions having low rainfall
or those that are drought prone. We
instantaneously visualise the deserts of
Rajasthan and women balancing many
‘matkas’ (earthen pots) used for collecting
and storing water and travelling long
distances to get water. True, the availability
of water resources varies over space and time,
mainly due to the variations in seasonal and
annual precipitation, but water scarcity in
2020-21
24 CONTEMPORARY INDIA – II
consequent greater demands for water, and
unequal access to it. A large population
requires more water not only for domestic
use but also to produce more food. Hence, to
facilitate higher food-grain production, water
resources are being over -exploited to expand
irrigated areas for dry-season agriculture.
Irrigated agriculture is the largest consumer
of water . Now it is needed to revolutionise the
agriculture through developing drought
resistant crops and dry farming techniques.
You may have seen in many television
advertisements that most farmers have their
Fig. 3.1:  Water Scarcity
most cases is caused by over-exploitation,
excessive use and unequal access to water
among different social groups.
Where is then water scarcity likely to
occur? As you have read in the hydrological
cycle, freshwater can be obtained directly
from precipitation, surface run off and
groundwater.
Is it possible that an area or region may
have ample water resources but is still facing
water scarcity? Many of our cities are such
examples. Thus, water scarcity may be an
outcome of large and growing population and
Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink:
After a heavy downpour, a boy collects drinking
water in Kolkata. Life in the city and its adjacent
districts was paralysed as incessant overnight rain,
meaning a record 180 mm, flooded vast area and
disruted traffic.
A Kashmiri earthquake survivor carries water in
the snow in a devastated village.
2020-21
Page 3


You already know that three-fourth of the
earth’ s surface is covered with water, but only
a small proportion of it accounts for
freshwater that can be put to use. This
freshwater is mainly obtained from surface
run off and ground water that is continually
being renewed and recharged through the
hydrological cycle. All water moves within the
hydrological cycle ensuring that water is a
renewable resource.
You might wonder that if three-fourth of
the world is covered with water and water is
a renewable resource, then how is it that
countries and regions around the globe suffer
from water scarcity? Why is it predicted that
by 2025, nearly two billion people will live in
absolute water scarcity?
WATER SCARCITY AND THE NEED FOR WATER
CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
Given the abundance and renewability of
water, it is difficult to imagine that we may
suffer from water scarcity. The moment we
speak of water shortages, we immediately
associate it with regions having low rainfall
or those that are drought prone. We
instantaneously visualise the deserts of
Rajasthan and women balancing many
‘matkas’ (earthen pots) used for collecting
and storing water and travelling long
distances to get water. True, the availability
of water resources varies over space and time,
mainly due to the variations in seasonal and
annual precipitation, but water scarcity in
2020-21
24 CONTEMPORARY INDIA – II
consequent greater demands for water, and
unequal access to it. A large population
requires more water not only for domestic
use but also to produce more food. Hence, to
facilitate higher food-grain production, water
resources are being over -exploited to expand
irrigated areas for dry-season agriculture.
Irrigated agriculture is the largest consumer
of water . Now it is needed to revolutionise the
agriculture through developing drought
resistant crops and dry farming techniques.
You may have seen in many television
advertisements that most farmers have their
Fig. 3.1:  Water Scarcity
most cases is caused by over-exploitation,
excessive use and unequal access to water
among different social groups.
Where is then water scarcity likely to
occur? As you have read in the hydrological
cycle, freshwater can be obtained directly
from precipitation, surface run off and
groundwater.
Is it possible that an area or region may
have ample water resources but is still facing
water scarcity? Many of our cities are such
examples. Thus, water scarcity may be an
outcome of large and growing population and
Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink:
After a heavy downpour, a boy collects drinking
water in Kolkata. Life in the city and its adjacent
districts was paralysed as incessant overnight rain,
meaning a record 180 mm, flooded vast area and
disruted traffic.
A Kashmiri earthquake survivor carries water in
the snow in a devastated village.
2020-21
25 WATER RESOURCES
You may have already realised that the
need of the hour is to conserve and manage
our water resources, to safeguard ourselves
from health hazards, to ensure food security ,
continuation of our livelihoods and
productive activities and also to prevent
degradation of our natural ecosystems. Over
exploitation and mismanagement of water
resources will impoverish this resource and
cause ecological crisis that may have
profound impact on our lives.
own wells and tube-wells in their farms for
irrigation to increase their produce. But have
you ever wondered what this could result in?
