Skip to main content

Vulnerability hits Gujarat's Narmada-based canal network, adequately price, manage water: CM aide Navalawala

By Our Representative
A top Gujarat government water resources official, who has been aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has warned that Gujarat’s Narmada-based canal network has been “reduced to be vulnerable”, underlining it does not even have the “buffer for 15 days” for supplying water, making its “closures for maintenance” almost an impossible task.
Pointing out that things are turning bad for Narmada-based irrigation, domestic and industrial water supply, the Gujarat chief minister’s water resources adviser BN Navalawala, making a presentation in Gandhinagar, said, while Rs 9000 crore has been spent on Narmada-based water supply pipelines, and more is being spent, the limit for 0.86 million acre feet (MAF) for water to be used for non-irrigation use has already been crossed.
Former Government of India (GoI) water resources secretary and currently heading a high-level GoI committee on inter-linking of rivers, Navalawala regretted, the original plan was to consider Narmada just a supplementary source of water but today has become the “primary source.”
Speaking at a Vibrant Gujarat seminar on January 2, he cautioned the audience, who consisted of government officials, experts and industry executives, “Over-dependence on Narmada would not only badly hit agriculture but also induce much stress in water supply sector which might lead to social stress, if not unrest.”
His calculation was based on a graph which he presented at the seminar, showed that that there was continuous reduction in water availability in Narmada basin.
While the Gujarat government has fixed a norm for supplying water for domestic use to rural areas and urban areas -- 100 liters and 250 per capita day in rural areas, respectively, Navalawala said, there was yet another dimension of the stress – that “municipal corporations, municipalities and panchayats do not pay water charges”, even if they are a “token”.
Calling it a parasitical attitude, he said, “Urban areas have not been given metered water supply”, nor is there any concept of “recycling of water in urban areas which could offload the supply and effluent disposal.” He added, “Open defecation free villages and towns would need more water for sanitation and more effluent to be treated.”
Insisting that priority to domestic water should not mean eating into irrigation water, Navalawala criticized industry by crying wolf on high water tariff, even though it knows, “technological advancement could enhance water use efficiency, which India grossly lacks.”
“With technologies and methods available today, industry can cut its water needs by 40-90% and cities by 30%, with no sacrifice of economic output or quality of life”, Navalawala estimated, adding, “Fresh water is being polluted by semi-treated effluent, further stressing on water resources”.
Pointing towards how Sabarmati and Mahi rivers’ fresh water is being polluted, he added, similarly, “groundwater of Valsad and Vapi” in South Gujarat is proving to an “eye-opener” example in this regard.
At the same time, Navalawala said, “Development cannot allow backward technologies to flourish at the cost of irrigation water”, adding, things have turned worse along “Gujarat’s 1600 km-long coastline”, where “dependence on groundwater” has made entire regions “vulnerable due to sea water intrusion.” At the same time, he said, “Desalination is very costly. We need an economical and appropriate technological solution.”
Insisting that water price should have the “right place in planning and policy formation”, Navalawala emphasized “the need to collect royalty (i.e. price) on use of both groundwater and surface water.”
Saying that “water management rather than water scarcity is needed to be considered as cornerstone in policy making” at a time when “Gujarat has 5% of geographical area and population of India but only 2% of water resources”, Navalawala said, “Blind industrialization needs to be replaced by resource based and planned development”, avoiding “water intensive industries”.

Comments

TRENDING

Missed call drive for VVPAT verification follows online plea to "pressure" poll panel

By Our Representative
Several political activists have begun a new campaign, asking concerned citizens to give a missed call on 9667655855 to “support the demand that 2019 Loksabha elections must be declared only after verification of 50% electronic voting machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) receipts.” The effort, supported by civil society networks across India, is meant to "further pressure" India's election machinery to ensure that the poll outcome becomes more transparent.

Did Modi own, buy digital camera costing Rs 7 lakh in 1987-88, also used email?

Counterview Desk
In an interview to the news channel News Nation, aired on Saturday last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that he had approved the air strike despite bad weather because he felt the clouds would hide Indian planes from Pakistani radar is known to have become a laughing stock across India.

When a neo-nationalist "invaded" hijab clad ladies, Bengali looking scholar in Delhi metro

By Aditi Kundu*
Travelling in Delhi metro on a daily basis to commute from Mayur Vihar to Dwarka, I see diverse people everyday. One can hear them talk about different aspects of life, from kitchen pilitics to national politics. On the morning of May 13, I witnessed a strange incident; disturbing and amusing at the same time.

Terror attacks: Difference in public reactions in India, those in Colombo, Christchurch

By Battini Rao*
Recently, on April 20 during Easter Sunday, more than 250 people were killed in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in churches and hotels in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Local Islamic organisations Thawheed Jamath (NJT) and Jamathei Milathu Ibrahim (JMI) are held responsible for the attack. Islamic State has also claimed responsibility.

Women lost 88 lakh jobs in 2018: Why Modi "failed" to address their disempowerment?

Counterview Desk
Five human rights leaders Anjali Bhardwaj, Shabnam Hashmi, Purnima Gupta, Dipta Bhog, and Amrita Johri of the Women March for Change have posed 56 questions (alluding to Modi’s claim of 56 inches chest) to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP against the backdrop of his interview with a Bollywood star, which was allegedly masqueraded as a “non-political” conversation.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Disproportionately high death sentences against Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims: UN told

Counterview Desk
In their joint submission to the United Nations Human Rights Committee to meet for the listing of adoption of list of issues at its 126th session, July 1-26, 2019, top Dalit rights organizations have taken strong exception to, among other things, "disproportional application of death sentencing by the judiciary of minorities, such as Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis".

Ex-IAS, IPS, IFS officers tell Modi: Pragya Thakur doesn't represent India's rich heritage

Counterview Desk
In an open statement, a group of former civil servants have said that normally they would have dismissed the candidature of Pragya Thakur, who is BJP’s choice for the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency, as an act of political expediency. However, they were forced to react to her candidature after none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed has as a “symbol of our civilisational heritage.”

India's 80% construction sites "unsafe", deaths 20 times higher than those in Britain

By Rajiv Shah
The Government of India may be seeking to project India’s construction sector as the country’s second-largest employer of the country after agriculture, providing jobs to more than 44 million people, and contributing nearly 9% to the national GDP, yet, ironically, its workforce is more unprotected than any other industrial sector of the country. Data suggest that the possibility of a fatality is five times more likely in the construction industry  than in a manufacturing industry, and the risk of a major injury is 2.5 times higher.

India sans Modi preferable, Congress worthier recipient of Indians’ votes: The Economist

By Our Representative
In a strongly-worded and crucial commentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the electoral political battle is on, influential British weekly “The Economist”, has declared that “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader”, even as pointing out that that under Modi, “India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy.”