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25th January 2023 (7 Topics)

Ken-Betwa river link project

Context

Recently, the Steering Committee of the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) held its third meeting in New Delhi. 

  • It was chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Water Resources, in the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

About the Ken-Betwa project:

  • Ken-Betwa interlinking is a multipurpose water development project.
  • Under this project, water from the Ken river will be transferred to the Betwa river. 
    • Both these rivers are tributaries of the river Yamuna.
  • It is one of the smallest components of the proposed National River Linking Project (NRLP) of India. 
  • The NRLP envisages transferring 178 km3 of water across 37 rivers, through a proposed network of about 30 river links.
  • It is an independent link in the peninsular component that connects two small north-flowing rivers namely, the Ken and Betwa rivers in the Greater Ganga Basin.
  • In the first phase, a 77-metre high and 2,031-metre-long dam will be constructed at Daudhan village located near the Ken and a 221-km long Ken-Betwa link canal will be built through which water from the Ken will flow into the Betwa basin.
  • The project has been delayed for a long time because of disputes between the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh over water sharing.

About National River Linking Project (NRLP)

  • This project envisages the transfer of water from the water-excess basin to the water-deficient basin by interlinking 37 rivers of India with a network of almost 3000 storage dams. This will form a gigantic South Asian water grid.
  • There are two components to this project:
    • Himalayan Component
    • Peninsular Component

Need for NRLP:

  • Many parts of the country face water shortages and droughts while other parts face flooding year after year.
  • The Indo Gangetic Rivers are perennial while the peninsular rivers are seasonal. The excess water from the plains can be diverted to the peninsula to solve the water issues.

Benefits of the National River linking project (NRLP):

  • Water crisis: The project envisages resolving the water shortage issues by diverting excess water from plains to deficit regions.
  • Hydropower generation: The building of dams and reservoirs can generate about 34000 MW of electricity from this project.
  • Weather flow augmentation: In dry weather, surplus water stored in reservoirs can be released to rivers to maintain minimum water flow in rivers.
  • Agriculture: The Farming sector in India is very much monsoon-dependent, hence the project aims to solve the lack of irrigation facilities in water-deficit regions.
  • Inland waterways: The transport and connectivity through inland waterways will benefit commercially.
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