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Interlinking of Rivers*

CASE STUDY, STRATEGY
ET Cases - FLAME, 9 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Abhijat Arun Abhyankar - Associate Professor, Aayushi Gupta, Madhura Taskar, Lakhan Khandelwal - Students, National Institute of Construction Management and Research, Pune

Case Preview

Interlinking of Rivers

 

Earth is also known as the Blue Planet – for the fact that 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered with water. However, out of that, 96.5% is salt water, while only 3.5% is fresh water. Further, the amount of fresh water contained in rivers, streams, lakes etc. accounts to only 0.7% of the total water content. The ever-increasing population of the world is causing a strain on the limited water resources leading to water scarcity, especially in the developing countries. In India, the problem of water scarcity is further made worse by the fact that the water resources in the country are not equally distributed.

These were the thoughts crossing the mind of Srijita Chatterjee (Chatterjee), Minister of Water Resources of India, just before a meeting to be held with Dr. Mohan Kulkarni (Kulkarni), full time member of NITI Aayog, Dr. Ben Allen (Allen), a researcher from the University of Melbourne and other Indian and Australian delegates. Chatterjee was a young and dynamic personality with great ambitions for the future of India. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss the feasibility of Interlinking of Rivers in India................

Interlinking of Rivers

The meeting commenced with a brief about the river systems of India by Kulkarni who was a veteran in the water resources sector in India. He said that India receives precipitation for four months during the monsoon season with some areas facing heavy floods while others remain dry facing severe drought. Linking the water deficient river basins with water surplus river basins has long been under discussion in India as one of the ways to ensure equitable distribution of water throughout the country...........

Rivers, canals, lakes, tanks, ponds constitute the inland water resources of India. Out of the many rivers that the country is blessed with, there were twelve major rivers with a combined catchment area of 252.8 million hectare. Indian River systems can be divided into four main categories viz. Himalayan, Deccan, Coastal, and River of inland drainage............

Snowy River Scheme, Australia

She then requested Allen, who had extensively studied the Snowy River Scheme, to share his experience of the Australian scheme which is situated in South-east Australia. He explained that this scheme was constructed between 1949 and 1974 to divert water from the Snowy River Basin into the Murray-Darling River Basin, i.e., to the west of the Great Dividing Range through over 145 km of tunnels. The water diverted by this scheme has been utilized mainly for irrigation and hydropower generation. The project has 16 large dams and 7 hydropower stations with a total capacity of 3,756 MW which is approximately 16% of the total energy generated in that region. The implementation of this project costed around US$ 630 million..........

The Indira Sagar Project, India

After discussing the various aspects of Interlinking of Rivers, Chatterjee and Kulkarni decided to pay a visit to an actual interlinking project site in India in upcoming month. The Indira Sagar Project, also known as the Polavaram Project is a multipurpose reservoir located on river Godavari. This would be the third inter-water transfer link between the rivers Godavari and Krishna and was a part of Peninsular Rivers Development Component of National Perspective Plan. They also invited R Ananya (Ananya), a well-known environmentalist working in that area, to visit the site with them...........

Challenges and Opportunities of Interlinking of Rivers Project

Opportunities

After this brief description of the project, Naidu curiously asked about the opportunities Interlinking of Rivers Project would bring to the country. Kulkarni explained that in India, agricultural and industrial sectors play a huge part in the growth of the Indian economy. In Indian gross domestic product (GDP), agricultural and industrial sectors have approximately 17% and 29% shares respectively. Through ILR project, total irrigated area will increase by about 26% and domestic and industrial water supply will increase by 14,942 million cubic meters (MCM), which could improve growth of the Indian economy drastically.........

Challenges

On hearing the various opportunities put forward by Kulkarni, Ananya said that they had seen only one side of the coin of the ILR project but there are some challenges as well. There would be mass deforestation in order to build canal and reservoir, eventually affecting the rain and causing soil erosion. It would also immensely affect the marine and aquatic life by hampering their migration and habitat as the water entering the sea will heavily reduce. Noise pollution would increase due to the movement of diesel vehicles.........

Assignment Questions

I. Climate change would have profound effect on water security of India. Interlinking of rivers will reduce water security problem. Do you agree? If yes, why? If no, why not?
II. Compare and contrast the two projects - Snowy River Scheme, Australia and The Indira Sagar Project, India – and analyze the advantages and drawbacks of each one of them.
III. ..........

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Major River Basins of India

Exhibit II: Change in Irrigated Area

Exhibit III: Increase in Domestic and Industrial Water Supply

Exhibit IV: Increases in Hydro Power

Exhibit V: Disadvantages of Interlinking of Rivers

Teaching Note Preview

Interlinking of Rivers

 

Synopsis

This case on ‘Interlinking Of Rivers’ commences with a meeting which is held among Srijita Chatterjee(Chatterjee), Minister of Water Resources of India, Dr. Mohan Kulkarni (Kulkarni), full time member of NITI Aayog, and Dr. Ben Allen (Allen), a researcher from the University of Melbourne with other Indian and Australian delegates. In this meeting an understanding is established regarding the available water resources mainly, rivers of India and about the Snowy River Scheme of Australia. Further in this case, Chatterjee and Kulkarni pay a visit to an actual interlinking project site in India called as the Indira Sagar Project along with R Ananya, who is an environmentalist of that area where they also meet Sai Krishna Naidu (Naidu), Tehsildar of that area. Naidu briefs these delegates about the project and its expected outcomes and then there is a discussion about the opportunities and challenges related to this massive project. This teaching note clearly mentions about the positive and negative aspects of Interlinking of Rivers and provides critically analysed answers to each of the assignment question.

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding/Before the Classroom Discussion

• What is the concept of interlinking of rivers?
• Present and future need of water in India

Case Positioning and Setting

This case can be used for teaching courses such as Environmental Management, Water Resource Engineering and Project Management.

Assignment Questions

I. Climate change would have profound effect on water security of India. Interlinking of rivers will reduce water security problem. Do you agree? If yes, why? If no, why not?
II. Compare and contrast the two projects - Snowy River Scheme, Australia and The Indira Sagar Project, India – and analyze the advantages and drawbacks of each one of them.
III...................

Expected Learning Outcomes

• This case is expected to give an understanding of the need for Interlinking of Rivers.
• To give the details on the various advantages and disadvantages of Interlinking of Rivers.
• It highlights issues related to Interlinking of Rivers in India.

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Abstract

India is a developing economy with a high rate of population growth which is causing a strain on the limited water resources leading to water scarcity. The water resources in the country are not equally distributed with respect to time and the areas they are pertained within. The gross per capita water availability in India is estimated to decrease from 1820 m3/year in 2001 to 1140 m3/year in 2050. Linking the water deficient river basins with water surplus river basins is one of the many ways to ensure equitable distribution of water throughout the country. The Interlinking of Rivers project has raised many questions regarding its feasibility and implications in India. This case study aims to discuss the benefits and limitations of the project. It includes the study of benefits and drawbacks of two previously implemented river interlinking projects, one from Australia and another from India. The major parameters that are most likely to be affected by this project are chosen and the present situation is compared with the future for all the states of India. The probable disadvantages of the project are also discussed in the present case study.



Pedagogical Objectives

  • Understand the need for Interlinking of Rivers (ILR)
  • Identify the various advantages and disadvantages of Interlinking of Rivers
  • Study issues and challenges with respect to Interlinking of Rivers

Case Positioning and Setting

This case can be used for teaching courses such as Environmental Management, Water Resource Engineering, and Project Management.

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- Teaching Note (**ONLY for Academicians)


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