India is a country rich in natural resources, water being one of the most vital of them. India being essentially an agricultural country, we need water for agriculture as well as for industrial purposes.
Water is stored in reservoirs behind dams to supply water to villages and cities. It is also used for irrigation, production of hydroelectricity and navigation.
The demand for water is increasing rapidly with the increase in population whereas the supply of water remains almost the same.
India occupies only 2.45% of the world’s surface area and is the home of 16% of the world’s surface area and 16% of the world population as well. As against this, India has only 4% of the world’s water resources. Even this limited supply can be depleted or made unusable by extensive utilization, pollution and poor management of water.
We receive plenty of water in the short rainy season and the remaining part of the year remains dry. Under such conditions, the balance between the demand and supply has to be maintained. And it becomes imperative for us to protect and rehabilitate our existing water sources.
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What is mission Kakatiya?
Mission Kakatiya, colloquially known as Mana Ooru Mana Cheruvu is a noble initiative of the Telangana Government to introduce large scale rehabilitation for the tanks and lakes in the region which are one of the most important irrigation sources for the crops grown in the State.
The mission was launched by Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao on 12th March 2015. The project is estimated to cost a whopping 2 lakh crore for the restoration of all the tanks and lakes in the region. De-silting and restoration of tanks in village localities will be the foremost objective of this mission.
Tank irrigation has been practiced in southern India for ages. In the 18th and 19th century, Kings, Britons and even Zamindars promoted the use of tanks. The mission gets its name from the mighty Kakatiya rulers that lived in the region now known as Telangana. Special LMMS (Lake Management and Monitoring Systems) have also been set up for the error-free scrutiny of water loss and assessment of benefits of mission Kakatiya.
Why is such a mission needed?
Post-independence, and with the advent of modern technology, tank irrigation was almost on the decline and ground water was being indiscriminately exploited for irrigation, industrial, as well as domestic purposes. Moreover, human activates and factories provide a rampant source of pollution to these lakes. Many small factories dodge all sorts of environmental impact norms by illicit means and by bribing corrupt officials and dump all the harmful toxic wastes and by products into the river.
These wastes often contain harmful chemical compounds like those of mercury, cadmium and lead which can cause deadly diseases like paralysis and Alzheimer’s. Not only are these, even the aquatic ecosystem consisting of fishes which are caught by the locals for food being poisoned with trace amounts of these compounds.
When this fish reaches higher up in the food chain, by being eaten by bigger fishes or even humans, the toxins express themselves in much higher concentration due to a process called bio magnification. Not only this, because of industrial emissions as well as vehicular exhaust, harmful gases containing oxides of sulfur and nitrogen are released into the atmosphere.
These oxides combine with the moisture of the atmosphere to form harmful acidic compounds like sulfuric acid and nitric acid and fall down as acid rain. This not only pollutes the land but is also immensely harmful for the lakes and tanks that collect such water.
Sometimes, due to the excessive use of chemical fertilizers, lakes get contaminated with the runoff of manures and chemicals which nourishes the aquatic plants and weeds, as a result of which, the biological oxygen demand increases and causes eutrophication.
In this dire scenario, restoration of tanks and lakes which have already been polluted is extremely crucial. And for exactly for this reason, mission Kakatiya was started.
Importance of tanks and lakes
- Lakes that are perennial help in the irrigation of agricultural land at times of no rainfall rest of the year (when rainy season is not going on) because of this benefit; cultivation of same crops can be done throughout the year.
- Tank irrigation is an extremely important method used in the parts of Deccan where water is collected and used for later irrigation.
- Tank irrigation is cheaper than other types of irrigation as the rainwater is collected in natural pits and depressions that are easily available in the peninsular India.
- As the water is collected and used in dry season, it uses the water table of the surrounding region.
- It is difficult to arrange for other modes of irrigation in the Deccan plateau region. Therefore, natural lakes and tanks are of paramount importance which cover a large area and can be easily built.
- Tank and lake water can also be used for domestic purposes as they are relatively clean.
- Tanks and lakes provide multiple uses like source of drinking water for numerous communities and also livestock, fish culture etc.
- Lakes being a large water body, not only contribute to livestock and agriculture but also has a positive influence in maintaining climatic conditions and lowering the temperature of neighboring areas, keeping them at an optimum and cool level.
According to the general estimate, out of the total precipitation of approximately 400 million hectare meters of rainfall on the country and only 178 million hectare meters. Out of this, only 50% can be used because of topographical features.
The Government of India has also developed a National Water Policy for the optimum and judicious utilization, management and conservation of water resources of the country.
Thus, we can see, why Mission Kakatiya such a noble service to the nation as well as for the better utilization of the resources given to us by mother Earth. Mission Kakatiya programme is an excellent and praise-worthy initiative from the Government and hopefully other states and countries will follow suit.