10 April 2010

Water Situation

This Summer Tiruvannamalai is facing severe water shortages and although the TNEB (Tamil Nadu Electricity Board) has announced a 9-hour supply for agriculture, long power cuts are common place throughout rural Tamil Nadu.

Farmers have asked that the TNEB maintain a three-phase power supply for agriculture – 6 hours in the morning and 6 hours in the evening. They have also requested expansion works of the Mettur thermal power station be expedited immediately. To read more on the concerns over the looming power crisis check this link here:

I’ve been told by those who have originated from this place, that as recently as thirty years ago it was rare to see paddy (rice) cultivated in these parts. Tiruvannamalai is a dry area with limited water resources and heavily depends upon the rain acquired through its seasonal rainy seasons.

A combination of independent bore wells and thus a more easily accessible water supply and the considerable incentive of free electricity, has driven farmers to plant ‘cash crops’ that need excessive water irrigation. Currently with temperatures in the early 100s (Fahrenheit degrees) makes the sight of twice daily water flooded rice fields somewhat bizarre!

There is no doubt that countries and communities need to maintain an independent agricultural system. However the fact is Tamil Nadu is likely to face a severe water crisis in the next half century and according to experts, what will contribute to the crisis is the fast-depleting groundwater table, and the increasing pollution of water sources. The crisis in the making in Tamil Nadu would be as much about the quality of water available as its shrinking availability. Experts want Tamil Nadu to reduce its dependence on water from neighbouring States and formulate alternative plans.

As well as the concern that many rivers are already badly polluted in the State, another area of concern is the general over-exploitation of groundwater. According to experts, too many farmers are cultivating water-intensive crops and are indiscriminately exploiting groundwater for irrigation, which has led to a steep fall in the water table.

In this respect agriculture accounts for 85-90% of the total use of water in the State. Even by the judicious planting of less water intensive crops and gaining a 10% reduction in the agricultural sector, would considerably ease the impending water shortage situation

To read an excellent report on the Tamil Nadu water problem please click here:

And to read a previous posting on 'Water Sustainability: Extract from Report on Rain Fed areas by Planning Commission, New Delhi'; click on this link here.

1 comment:

balakrishnan said...

This page gives a brief and correct description on the water problem of Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu. Appreciable. Keep it up.