That it may lead to falling groundwater levels,
adversely affecting water availability and food
security of the people.
Post-independent India witnessed
intensive industrialisation and urbanisation,
creating vast opportunities for us. Today,
large industrial houses are as commonplace
as the industrial units of many MNCs
(Multinational Corporations). The ever-
increasing number of industries has made
matters worse by exerting pressure on
existing freshwater resources. Industries,
apart from being heavy users of water, also
require power to run them. Much of this
energy comes from hydroelectric power.
Today, in India hydroeclectric power
contributes approximately 22 per cent of
the total electricity produced. Moreover,
multiplying urban centres with large and
dense populations and urban lifestyles have
not only added to water and energy
requirements but have further aggravated
the problem. If you look into the housing
societies or colonies in the cities, you would
find that most of these have their own
groundwater pumping devices to meet their
water needs. Not surprisingly, we find that
fragile water resources are being over-
exploited and have caused their depletion
in several of these cities.
So far we have focused on the
quantitative aspects of water scarcity . Now,
let us consider another situation where water
is sufficiently available to meet the needs
of the people, but, the area still suffers from
water scarcity. This scarcity may be due to
bad quality of water. Lately , there has been
a growing concern that even if there is ample
water to meet the needs of the people, much
of it may be polluted by domestic and
industrial wastes, chemicals, pesticides and
fertilisers used in agriculture, thus, making
it hazardous for human use.
India’s rivers, especially the smaller ones,
have all turned into toxic streams. And even
the big ones like the Ganga and Yamuna
MULTI-PURPOSE RIVER PROJECTS AND
INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
But, how do we conserve and manage water?
Archaeological and historical records show that
from ancient times we have been constructing
sophisticated hydraulic structures like dams
built of stone rubble, reservoirs or lakes,
embankments and canals for irrigation. Not
surprisingly , we have continued this tradition
in modern India by building dams in most of
our river basins.
From your everyday experiences, write a short
proposal on how you can conserve water.
are far from being pure. The assault on
India’s rivers – from population growth,
agricultural modernisation, urbanisation and
industrialisation – is enormous and growing
by the day….. This entire life stands
threatened.
Source: The Citizens’ Fifth Report, CSE, 1999.
Hydraulic Structures in Ancient India
• In the first century B.C., Sringaverapura
near Allahabad had sophisticated water
harvesting system channelling the flood
water of the river Ganga.
• During the time of Chandragupta Maurya,
dams, lakes and irrigation systems were
extensively built.
• Evidences of sophisticated irrigation works
have also been found in Kalinga,
(Odisha), Nagarjunakonda (Andhra
Pradesh), Bennur (Karnataka), Kolhapur
(Maharashtra), etc.
2020-21
Page 4


You already know that three-fourth of the
earth’ s surface is covered with water, but only
a small proportion of it accounts for
freshwater that can be put to use. This
freshwater is mainly obtained from surface
run off and ground water that is continually
being renewed and recharged through the
hydrological cycle. All water moves within the
hydrological cycle ensuring that water is a
renewable resource.
You might wonder that if three-fourth of
the world is covered with water and water is
a renewable resource, then how is it that
countries and regions around the globe suffer
from water scarcity? Why is it predicted that
by 2025, nearly two billion people will live in
absolute water scarcity?
WATER SCARCITY AND THE NEED FOR WATER
CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
Given the abundance and renewability of
water, it is difficult to imagine that we may
suffer from water scarcity. The moment we
speak of water shortages, we immediately
associate it with regions having low rainfall
or those that are drought prone. We
instantaneously visualise the deserts of
Rajasthan and women balancing many
‘matkas’ (earthen pots) used for collecting
and storing water and travelling long
distances to get water. True, the availability
of water resources varies over space and time,
mainly due to the variations in seasonal and
annual precipitation, but water scarcity in
2020-21
24 CONTEMPORARY INDIA – II
consequent greater demands for water, and
unequal access to it. A large population
requires more water not only for domestic
use but also to produce more food. Hence, to
facilitate higher food-grain production, water
resources are being over -exploited to expand
irrigated areas for dry-season agriculture.
Irrigated agriculture is the largest consumer
of water . Now it is needed to revolutionise the
agriculture through developing drought
resistant crops and dry farming techniques.
You may have seen in many television
advertisements that most farmers have their
Fig. 3.1:  Water Scarcity
most cases is caused by over-exploitation,
excessive use and unequal access to water
among different social groups.
