03 August, 2021

The Great Water Divide

The South is caught up in a complex web of views on sharing of river waters. The Cauvery issue has reached yet another flashpoint, but the states are embroiled in other disputes too.

The Great Water Divide

THE river water disputes in the four southern states are complex, compelling and have been the breeding ground for competitive chauvinism. No side may be guilty of outright distortion of facts but neither is anyone speaking the complete truth. Like the Japanese classic film Roshomon, in which murder is retold in a multitude of variations, each outsmarting the other, the story of how the waters should be shared is the subject of several flowing interpretations. While the unresolved Cauvery issue has reached its seasonal flashpoint, the Krishna river water crisis is also threatening to take a similar peril-ridden course. Though the differences could have been smoothened out, political compulsions have come in the way and a solution looks virtually impossible. The problem has acquired deep political overtones with former Karnataka chief minister Deve Gowda now donning the mantle of Prime Minister and his dependence on Tamil Nadu's DMK and the Moopanar Congress for survival.

The conflict stems from the varying irrigation practices of Tamil...

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