Keshav Bhatia, Academic Content Writer at Edumarz
Water is a basic necessity for survival, not just for humans but for all forms of life.
If we study water scarcity on a map and relate those findings with statistics for acute poverty, we will find that acute poverty is correlated to, and many times caused by water scarcity.
If we study the rainfall patterns of India we will find that rains in India fall during a small period that lasts a few months, the majority of which is Monsoon rain.
Monsoon rain is usually enough for us, despite this great nature’s blessing we find that people still suffer, because there is no appropriate storage facilities for this great resource.
We have not been able to sustain water availability underground which is a result of:
Loss of vegetation cover
Diversion of water for water intensive crops
Pollution from Industrial effluents and sewage waste
Indians before colonisation had developed a very sustainable way of managing canals, dams and tanks, they had developed methods of managing after centuries of trial and experience.
These structures or local interventions were very efficient and they were enough to meet both the agricultural needs and daily use needs and were governed by the local people.
These structures could store and manage enough water year round!
This water was used very strictly, there were rules governing their use.
Based on Centuries of years of trial and experience they had developed farming methods and optimum cropping patterns based on the availability of water.
These irrigation systems were managed and governed by the locals, it was a local undertaking.
Change of these systems:
The inception of large scale water projects by the British
Large dams and water Canals traversing large distances were first conceived and implemented by the British government.
The Indian government formed after independence enthusiastically carried on and implement these lage scales projects
The autonomy that the local people used to enjoy over their local water resources was taken away when the government started taking control of these systems, they took over administration in an increasing manner.
These Mega-projects have led to neglect of the local irrigation methods.