Interlinking of rivers would increase India’s arable land 35 mha-Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent H. Pala

Chennai, Sep 21 (Calcutta Tube) Interlinking of rivers has the potential to increase India’s arable land by 35 million hectares (mha), Minister of State for Water Resources Vincent H. Pala said Tuesday.

Harvesting flood waters to recharge of ground water would increase the availability by about 36 million cubic metres, he added.

Speaking at the conference on water organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here, Pala said: ‘India has to create an irrigation potential of more than the estimated 140 mha through better water management measures.’

‘The task is challenging, more so in the view of the fact that easy and best water options for development of water resources have already been tapped. New water resources development will be difficult from the point of view of hydrological features and topographical constraints,’ he said.

He said development of water resources and efficient use play an important role in food production.

According to Pala, the increased use of fertilisers and pesticides are contributory factors for polluting water bodies apart from industrial effluents.

The reducing per capita availability of water and reducing ground water table is also a major challenge to be addressed, he added.

Lauding Tamil Nadu’s initiatives on water augmentation, he called for expediting measures on preventing coastal erosion.

‘Tamil Nadu has 900 km of coastal region of which 640 km is vulnerable to erosion and only 40 km is provided with adequate protection,’ Pala said.

The climate change apart from submerging some of the areas would result in salinity ingress problems, he warned.

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