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Role of Large Multi-purpose River Valley Projects in Integrated Water Resource Management – An Overview of Bhakra Nangal Project

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Er. Anil Arora and Er. Rajeev Bansal
Er. Anil Arora is Member (Irrigation)of Bhakra Beas Management Board, the organization which manages two large projects viz. Bhakra-Nangal Project and Beas Project having total installed generation capacity of 2865 MW. Er. Rajeev Bansal is Executive Engi

Keyword(s): Bhakra, Multipurpose,
AbstractWater supports life on Earth. All human settlements, since man emerged out of caves, sprang up near water bodies and emergence of major civilizations along rivers proves this fact. With the advent of agriculture, the demand for water increased, as irrigating agricultural farms became a necessity and with the development of industry and other water-consuming sectors, the requirement of water increased manifold. This gave rise to rapid development of water resources but unfortunately it was not done in a well coordinated and sustainable manner. As a result there are a number of conflicts in this sector such as demand-driven, inter-state, upstream-downstream, environmental, pricing policies, etc. The situation becomes more alarming due to the fact that water is a finite resource and pollution of water resources is continuing unabated. The world is facing a water crisis, which is worsening every day. The crisis manifests itself in several ways such as ever-increasing water scarcity; lack of access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation, fragmented approach towards management of water resources, deteriorating water quality, threats to world peace and security over trans-boundary water conflicts and a decline in financial resources for water infrastructures. Moreover, there is an apparent lack of awareness on the part of the decision-makers about the magnitude, complexity and impacts of these factors on human development, the environment and sustainability of life on this planet. The onus thus lies on the present generation not only for judicious and responsible use of water but also for maintaining ecological balance while conserving this resource for the coming generations. The need, therefore, is for a holistic approach towards the management of water resources and to integrate the management as well as development of water to the maximum possible extent. This would not only ensure its effective management, conservation, equitable distribution, resolution of inter and intra-state conflicts but also help in providing necessary ecological balance. Large river valley multipurpose provide holistic approach for basin level planning and management of water resources leading to integrated management of the resources. Bhakra Nangal Project was the first major river valley multipurpose river valley project of independent India. The magnitude of the project and its successful completion has become an icon in the category of large dams in the world. The first prime minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had termed Bhakra Dam ‘New Temple of Resurgent India and the Symbol of India’s Progress’. The present paper gives an overview of the historical facts, issues of its operation & maintenance and the socio-economic & environmental impacts of Bhakra Nangal Project and holistic approach leading to integrated water resources management at the planning stage of the project.
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