Referring to Mhadeyi water diversion issue and water crises in North Karnataka, India’s Waterman tells Belagavi – November 2, 2016:
Ramon Magsaysay Awardee (2001) and Stockholm water prize winner (2015) Dr. Rajendrasingh was in the city to inaugurate Hitaishi Charitable Trust. In a power packed speech he addressed pressing issues of water scarcity in the country and gave strong pointers to the citizens of Karnataka on the best way forward to conserve water.
Referring to the current water crisis in Karnataka he said
We did not have to steal anyone else’s water for our own survival – we took care of the water given to us by the environment, we respected it, loved it and put it onto the belly of the earth – and now we don’t have to worry about water at all. We have perennial sources of water!!
He went on to add that Karnataka has been blessed with ample water and that it is pure mismanagement that has led to 70% of its rivers being either dry or dead. “Whether it is the Cauvery issue or the Mahadei issue – the people need to find a local solution. The people of Karnataka are spoilt, and it is very difficult to tame a spoilt child. But the people of this state need to reflect upon their actions. Only this reflection will ensure a good future for its people.
Hariyali causes rain
The winds coming from Arabian sea turn into rains because of the greenery in the western ghats, hence the greenery in western ghats need to be preserved and more green cover need to be created in the water shade of these rivers.
Therefore I appeal to the founders of this trust to look into this matter with gravity, take up water literacy as a priority and look at utilizing your own resources with caution – only this will avoid future water wars.” He said.
Not only did Dr. Singh point out the current issues faced by the state of Karnataka but he also gave alternatives to ones currently being discussed by the administration. He stressed that we all need to be self-reliant for our water needs – taking someone else’s water should never be an option. “ So” he added “ Will the people of Belagavi take Mahadeis water or conserve their own?”
Dr. Rajendra Singh, Rajasthan, better known as the ‘Water-man’ of India has been working in arid regions of the state since 1985. In his speech he stressed on the importance of utilizing local resources and traditional knowledge to sustainably conserve water. He has been instrumental in rejuvenating 7 dead rivers and bringing 10,800 sqkms of land under rain water harvesting. These efforts have not only reduced temperature by 3 degrees but have resulted in the beginning of first time agricultural activities and reverse migration in the region.
Using TBS work as an example he enunciated that the issue of water scarcity can be resolved locally – using sustainable rain water harvesting techniques.
He stressed that there was no need to take anyone else’s water. He also said that
Mahadayi ka pani churanese, Belagavi ko pani nahi milega.