People, Environment
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India Will Resort to River Water to Fight Drought

India Will Resort to River Water to Fight DroughtIndia Will Resort to River Water to Fight Drought

India is set to divert water from its rivers to deal with a severe drought, a senior minister has told the BBC.

Uma Bharati, water resources minister, said transferring water, including from major rivers like the Brahmaputra and the Ganges, to drought-prone areas is now her government’s top priority.

At least 330 million people are affected by drought in India.

The drought is taking place as a heat wave extends across much of India, with temperatures in excess of 40° C.

“Interlinking of rivers is our prime agenda and we have got the people’s support and I am determined to do it on the fast track,” Bharati said.

The federal government in Delhi has had to send trains carrying water to the worst affected places.

India has faced a water crisis for years. Its ground waters have depleted to alarming levels, mainly because of unsustainable extraction for agriculture and industries.

Environmentalists have opposed the project, arguing it will invite ecological disaster but the Supreme Court has ordered its implementation.

Critics say the project is not viable financially, environmentally or socially. The government has also been accused of granting environmental clearances without proper assessments.

“It is even more impossible in the context of climate change as you don’t know what will happen to the rivers’ flows,” says Himanshu Thakkar of the South Asia Network for Dams, Rivers and People.

“The project is based on the idea of diverting water from where it is surplus to dry areas but there has been no scientific study yet on which places have more water and which ones less.”

Financialtribune.com