Interlinking of Rivers: Why it won’t work



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Interlinking of Rivers: Why it won’t work

Stated objectives

  • To take water from surplus to deficit areas
  • To solve the problems of ALL drought and floods permanently
  • President on Aug 14, 2005 address to the nation: “I feel that it has the promise of freeing the country from the endless cycle of floods and droughts. “

Stated Benefits

  • Flood Control (40 m ha area and 260 m people saved from floods that leads to damages of Rs 2400 crore/year)
  • Drought proofing (86 m people in 14 states, 116 districts saved)
  • Relief of 1200 crore per year from floods/ drought damages
  • Irrigation: 35 m ha
  • Hydropower generation 34 000 MW installed capacity
  • Foodgrains production: 400 m t by 2020
  • 70 lpcd water to every citizen
  • Navigation

List of proposed Links

  • Peninsular Component
  • Mahanadi (Manibhadra)– Godavari (d/s)
  • Godavari (Inchampalli) – Krishna (Nagarjunsagar)
  • Godavari (Inchampalli Low Dam) – Krishna (Nagarjunsagar Tail Pond)
  • Godavari (Polavaram) – Krishna (Vijaywada)
  • Krishna (Almatti) – Pennar
  • Krishna (Srisilam) – Pennar
  • Krishna (Nagarjunsagar) – Pennar (Somasila)
  • Pennar (Somasila) – Cauvery (Grand Anicut)
  • Cauvery (Kattalai) – Vaigai – Gundar
  • Ken – Betwa
  • Parbati – Kalisindh – Chambal
  • Par – Tapi – Narmada
  • Damanganga – Pinjal
  • Bedti – Varda
  • Netravati – Hemavati
  • Pamba – Achankovil – Vaippar
  • Himalayan Component
  • Kosi – Mechi
  • Kosi – Ghagra
  • Gandak – Ganga
  • Ghagra – Yamuna
  • Sarda – Yamuna
  • Yamuna – Rajasthan
  • Rajasthan – Sabarmati
  • Chunar – Sone Barrage
  • Sone Dam – Southern Tributaries of Ganga
  • Brahmputra – Ganga (MSTG)
  • Brahmputra – Ganga (JTF) (ALT)
  • Farakka – Sunderbans
  • Ganga – Damodar – Subernrekha
  • Subernrekha – Mahanadi

Main Features

  • 30 River Links
  • Involving 37 Rivers
  • How much additional water? 300 BCM (President of India speech on May 11, 2005)
  • No of reservoirs: 60 (Rainer Horig)
  • Estimated cost: Rs 5 60 000 crores
  • Estimated submergence
    • 1 675 000 ha (Rainer Horig: 625 000 ha for canals and 1 050 000 ha for reservoirs)
  • Estimated displacement:
    • 0.45 M (official document)
    • 3.47 M (Rainer Horig)

Some basic Questions

  • Is the need for the ILR established?
  • Has it been established if some basins are surplus or deficits?
  • Definitions of Surplus and Deficit
  • Is any basin really water surplus?
  • Question on hydrologic viability
  • Is the feasibility of the proposal established?
  • Is the Optimality of the proposal established? Is it the least cost option?
  • Has the social, environmental viability been established?
  • Is the economic and financial viability of the project established?
  • Is ILR feasible in current constitutional set up?
  • Is the project desirable?

Can ILR solve flood “problem”?

  • According to President (speech on 110505) flood affects 8 major basins, 40 m ha and 260 m people
  • ILR is to have Lined Canals with 1:3,000 to 1:5,000 slope or 0.33 to 0.20 m per km. Maximum flow velocity 2 m/s. A 100 m wide & 10 m deep lined canal can carry about 1,000 cumecs.
  • River
  • Average flood discharge(cumecs)
  • Water to be diverted through ILR canal(cumecs)
  • BRAHMAPUTRA
  • 60,000
  • 1,500 (2.5%)
  • GANGA
  • 50,000
  • 1,000 (2.0%)
  • (Figures thanks to SG Vombatkere, ILR figures from official website: www.riverlinks.nic.in)
  • ILR can clearly not help solve flood problem

What about these floods of 2005, Mr President?

