Third World Centre for Water Management

Journals

Volume 17, Issue 1

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EDITORIAL


DEVELOPMENT AND LARGE DAMS: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (pp. 9-21)

Asit K. Biswasa and Cecilia Tortajadab

aPresident and bVice-President, Third World Centre for Water Management, Mexico

E-mails: akbiswas@cablevision.net.mx, cecilia.tortajada@gmail.com

Abstract: Water-retaining structures have been built to facilitate human development for some 5000 years. This paper focuses speciŽcally on their development during the past 50 years, and points out that analyses of actual impacts of large dams are few and far between. Consequently many myths have now enshrined themselves in the literature as facts. The background to the controversy over the Aswan High Dam is analysed. While the western world has basically constructed the dams necessary, the situation is very different from the perspectives of the developing countries, where progress has left much to be desired. Climatic, technical, economic, social, environmental and institutional conditions are very different between the developed and the developing countries, and hence the approaches to water management cannot be identical for the whole world. The main issue facing the developing countries is not whether large dams have an important role to play in the coming decades, since there is really no other choice, but rather how best we can continue to improve their overall effectiveness for human welfare, eradicate poverty and preserve the environment.


WATER AND FOOD SECURITY IN SOUTH ASIA (pp. 23-36)

Yoginder K. Alagh, Vice-Chairman, Sardar Patel Institute of Social and Economic Research, Near Doordarshan, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad, India

Abstract: This paper discusses food security issues in South Asia, which has the largest share of poor people in the world. It reviews demographic and demand perspectives in the context of the overall economies of the region, but the main emphasis is on water institutions and policies. As compared with the 1980s, these economies are now growing faster. Agricultural demand is growing but available new land is limited. IntensiŽcation of land use and higher yields will depend on water availability and use efŽciency. Development projects and policies for more effective use of water will have to be interlinked. Water harvesting will require newer organizational rules and incentive systems. Best practice cases of small projects are discussed and lessons drawn. Water-use efŽciency must be improved for large projects.


WATER AND ENERGY FOR DEVELOPMENT IN GUJARAT WITH SPECIAL FOCUS ON THE SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT (pp. 37-54)

Jay Narayan Vyas, Minister, Narmada and Major Irrigation Projects, Government of Gujarat, India

Abstract: More than 150 000 villages in India have been facing drinking water problems. In Gujarat State, one of the worst affected, not only is all its surface water fully tapped, but the groundwater is also overexploited (by consuming nearly 43% of state electricity) resulting in deterioration of water quality, causing health hazards. This paper highlights the importance of the Sardar Sarovar Project for the socioeconomic development of western India in general and Gujarat in particular. It also presents the path-breaking approach that has been adopted in relation to the environment, rehabilitation etc. It is concluded that in the present circumstances, the state has no choice but to harness Narmada waters.


RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT: A CASE STUDY OF NARMADA VALLEY DEVELOPMENT WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO THE SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT IN GUJARAT, INDIA (pp. 55-78)

Rajiv K. Gupta, Executive Director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Abstract: Intra-basin and inter-basin transfer of water have become a necessity in view of severe regional imbalances in availability of water and drought conditions in India. This paper addresses the fundamental issues of river basin management in a multi-objective framework with a unique case study of Narmada River Valley Development, and demonstrates that the socioeconomic needs of the people override the rest of the working objectives. In inter-state water allocation, even a non-riparian state is considered when looking at the needs of the people. This paper focuses on the Sardar Sarovar Project on the river Narmada and highlights its rehabilitation, environmental and social aspects, and concludes that the project is a lifeline for people in western India.


SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT REVALIDATED BY SUPREME COURT (pp. 79-88)

B.G. Verghese, Centre for Policy Research, Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri, India

Abstract: The Sardar Sarovar Project has emerged from limbo after a six-year stay on further raising the height of the dam was vacated by an order of the Indian Supreme Court in October 2000. This multipurpose project has been termed ‘Gujarat’s lifeline’ by some and an ‘environmental disaster’ by others. The NBA (Save Narmada Movement) approached the Court in 1994 on a plea that the Project authorities had defaulted grievously on the resettlement and rehabilitation of project-affected persons and in observing mandatory environmental stipulations. The Court dismissed the petition by a majority decision, Žnding the plaint unsubstantiated on either count. BeneŽts could start owing within 18 months. That will be transforming.


