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River Basin Agency is need of the hour- Pradeep Purandare

Pradeep Purandare, one of the foremost authority in Water, former skilled member of Integrated State water Plan committee talked with Free Press Jorunal’s Political Editor Pramod Chunchuwar. He burdened on the need of establishing of River Basin Agency (RBA). Stage government has promised to arrange such RBA earlier than March 2016. But despite three years delay, no progress is on this subject. He also opposed interlinking of river saying that may create catastrophe. He praised CM Fadnavis for his delicate and studied strategy on Water.

Question- Maharashtra just lately witnessed heavy flood in Kolhapur and Sangli districts in Western Maharashtra. As an Water professional, what are the most important reasons behind this flood?S

Purandare- Current floods in Maharashtra are relatively uncommon & unprecedented. The acute events that Maharashtra witnessed perhaps affirm the arrival of climate change. We need to notice few points. First, there were continuous heavy rains for a couple of days together. Second, the water degree not solely crossed Excessive Flood Degree(HFL) mark at many locations concurrently nevertheless it was significantly greater & it remained so for fairly an extended period. Third, there have been inadvertent however uncoordinated & virtually simultaneous releases from the upstream dams. Fourth, the releases from downstream dam, specifically Amatti, did not match the upstream releases. Fifth, the carrying capacity of rivers has been drastically lowered resulting from all types of encroachments, Sixth, the flood forecasting system was not suitable sufficient to deal with the floods of this unprecedented magnitude. It is troublesome to assign weights to every cause & determine who precisely was the wrongdoer. Briefly, it is a failure of the system as an entire. It was waiting to happen.

Query- Do you assume the Dams and their maintenance by engineers cause this flood? Are our Dams are robust sufficient to deal with such condition?

Purandare- First, dams in Maharashtra haven’t been designed to regulate the floods in any respect. Second, the dams are operated in isolation i.e. with out considering what is occurring in different dams in the similar river basin. To beat the first problem engineers use Reservoir Operation Schedules (ROS) which are ready by doing statistical evaluation of historical knowledge of filling of dam. ROS tells how much water to store at a given point of time & at the greatest helps average the floods. Overlook about flood controlling.

These schedules are of inflexible sort & often fail when issues change too much & too fast. This example forces the engineer in cost of a dam in a catch 22 state of affairs. To store or to not retailer the water is the dilemma. If he strictly follows the ROS & doesn’t store more water and if there is no flood and even normal yield, then he is blamed as a result of there is no satisfactory water to cater the irrigation & non irrigation demands. Add to this the political strain for storing maximum water & opposition to release of water & you’ll realise the plight of the poor engineer.

Question- What is the answer to this drawback? Is River Basin Authority is an efficient answer?S

Purandare- If we need to minimise the political strain whereas deciding the time and amount of releasing water from dam, we should always have Built-in River Basin-wise Reservoir Operation. We need to have River Basin Businesses (RBA) within the State and River Basin Organisations (RBO) of all basin-states. Maharashtra Water Resource Regulatory Authority Act (MWRRA Act 2005) does provide for RBA. A Committee has beneficial RBAs after learning all features. Government had promised in an affidavit in respect of my Public Curiosity Litigation (PIL) that it might take a choice relating to formation of RBAs on or before 31st March 2016. Three years have handed & nothing has occurred. May be govt is too busy either in `Jalyukt Shivar’ which didn’t guarantee drought-free Maharashtra or in countless declarations of Inter-Linking of River Tasks which would warranty havoc if brought in with out RBAs & RBOs.

Question– Public consultant, specialists and native media are alleging that the state government and district administrations in Kolhapur and Sangli did not act in time which led to havoc of flood. What are your opinion?

Purandare- It is true that administration failed to respond in time. The choices weren’t quick. But I can’t completely maintain the administration or authorities liable for this. As a result of there was huge confusion in government and administration about response to this example. As the rain was unprecedented and fail in shorter time, no body was expecting such excessive flood. Subsequently the authorities equipment was not prepared. So it took time to know the state of affairs and to make selections and to set up a mechanism to struggle the flood. However it is late. This equipment is not professionally educated for Disaster Management. Administration must be professionally educated for disaster management.

Question- How administration can know very early that the water is going to cross the danger mark?

Purandare- Indian Meterological Division (IMD) forecasts should be better and more correct. Their forecasts should have come a bit of earlier. And it needs to be extra specific .What occurs now, their forcasts are very common in nature. For instance- “ In Central Maharashtra, there will be heavy rain” is the forecast of IMD. This forecast doesn’t mention any village, Tehsil. Then how the government can plan their response prematurely?

Query- Means the centre authorities ought to invest more fund in IMD to make them extra correct?

Purandare- IMD has simply made a very good determination. They’re going to calculate rain on specific places. IMD will make use of their forecast and rainfall info to calculate the complete quantity of water expected to accumulate in every river basin and sub-river basin on the basis of its area expanse. This info will then be shared with CWC and other authorities, like the department of irrigation. Will probably be useful and may be decisive whereas deciding the release of water on occasion, particularly during the monsoon. IMD has claimed that it will assist for a greater dam water administration. They’ve also announced to maintain this info in public area. It will assist activists and media to keep a strain on government to do a timely flood and dam management

Question- It is being alleged by opposition events that since Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was busy in his mass outreach tour-Mahajanadesh Yatra, he could not guarantee an efficient and timely response to the flood state of affairs. Do you agree with this?

