Water Resources | Centre for Science and Environment

Water Resources


Make India drought-proof

METEOROLOGISTS ARE still not sure of the timing and intensity of El Niño. But it is clear that this monsoon will not be normal and there is a serious possibility that some parts of the country will be hit by drought and crop failure. The question is why we remain so unprepared to deal with crippling water shortages year after year. Why have all our efforts to drought-proof India failed? What should we do now?

An Environmental Agenda for the New Government

The NDA government must have a proactive and positive environment agenda. It must strengthen environmental oversight and not weaken regulations. 

India’s twin environmental challenges

In the past 10 years, India’s environmental movement has had a rebirth. It was first born in the 1970s, when the industrialised world was seeing the impact of growth on its environment. In that decade the air and rivers of London, Tokyo and New York were full of toxins. The world was learning the pain of pollution. The first major global conference on the environment, the Stockholm meet, was held to find ways to deal with this growing scourge.

Grand distraction called river interlinking

Last fortnight, the Supreme Court issued a diktat to the government to implement the scheme to interlink rivers. The directions are straightforward.

Lessons from Kakarapalli

We were standing at the edge of what looked like a swamp—grass and pools and streams. On one side was heavily barricaded land with high walls, barbed wires and armed security. A board read: East Coast Energy, Kakarapalli. This was where a bloody battle had taken place a few months ago. People protesting the takeover of their wetland were shot at and three lost their lives. Now the site of the 2,640 MW thermal power plant is under siege—locked and in court.

Land is more than just that

My article last fortnight about people’s fight against POSCO has brought me interesting responses. They call for clarifications and further discussion. The question is about the value of current livelihoods of the people of coastal Odisha. Is earning from betel nut farming being exaggerated to reinforce the romantic and misinformed view that people are fighting projects because they are better off today? The equally valid question, then, is: why are the people so apparently poor if they are earning Rs 10-17 lakh per hectare (ha) each year as I had said?

High risk

Problem: Tall buildings risky in high seismic zones; Status: Hill-stations are getting concretised and growing vertically; Challenge: Use local construction material; regulate traffic

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Coke in hot water

The Kerala High Court has ordered status quo to be maintained on the cancellation of Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Limited's licence to operate its bottling plant at Plachimada in Kerala. The licence had been cancelled by the Perumatty gram panchayat in Palakkad district of Kerala, following complaints that the company was creating water scarcity in the area by overexploiting groundwater.

Water v industry: where is the question?

Some hundred people, men and women, were gathered on the hill. Many more, I could see, were trudging up. Their faces were resolute. I asked why they were opposing the cement plant. Their answer was simple: “We cannot eat cement.” “But the plant will bring you employment and prosperity,” I said. The reply this time, with a touch of irritation, was: “We have our fields and now with the water in the tank we have good produce. We are not rich like you but we have food to eat.” I persisted, “But your land is not being taken away to build the plant. The government says it has only allocated village grazing land and wasteland to build the factory.” Their anger spilled out.

Rivers at risk

By: Bharat Lal Seth

Securing water for people does not have to be at the cost of biodiversity

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