Question: Not many years ago, river linking was a concept but it is becoming reality in the country. Discuss the advantages of river linking and its possible impact on the environment.
Answer: Indian government has decided to implement river linking project in the country through which perennial Himalayan rivers will be linked to non-perennial peninsular river. The government aims to create a system of canals and dams to implement this project.
Advantages of river linking project
- Flood control
The flood causing Himalayan rivers will be reigned in through creation of dams that will act as barriers. The excessive waters can be transferred into peninsular rivers that face drought regularly due to failure of monsoon.
- Increasing agricultural area
The additional benefits from this project include agricultural boost. The canals and dams can take water to those areas that are water deficient. In addition, excess water in dry rivers can help in developing their basin area.
- Power production
The dams can also be utilised for power production in a efficient manner. With rapid development, there is great demand in electric supply for domestic and industries which can be met through hydro power.
Disadvantages of river linking
- Affects river ecosystem
Dams on rivers can disturb its ecosystem enormously by cutting off upstream and downstream areas. This will prevent river species from migrating and can threaten their survival. In addition, people dependent on river for survival such as fishermen will be impacted.
- Depletion of mangroves and deltas
Mangrove ecosystems are very sensitive to water changes especially in alterations in levels of freshwater and saline water. By diverting freshwater from the rivers, these ecosystem face dangers of extinction.
The project still needs comprehensive study to simulate and study effects of changing water levels in rivers on environment. This will protect any future damages that may occur.
River linking project has its own problems and benefits. It must be implemented in such a way as to have lowest impact on population and environment. Nevertheless, its success is sure to contribute tremendously towards India’s growth.