India threatened by flood-drought syndrome, says Mr M.Gopalakrishnan

A talk on policy support issues in basin management that compares small scale water harvesting sytems with large dams , citing how each one of them stand as an answer in different situations



M.Gopalakrishnan speaking on Policy Issues (Photo: Praveena Sridhar)

M. Gopalkrishnan speaks on policy support issues in basin management. He believes, small is  beautiful... big is beautiful too! Both have their own relevance. He goes on to compare small scale water harvesting sytems with large dams , citing how each one of them  stand as an answer in different situations.

If large scale, long distance water transfer can enhance regional benefits , then how do we re-examine this proposition with better scientific tools? We need to find answers to this !


A section of the audience (Photo: Praveena Sridhar)


  • India has not moved from rainfed agriculture system till this day...He observes that we are in the same situation as that in 1959, with similar levels of food security!
  • About Gosunda dam in Rajasthan : the problem is over Water Harvesting Upstream. The hydrology can be maintained while harvesting rain water so as to manage the trade off.
  • Water management can ensure green power and proper food supply, there are lessons to learn for India.
  • Water and food securtiy are highly interconnected. Water shortage is bound to result in shortage of food and worse.
  • We are threatened by flood-draught syndrome!



  • Mix  and match local-national initiatives to maximise gains.
  • Demand side managment along with supply chain management is a must to manage food, land and water resources.


Question raised: Citing this year's Nobel prize in economics, he was asked what he thought about involving the community. Is it necessary?

To this he answered: Can a city of 16 million, manage its resources with local solutions? The people have to store water for themselves, in cities like New Delhi. If not this, the alternative could be that we have huge dams to store their water. If it is possible to mobilize local managment of water in a whole city then the problem is solved ! But is this really possible?

There are situations that demand intervention at a larger scale, and localized measures may not prove to be practical. Under those conditions we do not have a choice. We need to manage water efficiently and judiciously, as by 2030 the population in cities are expected to double itself!




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