30 May 2017 | Last updated 11:41 PM

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Is south India another Marathwada in the making in 2017?
Anjali Marar | Tuesday, 10 January 2017 AT 10:18 AM IST
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A water crisis gripped Maharashtra and some parts of north India in 2016. It looks highly likely that a similar situation is on the cards for either Karnataka, Tamil Nadu or Kerala in 2017. This is so because of below normal rainfall for two consecutive seasons - the south-west monsoon and the north east monsoon in 2016, leaving the entire south India parched for rain.

This also leads to the next big question: the ugly ongoing water war between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing of water from Cauvery river. It may just be the tip of the iceberg, as it appears to be one of the worst-ever water crisis awaiting the otherwise water abundant peninsular states. Efforts by Tamil Nadu government to avail water from river Cauvery could soon turn baseless in the new year, as most reservoirs and dams in the Karnataka are either just half-full or nearing empty already.

The situation in all three states – Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the year gone by, has not at all been a bountiful one, leaving each one dry and water-starved like never before in the recent years. The water levels in Krishna Raja Sagara (KRS) dam, which supplies water to Bengaluru and Mysuru cities, plunged to 78 feet in January 2017. It is already an alarming situation for the districts of Bengaluru, Mysuru and Mandya. The government officials in the irrigation and water resources departments chalk out contingency plans immediately until the next monsoon which is still six months away.

So what needs to be done by the governments of these states to delay or avoid meeting the fate of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh of last year?

Firstly, the state governments will have to be brought on-board the same ship by the Uma Bharati-led Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga rejuvenation, to realise and believe the magnitude of the problem which is inching towards these states. Special efforts will have to be made by neigbouring states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in the coming months and be prepared to lend a helping hand in time of water crises, similar to the help given to Latur after wagons chugged-in from neighbouring areas.

Both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu will have to put behind their water differences for a while and must consider themselves lucky, if they get just about enough water to drink and other essential needs in the coming months of 2017. Lastly, it is high time that there be serious thoughts and efforts put-in by the Union government into identifying alternative ways to tackle the growing water crisis faced by new regions with each passing year. India being blessed with a 7,516-km coastline spanning over nine states and two Union territories and two islands, technology must be developed to be able to convert sea water into potable water.

War for water has already begun and it would be ideal if this basic need is not ignored any longer by whoever is in power to act.


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