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The Hindu on indiaserver.com : Water conservation

Online edition of India's National Newspaper on indiaserver.com
Monday, May 29, 2000


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Water conservation

Sir, - The present predicament with regard to water scarcity and drought conditions in some parts of the country should make the authorities heed the observations of Prof. Colin Clark, one of the world-renowned economists, who visited India some 30 years ago. He said: ``India gets all the water it needs and much more, but most of the rains come within a period of seven to eight weeks, and most of it is wasted by allowing it to run to the sea.''

Unfortunately, our political leaders in the last 50 years have neglected the basic problem of water. They have fought for the division of river water among States and spent crores of rupees on court litigation and in inciting mob fury on what is basically a national asset.

Moreover, there was an obsession with huge dams which, though useful, have limitations. In the bargain, renovation of small tanks, wells and other feasible projects of water conservation were neglected.

The lack of vision of our politicians has been compounded by the ignorance and lethargy of our bureaucrats. Most of them studied their economics in countries where it rains 10 out of 12 months and water is not a problem while in a country like India the entire economy depends on the timely and adequate availability of water.

Israel has demonstrated how a desert can bloom by proper utilisation of water. At least now, our policy-makers should focus their attention on all practical methods of water conservation on a priority basis.

M. R. Pai,

Mumbai

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