  • The Central Gujarat region that experienced serious floods were to receive MORE water from Paar-Tapi Narmada Link proposal.
  • Mumbai that experienced unprecedented floods was to receive more water from Damanganga Pinjal link proposal.
  • The Krishna basin areas of Maharashtra and Karnataka were to receive more water from other basins.
  • The ILR could have done nothing about the floods in Sutlej basin.
  • And what about the floods of Cauvery basin in October 2005?

What do experts say about ILR and Floods?

  • Dr. Bharat Singh, Professor Emeritus at the Water Resources Development Training Centre at the IIT, Rourkee, and Member of the National Commission for Integrated Water Resources Development Plan (1996-99), has said, “any water resources engineer will immediately discard the idea of the inter-linking of rivers as a flood control measure” (A big dream of little logic, The Hindustan Times, 9 March 2003).
  • John Bricoe, Senior Water Resources Expert of the World Bank has said, "River linking per se will do little to reduce flood damage since the size of the link canals would usually be miniscule compared to flood flows." Junaid Ahmad, Senior Manager, Social Development, World Bank was also said ILR won’t help flood problems.

Can ILR help the drought areas?

  • According to President (speech on 110505) 86 m people, 14 states and 116 districts are affected by drought annually
  • Can ILR benefit all drought prone areas
    • YES says President of India
    • NO if you care to look at the map and topography
  • Do we have other options for these areas?
    • YES
  • Do we have evidence that such options can work?
    • Hundreds of examples (e.g. Alwar, Ralegaon, Sukhomajri, many others)
  • Have these options been explored?
    • NO

Links will consume, and not generate power

  • PUMPED LIFT OF WATER
  • Ganga-Subarnarekha (G-S) 60 m
  • Subarnarekha-Mahanadi (S-M) 48 m
  • Godavari-Krishna (G-K) 116 m
  • Need for 3,400 MW of dedicated power generation
  • [Source : http://riverlinks.nic.in/taskforce.asp ]

Some Social Impacts

  • Dams: Submergence, displacement (see earlier slide)
  • The link canals, “will be 50 - 100 m wide and more than 6 m deep.” Total canal length 14,000 km. Land for canals alone at least 2,100 sq km (210,000 ha). (http://riverlinks.nic.in/taskforce.asp)
  • Downstream areas: Drying up of rivers, destruction of biodiversity, increase of salinity ingress, death of fisheries and fisherfolks’ livelihoods, stoppage of groundwater recharge
  • Deforestation: destruction of livelihood for surrounding population, large number of environmental impacts
  • Loss of opportunity of development for the deprived people
  • Permanent loss of rivers and environmental resources

Poor Quality studies of NWDA

  • NWDA claim
  • Ground reality/ discrepancy
  • Mahanadi is surplus basin
  • Godavari is surplus basin
  • AP says it no water to export
  • Damanganga water can be exported to Pinjal
  • Gujarat does not agree
  • Tapi has surplus water
  • MP and Maharashtra disagree
  • Ken Betwa Link proposal includes five dam proposals
  • KBL FR has population figures based on 1981 population and cost figures based on 1995 costs
  • When latest figures are available
  • KBL FR agrees substantial portion of Panna Tiger Reserve would be
  • However, FR says there will be no impact on the wildlife
  • impactedParbati Kalisindh Chambal Link includes ten dams
  • FR has details of only three of them