Purandare- I do not agree with this allegations. In current days, one does not need to be current in the workplace to take stock of the state of affairs. Authorities has video conferencing facility. They have internet and actual time knowledge with them. So, CM can take stock of the state of affairs from anyplace, he does not need to be in Mantralaya for this. Although, I am preventing towards the authorities for efficient water administration and lots of occasions differ with government selections on Water, I wish to admit with honesty that the CM Fadnavis is very critical about water points. He is very sensitive and pro-active on this difficulty. He provides much time for water issues. Subsequently I don’t find that CM neglected the flood state of affairs.

Question- Do you assume local weather change is also inflicting such flood? What is answer to struggle this?

Purandare- Sure. This has been predicted by specialists in the previous too. Both there might be no rain for years or if it rains, will probably be excessive. Subsequently we witnessed drought for steady two years. The solution on this is preparedness for it. And increasingly more emphasis on science and know-how. Extra accurate and specific rain forecast. The Water assets department ought to treat the water reserve in dams of a specific river basin as an entire while deciding discharge of water from dams. Governance of dams shouldn’t be left over to civil engineers solely. Hydrologists, scientist from IMD also needs to be the member of the staff which handles the dam management. To make sure this, the River basin Agency ought to be arrange immediately.

Question- Do you assume the delay in discharging water from Almatti Dam by Karnataka brought about flood?

Purandare- The specialists are divided on this concern. Former Secretaries of water assets division has ruled out this risk. The water storage in Almatti may need brought on flood in Kolhapur and Sangli. However we cant not prove this scientifically and technically. The Maharashtra authorities had requested the central authorities to ask Karnataka to release the water from Almatti. This implies authorities is absolutely convinced that water in Almatti dam is causing flood in Maharashtra. To show this, we should research the water stream in the area and Almatti dam with the assist of Satellite, ISRO, Distant Sensing Agency and IIT.

Query- like many specialists, former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan too has demanded settin up of Krishna River Basin authority. Do yo agree with this?

Purandare- Yes. It is need of the hour and I am preventing for it. This is not a brand new concept. The Krishna River Basin Organization must be arrange and all the states from which the Krishna River flows, ought to be the member of this organisation. And the Authority should have civil engineers, Hydrologists, scientists from IMD as members. This authority should meet steadily during monsoon to take stock of the state of affairs. It should decided on launch of water. It will minimise political strain and danger of flood. It doesn’t look good that one CM is accusing other on such delicate situation.

Query- The state authorities has just lately introduced interlinking of rivers. Government is planning to divert water from Konkan to Godavari river in Marathwada and North Maharashtra. What is your opinion on this?

Purandare- On the foundation of my PIL, the state authorities was requested to organize Godavari Water Plan. I was member of the committee which prepared the water plan. I was additionally member of the specialists committee which prepared Integrated state Water plan. All these schemes introduced by state government was mentioned in the Godavari Water plans. But we have now cautioned state government to do that as final resort. The interlinking of rivers might show disaster for state and its surroundings. This won’t be economically viable. This will probably be a very good opportunity to earn cash for politicians and contractors by way of tender of such works. As an alternative of linking rivers, we should always first use water out there in that exact river basin. We will divert most 30 % of water from one river basin to different. Bringing water from one basin to a different basin shall be importing problems of setting. We cannot handle the current dams throughout flood state of affairs. The inter-linking of rivers will lead a lot greater dams than present. How we’ll manage those dams. The catastrophe too will probably be much greater than current.

Question- However Government is itemizing advantages of this linking of rivers?

Purandare- There are two approaches. One is statistical hydrology and second is ecological hydrology. Presently civil engineers do comply with only statistical or arithmetical hydrology. Based mostly on this they calculate extra water in one basin or dam and advocate to divert it to other. However Ecological hydrology says that no basin is surplus or deficit with water. What is natural is greatest, do not disturb that ecology of the basin because it has been finished by nature. This interlinking of rivers will again add to the local weather change and worsen our drawback. We term this as “dry water development” the place truly not improvement is achieved. Take the example of Krishna-Bhima Water stabilisation scheme. In this scheme it was determined to deliver 56 TMC water from Krishna to Ujani dam in Marathwada and to distribute 25 TMC water to the farmers of Marathwada. To ensure this water provide, canals and sub canals have been constructed spending Rs. 500 crores. But later Krishna Water tribunal in 2010 rejected this plan of diverting water to Ujani and Rs.500 crore have been wasted. The interlinking of rivers is very difficult and multilayered concern

Query- You talked about efficient use of water out there in the basin as an alternative of interlinking of rivers. Are you able to explain?

Purandare-In Jaikwadi Dam, we now have water. However in case you ask the widespread farmer, he says that even if there is water in Jaikwadi, it is of no use for them. Because authorities doesn’t properly keep the canals. The schedule to launch the water is not adopted strictly. So what might be use of the water even after interlinking of rivers? We first need to make sure equitable distribution of water and it will ensure the proper utilisation of water obtainable in the river basin.