BIG DAM DEVELOPMENT: FACTS, FIGURES AND PENDING ISSUES (pp. 89-98)

Surjit S. Bhalla and Arindom Mookerjee, Oxus Research & Investments, Greater Kailash—I, New Delhi, India

Abstract: This paper traces the genesis of the conict in the Narmada Valley, narrowing down the focus of the debate to the actual numbers displaced. It lays out the claims and counterclaims of all parties involved: the Government, NBA, and international funding agencies such as the World Bank. It provides ample alternatives to those existing numbers culminating in an economic estimation of the actual number of people displaced and, hence, the actual magnitude of human costs involved. The beneŽts obtained from big dams in India since independence are reviewed, the internal rate of return, and the policy implications resulting from the establishment of a correct measure of costs and beneŽts.


ENVIRONMENTAL OVERVIEW OF THE SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT (pp. 99-107)

Sharad Sabnis, Former Vice-Chancellor, M.S. University, ‘Nivara’, Guruprasad Society, Gujarat, India

Abstract. An overview of the various studies conducted to assess the environmental, ecological and social impacts, both positive and negative, of the Sardar Sarovar Project is presented. These studies have generally attempted to enhance the positive impacts, and to reduce the negative ones. The Sardar Sarovar Project is by far the most studied water project in the developing world, especially in social and environmental terms. The river Narmada and its numerous tributaries are a part of a very diverse system. The environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the river valley development is a complex task. The intricate interactions between various parameters, many of which cannot be deŽnitively predicted, make EIA studies extremely difŽcult. The success of this project depends on how fast and how efŽciently the various governmental agencies can work together with the NGOs, academics, the general public, and of course the politicians and policy makers.


OPERATION OF SARDAR SAROVAR CONVEYANCE SYSTEM (pp. 109-124)

M.B. Joshi, Narmada Project Main Canal Design Circle, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, Gujarat, India

Abstract: Conveying 11.7 BCM of water annually over a distance of up to 700 km fulŽlling the functional requirements such as safety, exibility, dependability, equity of distribution and efŽciency is challenging by any standard. Operation of the Sardar Sarovar Conveyance System is even more critical because of its unprecedented size, complexity, value of water for the drought-prone areas and inter-state commitments. This paper analyses the functional requirements of the system vis-a`-vis the limitations of conventional operation. The Controlled Volume Concept of operation through remote monitoring and a control system is adopted, which calls for canal automation as a ‘solution’. Discussing issues such as maintenance, training, economic evaluation etc., the paper concludes that the pilot project taken up on Vadodara DOC will be a
forerunner for other irrigation projects.


HUMAN RIGHTS DIMENSION OF REGIONAL WATER TRANSFER: EXPERIENCE OF THE SARDAR SAROVAR PROJECT (pp. 125-147)

Rajiv K. Gupta, Executive Director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd., Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

Abstract: Regional water transfer—a water management alternative in general and a means of addressing water scarcity in particular—has been subject to various controversies including those relating to human rights. This paper presents the worldwide practice of RWT and describes the Indian experience against the background of water availability, legal provisions and national policies. Referring to various widely ratiŽed international human rights instruments, the paper emphasizes that social desirability is equally as important as technical feasibility and economic viability of such projects. Intra-state regional imbalances and migration as a consequence of water scarcity in the State of Gujarat in India highlight the signiŽcance of Sardar Sarovar Project on the river Narmada. While discussing other alternatives such as rainwater harvesting, the paper goes on to establish that the state has no option but to implement RWT.


BOOK REVIEWS
The Political Economy of Water Pricing Reform, edited by Ariel Dinar, Oxford & New York, Oxford University Press, 2000

Ecological Economics. A Political Economics Approach to Environment and Development, by Peter Soderbaum, London, Earthscan Publications, 2000

CONFERENCE REPORT
First Meeting of the Club of Tokyo for a Global Water Policy Dialogue, Tokyo, 25–26 September 2000

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