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Competing interests in water resources - a rural and urban scenario in Andhra Pradesh, India




Lakshminarayana, P., author
Rao, B. Venkateswara, author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Increased demographic pressure results in the fast emergence of acute water scarcity for both drinking and agricultural purposes. Surface and ground water resources show widespread signs of degradation and depletion even as demands for water continue to multiply. Water scarcity is a constraint on meeting the human needs and protection of the environment particularly in arid and semiarid regions. India is geologically covered by vast tracts of hard rocks and scarcity of water in these regions naturally leads to competing interests in water resources. Irrigation, drinking water and industry and other sectors are considered as the three distinct and important sectors of water use. As water resources dwindle competition is mounting not only among the various water use sectors but also within each of the sectors turning water scarcity as a potential source of conflict. As a result each sector attempts to draw its share of water demand at the expense of other sectors. The occurrence of such competing interests for water resources is witnessed among the various sectors as irrigation versus drinking water sectors, irrigation versus industrial and other sectors, drinking water versus industrial sectors and also within each of the irrigation, drinking water and industrial sectors in both rural and urban environments. In the present paper, the related issues on the competing interests for water resources in the aforementioned water use sectors in the rural and urban context of Andhra Pradesh, India are discussed. It is concluded that the remedy to the problems, conflicts and competing interests for water resources among the various sectors discussed in the paper lies in planning and implementing better water management strategies, co-operation among the water users and consumers, improvements in the water conveyance and distribution mechanisms of irrigation water, bringing a change in the traditional thinking of farmers to suit modern requirements and educating them on the water management in the practice of appropriate methods of water application on the field, adopting artificial recharge of rain water falling in the cities to conserve more water, enactment and strict implementation of water laws to control large scale abstraction and over exploitation of ground water and enforcement of provisions of the existing pollution control acts on such industries which pollute the surface and ground water resources.


Presented at Competing interests in water resources - searching for consensus: proceedings from the USCID water management conference held on December 5-7, 1996 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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