Where is then water scarcity likely to
occur? As you have read in the hydrological
cycle, freshwater can be obtained directly
from precipitation, surface run off and
groundwater.
Is it possible that an area or region may
have ample water resources but is still facing
water scarcity? Many of our cities are such
examples. Thus, water scarcity may be an
outcome of large and growing population and
Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink:
After a heavy downpour, a boy collects drinking
water in Kolkata. Life in the city and its adjacent
districts was paralysed as incessant overnight rain,
meaning a record 180 mm, flooded vast area and
disruted traffic.
A Kashmiri earthquake survivor carries water in
the snow in a devastated village.
2020-21
25 WATER RESOURCES
You may have already realised that the
need of the hour is to conserve and manage
our water resources, to safeguard ourselves
from health hazards, to ensure food security ,
continuation of our livelihoods and
productive activities and also to prevent
degradation of our natural ecosystems. Over
exploitation and mismanagement of water
resources will impoverish this resource and
cause ecological crisis that may have
profound impact on our lives.
own wells and tube-wells in their farms for
irrigation to increase their produce. But have
you ever wondered what this could result in?
That it may lead to falling groundwater levels,
adversely affecting water availability and food
security of the people.
Post-independent India witnessed
intensive industrialisation and urbanisation,
creating vast opportunities for us. Today,
large industrial houses are as commonplace
as the industrial units of many MNCs
(Multinational Corporations). The ever-
increasing number of industries has made
matters worse by exerting pressure on
existing freshwater resources. Industries,
apart from being heavy users of water, also
require power to run them. Much of this
energy comes from hydroelectric power.
Today, in India hydroeclectric power
contributes approximately 22 per cent of
the total electricity produced. Moreover,
multiplying urban centres with large and
dense populations and urban lifestyles have
not only added to water and energy
requirements but have further aggravated
the problem. If you look into the housing
societies or colonies in the cities, you would
find that most of these have their own
groundwater pumping devices to meet their
water needs. Not surprisingly, we find that
fragile water resources are being over-
exploited and have caused their depletion
in several of these cities.
So far we have focused on the
quantitative aspects of water scarcity . Now,
let us consider another situation where water
is sufficiently available to meet the needs
of the people, but, the area still suffers from
water scarcity. This scarcity may be due to
bad quality of water. Lately , there has been
a growing concern that even if there is ample
water to meet the needs of the people, much
of it may be polluted by domestic and
industrial wastes, chemicals, pesticides and
fertilisers used in agriculture, thus, making
it hazardous for human use.
India’s rivers, especially the smaller ones,
have all turned into toxic streams. And even
the big ones like the Ganga and Yamuna
MULTI-PURPOSE RIVER PROJECTS AND
INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
But, how do we conserve and manage water?
Archaeological and historical records show that
from ancient times we have been constructing
sophisticated hydraulic structures like dams
built of stone rubble, reservoirs or lakes,
embankments and canals for irrigation. Not
surprisingly , we have continued this tradition
in modern India by building dams in most of
our river basins.
From your everyday experiences, write a short
proposal on how you can conserve water.
are far from being pure. The assault on
India’s rivers – from population growth,
agricultural modernisation, urbanisation and
industrialisation – is enormous and growing
by the day….. This entire life stands
threatened.
Source: The Citizens’ Fifth Report, CSE, 1999.
Hydraulic Structures in Ancient India
• In the first century B.C., Sringaverapura
near Allahabad had sophisticated water
harvesting system channelling the flood
water of the river Ganga.
• During the time of Chandragupta Maurya,
dams, lakes and irrigation systems were
extensively built.
• Evidences of sophisticated irrigation works
have also been found in Kalinga,
(Odisha), Nagarjunakonda (Andhra
Pradesh), Bennur (Karnataka), Kolhapur
(Maharashtra), etc.
2020-21
26 CONTEMPORARY INDIA – II
What are dams and how do they help us
in conserving and managing water? Dams
were traditionally built to impound rivers and
rainwater that could be used later to irrigate
agricultural fields. Today , dams are built not
just for irrigation but for electricity
generation, water supply for domestic and
industrial uses, flood control, recreation,
inland navigation and fish breeding. Hence,
dams are now referred to as multi-purpose
projects where the many uses of the
impounded water are integrated with one
another . For example, in the Sutluj-Beas river
basin, the Bhakra – Nangal project water is
being used both for hydel power production
and irrigation. Similarly , the Hirakud project
in the Mahanadi basin integrates conservation
of water with flood control.
