Save wa­ter bod­ies to pre­vent drought

Down to Earth - - LETTERS -

The ed­i­to­rial, "Make In­dia drought-proof" (July 1-15, 2014), is timely as the coun­try faces de­fi­cient rain­fall due to un­pre­dictable weather. Many parts of the coun­try are fac­ing drought. The ed­i­to­rial asks a perti­nent ques­tion: why do we re­main un­pre­pared year af­ter year to deal with a drought­like sit­u­a­tion? This is not the first time mon­soon has been ir­reg­u­lar. This is not the first time our farm­ers are look­ing at crop fail­ure. In­dia had wit­nessed se­vere drought in 2002, 2004 and 2009. But we have not learnt from the past. A few years of good rain­fall make us com­pla­cent. This com­pla­cency stops us from pre­par­ing con­tin­gency plans for the future.


When wa­ter con­ser­va­tion was taken up as an agenda by the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance gov­ern­ment af­ter it came to power in 1998, water­shed man­age­ment pro­gramme was re­vamped. The pri­or­ity of the gov­ern­ment was to ren­o­vate and re­store wa­ter bod­ies and recharge ground­wa­ter. But bureau­cratic loop­holes and half-hearted im­ple­men­ta­tion of the project led to its fail­ure. In few states where water­shed ac­tiv­i­ties were car­ried out, the qual­ity, de­sign and tech­ni­cal as­pects were not con­sid­ered. Agri­cul­tural en­gi­neers with ex­per­tise on soil and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion can be of great help in this re­gard. I don't be­lieve we do not have enough man­power; rather, the skills of trained pro­fes­sion­als have largely re­mained un­der-utilised.


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