This crisis appeared in an article in the year 2016 and continues to be a matter as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka still fight over the Cauvery River’s waters.
The river water has always been a source of trouble between states, and in India, we see that quite often. One of the main reasons states have been fighting over river water is that it is a source of sustenance and the freshwater has always been a boon to human civilization, whether today or a thousand years back.
A massive protest in the year 2016 was seen in Bangalore as the public tried to oppose the Supreme Court order of releasing about 120,000 cusecs, or cubic feet per second of water to Tamil Nadu from the river Cauvery.
The agreement between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka was signed long back. But Karnataka defaulted from the agreement citing lack of water as the reason. The state authorities have claimed that they do not have enough water for the sustenance of the state’s people.
Hence, giving away water is not quite possible.
According to the opinion of S. Janakarajan, professor at the Madras Institute of Development Studies, and also president of South Asia Consortium for Interdisciplinary Water Resources Studies, the water level in the river is not always the same and that demand is always exceeding the supply.
Hence, supplying a fixed amount of water despite the shortage due to unpredictable monsoon is not possible.
Both states face a higher incidence of agricultural drought. In Karnataka, it is 90%, while in Tamil Nadu, it is 93%. Rain becomes a savior and even a destroyer in India because the monsoon has its way.
It is never good news for the farmers when it comes to rain.
Apart from human-made facilities of irrigation, rainfall is what nourishes the crops. If rain is too late or too much or even too less, the crops will suffer. Farmers work hard to feed the nation. Yet, they are the ones who have to face the wrath of nature.
The water crisis has worsened in 2020, and in the time of the pandemic, it is even more challenging to give attention to such issues. The water crisis is also becoming a reason for people in remote areas to have proper hygiene.
Many do not have access to safe drinking water. The idea of having clean water to wash hands is beyond their imagination.
There are reports of clashes and fights over water in the queue. People are walking miles to get some safe drinking water. Some are just storing water for days because it is impossible to go for water now and then.
Many government projects have proposed pipelines in India’s remote areas, but the success probability of those projects lies in the future as currently nothing definite can be claimed.
Years of development projects have also robbed India of its ecological balance. Time cannot be reversed, but whatever is within capacity must be done before the situations turn chaotic.