Multi-purpose projects, launched after
Independence with their integrated water
resources management approach, were
thought of as the vehicle that would lead the
nation to development and progress,
overcoming the handicap of its colonial past.
Jawaharlal Nehru proudly proclaimed the
dams as the ‘temples of modern India’; the
reason being that it would integrate
development of agriculture and the village
economy with rapid industrialisation and
growth of the urban economy .
Fig. 3.2: Hirakud Dam
We have sown the crops in Asar
We will bring Bhadu in Bhadra
Floods have swollen the Damodar
The sailing boats cannot sail
Oh! Damodar, we fall at your feet
Reduce the floods a little
Bhadu will come a year later
Let the boats sail on your surface
(This popular Bhadu song in the Damodar
valley region narrates the troubles faced by
people owing to the flooding of Damodar river
known as the river of sorrow.)
• In the 11
th
 Century, Bhopal Lake, one of the
largest artificial lakes of its time was built.
• In the 14
th
 Century, the tank in Hauz Khas,
Delhi was constructed by Iltutmish for
supplying water to Siri Fort area.
Source: Dying Wisdom, CSE, 1997.
A dam is a barrier across flowing water that
obstructs, directs or retards the flow, often
creating a reservoir, lake or impoundment.
“Dam” refers to the reservoir rather than the
structure. Most dams have a section called a
spillway or weir over which or through which
it is intended that water will flow either
intermittently or continuously. Dams are
classified according to structure, intended
purpose or height. Based on structure and
the materials used, dams are classified as
timber dams, embankment dams or masonry
dams, with several subtypes. According to
the height, dams can be categorised as large
dams and major dams or alternatively as low
dams, medium height dams and high dams.
Find out more about any one traditional
method of building dams and irrigation works.
In recent years, multi-purpose projects
and large dams have come under great
scrutiny and opposition for a variety of
reasons. Regulating and damming of rivers
affect their natural flow causing poor sediment
flow and excessive sedimentation at the bottom
of the reservoir, resulting in rockier stream
2020-21
Page 5


You already know that three-fourth of the
earth’ s surface is covered with water, but only
a small proportion of it accounts for
freshwater that can be put to use. This
freshwater is mainly obtained from surface
run off and ground water that is continually
being renewed and recharged through the
hydrological cycle. All water moves within the
hydrological cycle ensuring that water is a
renewable resource.
You might wonder that if three-fourth of
the world is covered with water and water is
a renewable resource, then how is it that
countries and regions around the globe suffer
from water scarcity? Why is it predicted that
by 2025, nearly two billion people will live in
absolute water scarcity?
WATER SCARCITY AND THE NEED FOR WATER
CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
Given the abundance and renewability of
water, it is difficult to imagine that we may
suffer from water scarcity. The moment we
speak of water shortages, we immediately
associate it with regions having low rainfall
or those that are drought prone. We
instantaneously visualise the deserts of
Rajasthan and women balancing many
‘matkas’ (earthen pots) used for collecting
and storing water and travelling long
distances to get water. True, the availability
of water resources varies over space and time,
mainly due to the variations in seasonal and
annual precipitation, but water scarcity in
2020-21
24 CONTEMPORARY INDIA – II
consequent greater demands for water, and
unequal access to it. A large population
requires more water not only for domestic
use but also to produce more food. Hence, to
facilitate higher food-grain production, water
resources are being over -exploited to expand
irrigated areas for dry-season agriculture.
Irrigated agriculture is the largest consumer
of water . Now it is needed to revolutionise the
agriculture through developing drought
resistant crops and dry farming techniques.
You may have seen in many television
advertisements that most farmers have their
Fig. 3.1:  Water Scarcity
most cases is caused by over-exploitation,
excessive use and unequal access to water
among different social groups.
Where is then water scarcity likely to
occur? As you have read in the hydrological
cycle, freshwater can be obtained directly
from precipitation, surface run off and
groundwater.
Is it possible that an area or region may
have ample water resources but is still facing
water scarcity? Many of our cities are such
examples. Thus, water scarcity may be an
outcome of large and growing population and
Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink:
After a heavy downpour, a boy collects drinking
water in Kolkata. Life in the city and its adjacent
districts was paralysed as incessant overnight rain,
meaning a record 180 mm, flooded vast area and
disruted traffic.
A Kashmiri earthquake survivor carries water in
the snow in a devastated village.
