Rajasthan like its temples seems to be frozen in time. I get this feeling every year as I travel through the state. There are incremental signs of progress, but it is too little to get a state on the road to development. The root cause is the lack of water. Without water, power is a challenge. There is little agriculture and development taking place. Industry is also hobbled.
Talking with some local people during the trip, it became clear to me that the only solution lay in the major government plan of interlinking of rivers. That is the only way water can be made available across the state. The Indira Gandhi Canal has made some progress, bringing regular supply to Jodhpur. But a lot more needs to be done.
I was reminded of my travel a year ago through Californias Central Valley. That part of California also lacks water, but the state fixed the problem through the Central Valley Project. Here is a brief on it:
California’s Central Valley Basin includes two major watersheds–the Sacramento River on the north and the San Joaquin River on the south–plus the Tulare Lake Basin. The combined watersheds extend nearly 500 miles from northwest to southeast and range from about 60 to 100 miles wide.
The basin is surrounded by mountains, except for a gap in its western edge, at the Carquinez Straits. The valley floor occupies about one-third of the basin; the other two-thirds is mountainous. The Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada Mountains, on the north and the east, rise to about 14,000 feet, and the Coast Range, on the west, rises to 8,000 feet. The San Joaquin River runs northward and most of its tributaries generally run east and west. These two river systems join at the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and flow through Suisun Bay and Carquinez Straits, into San Francisco Bay, and out the Golden Gate to the Pacific Ocean.
The Central Valley Project, one of the Nation’s major water conservation developments, extends from the Cascade Range in the north to the semi-arid but fertile plains along the Kern River in the south. Initial features of the project were built primarily to protect the Central Valley from crippling water shortages and menacing floods, but the CVP also improves Sacramento River navigation, supplies domestic and industrial water, generates electric power, conserves fish and wildlife, creates opportunities for recreation, and enhances water quality. The CVP serves farms, homes, and industry in California’s Central Valley as well as major urban centers in the San Francisco Bay Area; it is also the primary source of water for much of California’s wetlands. In addition to delivering water for farms, homes, factories, and the environment, the CVP produces electric power and provides flood protection, navigation, recreation, and water quality benefits.
This multiple-purpose project plays a key role in California’s powerful economy, providing water for 6 of the top 10 agricultural counties in the nation’s leading farm state. It has been estimated that the value of crops and related service industries has returned 100 times Congress’s $3 billion investment in the CVP.
So, what is the solution for bringing water to Rajasthan?
Tomorrow: Water Solution?
TECH TALK Rajasthan Ruminations+T