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June 03, 2018

Essay - River Valley Projects in India

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  • Introduction of river valley projects
  • The purpose and aims of these projects. 
  • Some important river valley projects in India.
  • Advantages of river valley projects. 
  • Disadvantages or river valley projects. 
  • River valley projects trigger inter-state water disputes.
River valley projects involve the construction of a gigantic single dam or series of small dams on a
river and on its tributaries. Ever since, dealing with water resources has been one of the primary aims because of which multi-purpose river valley projects have been gaining importance. The purpose of these projects are to fulfil the need of irrigation, flood control and generation of hydro-electricity along with fishing and recreation through navigation.

Such projects include afforestation programmes on barren and wastelands which check soil erosion and conserve water received from rainfall and flowing rivers in the area. Fisheries have been developed in the reservoirs. The bigger size canals are often used for navigation and water gets distributed in the nearby rural settlements and urban centres.

These projects encourage growth of industries in the surrounding area. Hence, a multi-purpose project can usher development in the surrounding region. Our country is blessed with lots of rivers and other water bodies, which makes it a home to a number of river valley projects few of which are listed below 

Bhakhra Nangal Project
Bhakhra Nangal project is a joint venture of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. It is India's biggest multi-purpose river valley project. It consists of a straight gravity dam across the Sutlej at Bhakhra that quotes and example of water management on scientific lines.

Damodar Valley Project
The Damodar Valley project was conceived for the unified development of irrigation, flood control and power generation in West Bengal and Jharkhand. This project has opened door for transportation and navigation through canals.

Indira Gandhi Canal 
Indira Gandhi Canal is one of the biggest projects in the world, begun in 1958 as Rajasthan Canal. The effort is to bring irrigation to a desert area. The objectives of the project is agricultural produce, drought proofing, afforestation, employment, rehabilitation etc. 

Hirakud Project
Hirakud project in Orissa is on Mahanadi river. It is the world's longest dam comprising of Hirakud, Tekarpada and Niraj dams. It has been helpful in resolving the problem of drought as well as flood in the affected areas. 

Kakrapara Project
Kakrapara project in Gujarat is on the river Tapti, 80 km up stream Surat. It is being built by the Gujarat Government. 

Nagarjun Sagar Project
Nagarjun Sagar project in Andhra Pradesh utilises the water of the Krishna river. It is situated near Nalgonda district. It is one of the largest networks of canal system. This colossal dam supplies water for irrigation to various districts.

Rihand Project
Rihand project comprises construction of a concrete gravity dam across the Rihand river in Mirzapur district, Uttar Pradesh and a power house at Pipri and necessary transmission lines. 

Tungabhadra Project
Tungabhadra project is a joint undertaking by the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka with three canals namely; Left Bank Canal, the Low Level Canal and the High Level Canal. It serves as source of irrigation electricity generation, flood control etc.

Advantages of River Valley Projects

Multi-purpose river valley projects prove to be beneficial for all of us.
  • These man-made dams accumulates a massive volume of rain water. They also help in checking floods and safeguarding soils. This stored water becomes very useful in irrigating farms, during the parched season, when water demand is huge. 
  • The catchment areas of these dams are now thoroughly afforested. This facilitates in preserving natural ecosystems and help in conserving flora and fauna. Afforestation also helps in the avoiding choking of dams, river channels and irrigation canals. It helps in prolonging their life and economic feasibility. 
  • The stocked or stashed water in mountainous regions commonly furnishes high head, Stashed water, when falls from high altitude, helps in yielding power power even in dry seasons. Power gained from running or falling water is known as Hydel Power or Hydro-electricity. It is one of the cleanest, freshest and non-polluting forms of energy. 
  • Multipurpose river valley projects frequently furnish for inland water navigation, by central rivers and canals. It is the cheapest way of 0% transport for bulky goods.

Disadvantages of River Valley Projects

There are few problems associated with multi-purpose river valley projects
  • These projects generally displace many people from very fertile land thus reducing the productivity of these people. They take away their livelihood and their homes. Communities along their river are flooded and have to relocate. Beautiful fields, orchards and forests may be lost. 
  • Apart from humans, fishes lose natural habitat. Migratory fishes are destroyed because they cannot navigate past the dam. 
  • The still water becomes warmer than moving water and this can increase unwanted flora (algae, moss, weeds) and unhealthy bacteria. 
  • Dams also lead to inter-state water disputes with regard to sharing the cost and benefits of the projects Dams have triggered floods due to sedimentation in the catchment area. Some of the dams have failed to control floods during excessive rainfall. 
Most rivers of India are plagued with inter-state disputes. Water dispute is a term describing a conflict between countries, states or groups over an access to water resource. It arises due to opposing interests of water users, public or private.

In our country there have been many water disputes mainly due to non-presence of a clear idea by the centre on water politics. The inter-states water sharing acts are not there for water sharing, construction of dams and other structures within the rivers.

Most of the rivers in India are facing inter state water dispute. Some of very debated water dispute are, Kaveri water dispute between Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka; Krishna water dispute between Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh; Tungabhadra water dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka; Mahi river dispute between Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh etc. The above mentioned disputes are a few amongst many. Many efforts are made to resolve the disputes through negotiations amongst the basin states with the assistance of the Central Government.

Therefore, river valley projects can said to be a great step towards development aimed at various beneficial objectives on a state as well as central levels. It not only combats problems like irrigation, drought, agricultural produce, employment etc but also resolves and strengthens inter-state relations if the disputes are resolved amicably.

Difficult Words with Meanings :
  • Gigantic very large or huge
  • Usher cause or make the start of something new
  • Venture an undertaking or speculation in which something is risked in the hope of profit
  • Rehabilitation to bring something back to a good condition
  • Accumulating gathering or collecting often in gradual degrees
  • Parched very dry especially because of hot weather and no rain
  • Prolonging to make (something) last or continue for a longer tim
  • Stashed to put by or way as for safekeeping future use
  • Sedimentation the natural process in which material is carried to the bottom of a body of water and forms a solid layer
  • Catchment the area from which rain flows into a particular lake or rive
  • Amicably characterised by or showing goodwill.
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