Madurai: Over 100 water activists from South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra deliberated for two days and resolved to end the over century old Cauvery dispute by looking at the river “beyond political and state boundaries”.
The two-day national consultation meet on ‘Restoration of environmental flow of rivers at their basin levels, alternative ways to share and manage water resources’, under the guidance of Rajendra Singh, popularly known as Waterman of India, today adopted a Cauvery Resolution 2017.
Following is the draft of the resolution:
We, the family members of Cauvery river assembled in historic city of Madurai (Tamilnadu) and after two days of consultation resolved as follows:
While respecting Constitution of India and drawing inspiration from the same we resolved that water is birth right of every citizen, communities and living creatures.
While declaring Cauvery as the living entity, we accept that the Cauvery is an invaluable and essential water resources for the whole of South India at the present moment there is no flow into the the sea for 9 months in a year, which means the river is almost into a terminal death. In view of this and the large scale adverse impact on all human habitation and the ecology, we need to preserve and augment the fresh water flow into this river.
Kodagu which is a high intensity source point of water contributes nearly 70% of its water to Krishna Raj Sagara Reservoir. Tree cover has direct impact on climate and rain fall.
There is large scale loss of tree cover in the Western Ghats which has caused for wide spread uncertainity in rainfall pattern.
We have to look at river beyond political and state boundaries to form River Parliament involving farmers and stakeholders.
All stakeholders should take up decisions regarding river cleaning, de-silting and afforestation etc.
Improve water management / water efficiency by adopting modern technologies – system of rice intensification, growing of less water demanding crops and diversifying cropping pattern. Water user Co -operative Societies must be promoted to improve water management.
Save Western Ghats Movement has to be strengthened.
Repairs and maintenence of irrigation canals for improving conveyance efficiency – adopt satellite based water distribution system.
The entire source area in Western Ghats must be declared as an inviolate zone. No large construction or urbanisation can be permitted which includes railway lines, powerlines, Four Lane Highways, mining activity, and other projects. This water source needs to be protected from the perils of rapid urbanisation, invasive tourism, linear development projects, sand mining, rural and urban waste. Sringent rules should be framed and executed for regulating polluting industries along the course of the river.
The entire Cauvery Delta covers the most fertile lands which has been the centre of one of the oldest civilization. The Delta area at point of confluence of the river with Bay of Bengal shall be prohibited from oil, gas, mineral and other natural resources exploration activities.
The entire Cauvery Basin should be treated as a single entity, involving all the stakeholders applying measures / practices, holistically.
*The writer is a senior journalist