Monday, February 05, 2007

Water Woes

Water Woes
After a long wait, Cauvery tribunal gave its verdict in one of the longest running water disputes of the world, and it is not going to solve the problem. Regardless of which way the verdict went, one of the party would have been aggrieved and its the turn of Karnataka this time. But, if the past is any indication, Karnataka wouldn't abide this verdict and would find some way to appeal or dilly dally. The solution for this and similar problems is not with the courts or tribunals but with Indian political leadership and their long term vision.

Tamil Nadu is a perennially water starved and has water related issue with all its neighbors. If it is Cauvery with Karnataka and Palar with Andhra Pradesh, it is Mullai Periyar with Kerala. Every state will and justifiably so will look for its own parochial ends before they would release even one liter of water.

So, what is the solution?
It is not going to come easy and not before more bloodshed and economic loss. But, solution can be found if Indian political leaders put their mind to it and set aside parochial and short term views. One solution that has been discussed for several decades is the grandiose national water grid. But if that is too big to take on, then let there be some regional or even intra state linkage of rivers.

Of course, this is not going to solve the problem overnight and not even over couple of years, but as they say "thousand mile journey starts with one step at a time".

This water problem is not only amongst states but also between countries. India has water sharing issues with both Pakistan and Bangladesh. In fact, it is predicted that the future wars will over over water resources which is becoming scarce and in some countries already costlier than gas (petrol).

So, it would augur well for the Indian states to act in a matured way and not let anger hijack the emotive issue, as it would only lead to human and economic loss. Schools and IT establishments have already been shut leading to economic loss, but I hope it stops there and not get in to blood letting and mayhem. That would only lead to further animosity and ill will and not solve the problem in anyway.