2020-21
25 WATER RESOURCES
You may have already realised that the
need of the hour is to conserve and manage
our water resources, to safeguard ourselves
from health hazards, to ensure food security ,
continuation of our livelihoods and
productive activities and also to prevent
degradation of our natural ecosystems. Over
exploitation and mismanagement of water
resources will impoverish this resource and
cause ecological crisis that may have
profound impact on our lives.
own wells and tube-wells in their farms for
irrigation to increase their produce. But have
you ever wondered what this could result in?
That it may lead to falling groundwater levels,
adversely affecting water availability and food
security of the people.
Post-independent India witnessed
intensive industrialisation and urbanisation,
creating vast opportunities for us. Today,
large industrial houses are as commonplace
as the industrial units of many MNCs
(Multinational Corporations). The ever-
increasing number of industries has made
matters worse by exerting pressure on
existing freshwater resources. Industries,
apart from being heavy users of water, also
require power to run them. Much of this
energy comes from hydroelectric power.
Today, in India hydroeclectric power
contributes approximately 22 per cent of
the total electricity produced. Moreover,
multiplying urban centres with large and
dense populations and urban lifestyles have
not only added to water and energy
requirements but have further aggravated
the problem. If you look into the housing
societies or colonies in the cities, you would
find that most of these have their own
groundwater pumping devices to meet their
water needs. Not surprisingly, we find that
fragile water resources are being over-
exploited and have caused their depletion
in several of these cities.
So far we have focused on the
quantitative aspects of water scarcity . Now,
let us consider another situation where water
is sufficiently available to meet the needs
of the people, but, the area still suffers from
water scarcity. This scarcity may be due to
bad quality of water. Lately , there has been
a growing concern that even if there is ample
water to meet the needs of the people, much
of it may be polluted by domestic and
industrial wastes, chemicals, pesticides and
fertilisers used in agriculture, thus, making
it hazardous for human use.
India’s rivers, especially the smaller ones,
have all turned into toxic streams. And even
the big ones like the Ganga and Yamuna
MULTI-PURPOSE RIVER PROJECTS AND
INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
But, how do we conserve and manage water?
Archaeological and historical records show that
from ancient times we have been constructing
sophisticated hydraulic structures like dams
built of stone rubble, reservoirs or lakes,
embankments and canals for irrigation. Not
surprisingly , we have continued this tradition
in modern India by building dams in most of
our river basins.
From your everyday experiences, write a short
proposal on how you can conserve water.
are far from being pure. The assault on
India’s rivers – from population growth,
agricultural modernisation, urbanisation and
industrialisation – is enormous and growing
by the day….. This entire life stands
threatened.
Source: The Citizens’ Fifth Report, CSE, 1999.
Hydraulic Structures in Ancient India
• In the first century B.C., Sringaverapura
near Allahabad had sophisticated water
harvesting system channelling the flood
water of the river Ganga.
• During the time of Chandragupta Maurya,
dams, lakes and irrigation systems were
extensively built.
• Evidences of sophisticated irrigation works
have also been found in Kalinga,
(Odisha), Nagarjunakonda (Andhra
Pradesh), Bennur (Karnataka), Kolhapur
(Maharashtra), etc.
2020-21
26 CONTEMPORARY INDIA – II
What are dams and how do they help us
in conserving and managing water? Dams
were traditionally built to impound rivers and
rainwater that could be used later to irrigate
agricultural fields. Today , dams are built not
just for irrigation but for electricity
generation, water supply for domestic and
industrial uses, flood control, recreation,
inland navigation and fish breeding. Hence,
dams are now referred to as multi-purpose
projects where the many uses of the
impounded water are integrated with one
another . For example, in the Sutluj-Beas river
basin, the Bhakra – Nangal project water is
being used both for hydel power production
and irrigation. Similarly , the Hirakud project
in the Mahanadi basin integrates conservation
of water with flood control.
Multi-purpose projects, launched after
Independence with their integrated water
resources management approach, were
thought of as the vehicle that would lead the
nation to development and progress,
overcoming the handicap of its colonial past.
Jawaharlal Nehru proudly proclaimed the
dams as the ‘temples of modern India’; the
reason being that it would integrate
development of agriculture and the village
economy with rapid industrialisation and
growth of the urban economy .
Fig. 3.2: Hirakud Dam
We have sown the crops in Asar
We will bring Bhadu in Bhadra
Floods have swollen the Damodar
The sailing boats cannot sail
Oh! Damodar, we fall at your feet
Reduce the floods a little
Bhadu will come a year later
Let the boats sail on your surface
(This popular Bhadu song in the Damodar
valley region narrates the troubles faced by
people owing to the flooding of Damodar river
known as the river of sorrow.)