Ken Betwa Link FR

  • When Ken has floods, so has Betwa, when Betwa faces water scarcity, so does Ken. Both are part of Bundelkhand.
  • Use of wrong, outdated and manipulated data to prove that Ken is Surplus and Betwa is deficit basin.
  • Ken
  • Betwa
  • Cultivable land
  • 57.08%
  • 67.88%
  • Cultivable land in Upper Basin
  • 46.26%
  • 65.05
  • Irrigable land in Upper basin
  • 42.91%
  • 55.47%
  • Water required to irrigate 1 Ha
  • 5327 cum
  • 6157 cu m
  • Water Export(+) or Import(-)
  • (-)2427 mcm
  • 3854.5 mcm
  • Surplus (+) / deficit (-)
  • 5085 mcm
  • (-)1762 mcm
  • Projected water required to irrigate 1 ha
  • 5200 mcm

UP has strong objections

  • Principal Secretary (Irrigation),UP has said in official meeting, “Ken Basin is not a surplus basin and if water is transferred from this basin there might be unrest in the Budelkhand region.”
  • “The area presently irrigated south of Lalitpur and Jhansi districts will get affected dur to KB Link project.”
  • “The investment made by UP on Rajghat and Matatila dam will become waste”
  • “The hydropower generation of Rajghat and Matatila Power Houses would be hampered”

Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal Link

  • Totally Ten dams are planned as part of this link, but info of only three included in the FR
  • Socio-Economic and Environmental impacts study yet to be done and no information about this in the FR
  • 17 308 ha will be submerged in three dams as given in FR. For the other 7 dams, about 21 800 ha to be submerged. In addition, at least 3 500 ha land will be required for canals
  • Social impacts based on 1991 census figures in 2005
  • FR failed to establish the need for the PKC link

Salient features of Polavaram

  • Location of Dam
  • Near Polavaram village in W Godavari dist, 42 km u/s of the existing Cotton Barrage
  • Hydrology: Rainfall
  • 1023 mm
  • Catchment area
  • 306643 sq km
  • Design flood
  • 102000 cumecs
  • Available runoff at Polavaram dam site (Assessed by NWDA from computed series of 1951-52 to 1980 –81
  • 75% dependability
  • 80170 MCM
  • Reservoir data: FRL
  • 45.72 m
  • MDDL
  • 41.15 m
  • 194.6 TMC (5511 MCM)
  • Live storage
  • 75.2 TMC
  • Water Utilisation; Diversion to Krishna
  • 84.7 TMC (incl evaporation)
  • Irrigation: LMC & RMC
  • 193.36 TMC
  • Water supply to Vizag
  • 23.44 TMC
  • Demands of Chhattisgarh
  • 1.5 TMC
  • Demands of Orissa
  • 5 TMC
  • Godavari Delta demand
  • 274.57 TMC
  • TOTAL
  • 582.57 TMC
  • Irrigation: Culturable command area
  • 323396 Ha
  • 291114 Ha
  • Annual irrigation
  • 436792 Ha
  • Power
  • 12x80 MW installed capacity

Polavaram: Serious implications

  • Submergence: 276 villages, over two lac people including villages in Orissa and Chhatisgarh, mostly adivasi population
  • Human Rights violations
  • Public Hearing violations
  • EIA violations
  • No R&R plan
  • Submergence of deposits of Chromite, graphite, iron ore and coal bearing area
  • 3 705 ha Forest land under submergence
  • Submergence of parts of Papi Hills WLS
  • Environmental clearance under suspicious circumstance
  • Environmental clearance without forest clearance

National Commission about ILR-1

  • HIMALAYAN COMPONENT:
  • “The Himalayan Component data are not freely available but on basis of published information it appears that this component may not be feasible for the period of review up to the year 2050.” (Executive Summary, pp (ix))
  • Further it says about the Himalayan links, “the costs of construction and environmental problems would be enormous. These links should only be taken up if and when they are considered unavoidable in national interest.” The Commission also noted, “On the basis of published information, the commission is of the view that the Himalayan component would require more detailed study using systems analysis techniques.” (p 187-88)

