Headline, May 15 2019/ ''' '' ASIA WATER ARMS '' '''

''' '' ASIA WATER ARMS '' '''

Unruly Waters : How Rains, Rivers, Coasts and Seas have shaped Asia History : By Sunil Amrith. 

ON THE LAST DAY OF 1956 Jawaharlal Nehru, first prime minister of an independent India, took Zhou Enlai, his Chinese counterpart, to visit the Bhakra Dam, on the Sutlej river in the north of the country.

''These are the new temples of India, where I worship,'' he told his visitor. Both young government saw managing water as a central part of their mandate.

In Chinese mythology, civilisation dates from the efforts by the Emperor Yu to tame the floods 4,000 years ago. Meanwhile Indian history has been a long battle to predict, harness and exploit the monsoons - or to cope with its failure.

Tens of thousands of farmers have recently taken to the streets to vent their anger at the hardship they are enduring after weaker-than-usual rains.

As Sunil Amrith notes in his enthralling, elegantly written and, ultimately profoundly alarming history, nowhere ''has the search for water shaped or sustained as ,much human life as in India and China.''

Between them they have perhaps 36% of the worlds population, but just 11% of its freshwater - and, in both countries it is distributed hugely unevenly. Their hydraulic properties have differed:

''India's great need was irrigation; Chinese was flood control.'' But their approaches have had much in common : the massive investment of labour, capital and technology in a drive to contain and control the forces of nature.

The dams are an obvious symbol of this. Mr. Amrith concentrates mainly on India using China for comparison and contrast. He notes that more than 40 million people have been displaced by dam-building.

In China under Mao Zedong, an estimated 22,000 large dams were constructed. And the frenzy continues. More than 400 dams are planned by China, Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal in the Himalayas, source of Asia's ten great rivers.

But dams are only part of the story. Both India and China have long nurtured grandiose-visions if linking and delivering rivers to mitigate the inequity of nature's distribution.

Thanks to the most expensive infrastructure project the world has ever seen : two thirds of Beijing's tap water now comes from a reservoir in central China, nearly 1,500 km [930 miles] away. India has dreams of ''interlinking'' 17 rivers through 14,000 km of canals.

And both countries have sucked ever increasing volumes of water from under ground. The Green Revolution in India, which, in the 1970s, transformed its ability to feed itself, relied on electric tube wells.

Groundwater now accounts for 60% of India's irrigated area; agriculture's share of total energy use climbed from 10% in 1970 to 30% by 1995 - encouraged in part by the cheap or free electricity that  Indian politicians love to lavish on rural voters when election looms.

The inspiring element of this chronicle is simple; a huge increase in human life, health and happiness.

Water management, and the agriculture production it has sustained, have irrigated China's economic miracle. And India, after the repeated drought-induced famines inflicted by British rule, and its dependence on food aid into the 1960s, has become a big agriculture exporter.

The alarming aspect comes in the evidence Mr. Amrith marshals to suggest that past strategies have run their course, and indeed are now causing new and huge problems.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Water, Asia and The Future, continues. The World Students Society thanks The Economist.

With respectful  dedication to the Leaders of Asia, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers, and then the world, See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Floods & Flares '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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