• In the 11
th
 Century, Bhopal Lake, one of the
largest artificial lakes of its time was built.
• In the 14
th
 Century, the tank in Hauz Khas,
Delhi was constructed by Iltutmish for
supplying water to Siri Fort area.
Source: Dying Wisdom, CSE, 1997.
A dam is a barrier across flowing water that
obstructs, directs or retards the flow, often
creating a reservoir, lake or impoundment.
“Dam” refers to the reservoir rather than the
structure. Most dams have a section called a
spillway or weir over which or through which
it is intended that water will flow either
intermittently or continuously. Dams are
classified according to structure, intended
purpose or height. Based on structure and
the materials used, dams are classified as
timber dams, embankment dams or masonry
dams, with several subtypes. According to
the height, dams can be categorised as large
dams and major dams or alternatively as low
dams, medium height dams and high dams.
Find out more about any one traditional
method of building dams and irrigation works.
In recent years, multi-purpose projects
and large dams have come under great
scrutiny and opposition for a variety of
reasons. Regulating and damming of rivers
affect their natural flow causing poor sediment
flow and excessive sedimentation at the bottom
of the reservoir, resulting in rockier stream
2020-21
27 WATER RESOURCES
beds and poorer habitats for the rivers’ aquatic
life. Dams also fragment rivers making it
difficult for aquatic fauna to migrate,
especially for spawning. The reservoirs that
are created on the floodplains also submerge
the existing vegetation and soil leading to its
decomposition over a period of time.
Multi-purpose projects and large dams
have also been the cause of many new
environmental movements like the ‘Narmada
Bachao Andolan’ and the ‘T ehri Dam Andolan’
etc. Resistance to these projects has primarily
been due to the large-scale displacement of
local communities. Local people often had to
give up their land, livelihood and their meagre
access and control over resources for the
greater good of the nation. So, if the local
people are not benefiting from such projects
then who is benefited? Perhaps, the
landowners and large farmers, industrialists
and few urban centres. Take the case of the
landless in a village – does he really gain from
such a project?
Irrigation has also changed the cropping
pattern of many regions with farmers shifting
to water intensive and commercial crops. This
has great ecological consequences like
salinisation of the soil. At the same time, it
has transformed the social landscape i.e.
increasing the social gap between the richer
landowners and the landless poor . As we can
see, the dams did create conflicts between
people wanting different uses and benefits
from the same water resources. In Gujarat,
the Sabarmati-basin farmers were agitated
and almost caused a riot over the higher
priority given to water supply in urban areas,
particularly during droughts. Inter -state water
disputes are also becoming common with
regard to sharing the costs and benefits of
the multi-purpose project.
Narmada Bachao Andolan or Save
Narmada Movement is a Non Governmental
Organisation (NGO) that mobilised tribal
people, farmers, environmentalists and
human rights activists against the Sardar
Sarovar Dam being built across the
Narmada river in Gujarat. It originally
focused on the environmental issues related
to trees that would be submerged under the
dam water. Recently it has re-focused the
aim to enable poor citizens, especially
the oustees (displaced people) to get
full rehabilitation facilities from
the government.
People felt that their suffering would not
be in vain… accepted the trauma of
displacement believing in the promise of
irrigated fields and plentiful harvests. So,
often the survivors of Rihand told us that they
accepted their sufferings as sacrifice for the
sake of their nation. But now, after thirty bitter
years of being adrift, their livelihood having
even being more precarious, they keep
asking: “Are we the only ones chosen to
make sacrifices for the nation?”
Source: S. Sharma, quoted in In the Belly of
the River. Tribal conflicts over development in
Narmada valley, A. Baviskar, 1995.
Make a list of inter-state water disputes.
Do you know that the Krishna-Godavari
dispute is due to the objections raised by
Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh
governments? It is regarding the diversion
of more water at Koyna by the Maharashtra
government for a multipurpose project. This
would reduce downstream flow in their
states with adverse consequences for
agriculture and industry .
Sardar Sarovar Dam has been built over
the Narmada River in Gujarat. This is one
of the largest water resource projects of
India covering four states—Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan.
The Sardar Sarovar project would meet the
requirement of water in drought-prone and
desert areas of Gujarat (9,490 villages and
173 towns) and Rajasthan (124 villages).
Source: http://www.sardarsarovardam.org/
project.aspx
2020-21
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