National Commission about ILR-2

  • PENINSULAR COMPONENT
  • “As regards east flowing peninsular rivers, the studies indicate that based on mean annual flows except for Krishna (if irrigation intensity is adopted at a rather high 45 %), Cauvery and Vaigai, the balances are positive in other cases. The shortage in Cauvery is 12 % of gross demand and that in Vaigai 16 %. These shortages result from increasing the present irrigated area to 1.4 times in case of Cauvery and 1.6 times in case of Vaigai and assuming return flows at 60 % of the imbalance. In case the return flow is taken as 80 % of the imbalance, there is no shortage in Krishna and those in Cauvery and Vaigai are reduced to 5 and 8 % respectively. Thus, there seems to be no imperative necessity for massive water transfer. The assessed needs of the basins could be met from full development and efficient utilization of intra-basin resources…” (Executive Summary, pp (ix))
  • Par-Tapi-Narmada Link proposal: “Taking the entire system, the cost of water delivered is high and can hardly be borne by the farmers at prevailing agricultural prices. The irrigation rates may have to be very heavily subsidized which is not in conformity with current thinking. It is felt that these links should be deferred till the impact of the SSP is seen and need for additional water is clearly established.”
  • Netravati-Hemavati link: “The cost is rather high due to requirement of lift.”

Some Eminent persons on ILR:

  • Bharat Singh: “There really seems to be no convincing argument or vital national interest which can justify undertaking this mammoth undertaking”.
  • Jairam Ramesh, Member of Parliament said in a Short Duration Debate in Parliament on July 26, 2005, “To imagine that we are going to be able to solve our annual problems of flood and drought by a massive programme of inter-linking of rivers, in my view, there would be no greater calamity than massive inter-linking of rivers.”

Do we have options?

  • Flood Management
  • Drought Management
  • Water Supply
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation
  • Food Production
  • Power

Options for Power

  • Better performance of existing infrastructure (see next slide for performance of existing hydro)
  • Reduce T&D losses
  • End Use efficiency (pumps, CFLs)
  • Demand Side Management
    • According to former power minister, the potential in India for this is equivalent to additional installed capacity of 25 000 MW
  • Peak management: Most big hydro storage for peaking pwoer
  • Generation options: Small Hydro, wind, biomass, solar
    • Small hydro potential is 15 000 MW as per CEA, hardly 15% of that has been exploited
  • Pump storage potential in existing storage projects

Advocacy for large hydro

  • There is strong push for large hydro projects today, as if large hydro projects are good in themselves.
  • In fact installed capacity of large hydro has increased at a compound growth rate of 4.35% per annum during 1991-2005, HIGHER than all other power sub-sectors.
  • There is little attempt for credible assessment of performance of large hydro. How have they performed?

Diminishing Returns from Large Hydro

  • As can be seen from the chart here, the Million Units energy generated from large hydro projects has been almost continuously falling over the last eleven years.
  • The fall from 1994-5 to 2004-5 is huge 31%.
  • There are many reasons for this, use of increasing large hydro to provide peaking capacity is surely not one of them to the best of our information.

Monsoon above normal in majority of these years

  • Year
  • Monsoon Rainfall
  • 1994
  • 110 %
  • 1995
  • 100 %
  • 1996
  • 103 %
  • 1997
  • 102 %
  • 1998
  • 105 %
  • 1999
  • 96 %
  • 2000
  • 92 %
  • 2001
  • 91 %
  • 2002
  • 81 %
  • 2003
  • 105 %
  • 2004
  • 87 %
  • 2005
  • 100 %

What is going on?

  • Role of
  • President of India
  • Supreme Court of India
  • WB, other international forces
  • NDA govt
  • UPA govt
  • MWR, NWDA
  • States, state level politicians
  • Bangladesh, Nepal
  • Media
  • Academics, experts
  • Communities and Civil Society

THANK YOU

  • Read “Dams, Rivers & People”
  • www.sandrp.in
  • cwaterp@vsnl.com
  • November 14, 2005


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