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Forum questions industrial water commitments

Published by MAC on 2007-07-10

Forum questions industrial water commitments

Staff Reporter, The Hindu Daily

10th July 2007

'Three north coastal districts facing a threat of water crisis' - VUDA, GVMC and Government indifferent, says Forum for Better Visakha - VBF says some parties joining hands with private companies

Visakhapatnam: The Forum for Better Visakha (FBV), a coalition of NGOs and concerned citizens, has pointed out a mismatch between future commitments for industrial needs and availability of water in general and for irrigation and drinking purposes in particular. The forum has been opposing the proposed diversion of water to an alumina refinery in Vizianagaram district as it would be at the expense of agricultural and drinking water needs.

According to forum convener and former Union Energy Secretary EAS Sarma, the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority's Master Plan has put the total water available from all reservoirs in the region and the Godavari canal at 219 million gallons per day (mgd) by 2021.

The requirements of the committed and yet-to-be committed industrial units in the region alone add up to 256 mgd, he said in a press release here on Monday. That itself would leave a deficit of 37 mgd, not counting the needs for irrigation and drinking in rural and urban areas, he contended.

On the other hand, the Master Plan estimates the irrigation and drinking water needs by 2021 would amount to 145 mgd, Mr.Sarma said. The forum is of the view that the manner in which industrial needs were being cleared indiscriminately, it would deprive irrigation of water in the northern districts. Besides, Visakhapatnam and other neighbouring towns and villages that had already been facing a severe water shortage would be further affected adversely, he said describing it as a serious situation that all responsible citizens should condemn and resist.
Mining project

Mr. Sarma said the upstream bauxite-mining project that was supposed to feed ore to the refinery would itself destroy precious aquifers in the Eastern ghats that generate water for different rivers flowing in north Andhra region. Again, according to the Master Plan, some of the natural reservoirs that provide water to the city are drying up, Mr. Sarma says. The normal supplies from Mudasarlova, Gambhiram, Gosthani, Thatipudi, Meghadrigedda, Raiwada and Yeleru add up to 39 mgd whereas the present supply capability was only 12 mgd.

He said the apathy and indifference of VUDA and GVMC and the government, in a way, were squarely responsible for the unfortunate situation.

Cautioning that the citizens and farmers of the three north coastal districts were indeed facing a threat of an impending water crisis, he said representatives of some political parties seemed to be surreptitiously joining hands with private companies in diverting precious water supplies to the detriment of public interest.

The attempts should be condemned outright and resisted, he said.


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