River linking could alter rainfall, hit monsoons, warns expert

River linking could alter rainfall, hit monsoons, warns expert

Criticising the interlinking of rivers (ILR) project of the Indian government, a leading geologist and environmental expert Friday warned the move could disrupt rainfall pattern which could be a significant issue in the wake of climate change.

"There is a major disruption of ecosystem. In view of climate change there is a possibility of change in pattern of rainfall," V. Rajamani, an emeritus professor of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, told IANS here on the sidelines of a programme.

He was addressing students on climate change in India at a lecture organized by Indian National Science Academy (INSA) and West Bengal Academy of Science and Technology, at the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology here.

Rajamani, who has repeatedly expressed his reservations about the project, explained: "You may be damming a river, but the river might not have water if you don't return the water to the sea.

"The marine water system will be disturbed and the physical process for the rainfall will be affected. You may not even get the monsoon."

The ambitious ILR initiative which received a boost by the Narendra Modi-led government has 30 river-linking projects under its ambit and includes both peninsular and Himalayan rivers.

Union Water Resource, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Uma Bharti has recently said ILR will raise irrigation capacity and will be taken up on mission mode. However, Rajamani sounded a word of caution.

"Natural system works with natural laws' give and take. How do you know it works? Americans are regretting they went for technology and now they are realising it is not working and now we are doing the same thing," Rajamani said.

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