Re-Linking Governance of Energy with Livelihoods and Irrigation in Uttarakhand, India
Greater policy coherence among the three sectors (water, energy and agriculture) is critical for decoupling increased food production from water and energy intensity and moving to a sustainable and efficient use of resources. The nexus approach can enhance understanding of the interconnectedness of the sectors and strengthen coordination among them.
2. Research Sites and Methods
…water supplies for agricultural, industrial, and urban–domestic uses; water filtration/purification; flow regulation; flood control; erosion and sedimentation control; fisheries, timber and other forest products; recreation/tourism; habitat for biodiversity preservation; aesthetic enjoyment; climate stabilization; and cultural, religious and inspirational values.
…though announced as neutral technological artefacts, (large dams and diversions) are deeply implicated in several processes that have been integral to affecting types of enclosure, hydraulic transfer, the expropriation and elimination of other water management skills and traditions and inevitably the externalisation of real costs through displacement onto the most marginal and impoverished communities.
Questions of justice are … at the heart of many environmental disputes, such as … infrastructure development projects... While broad in scope these environmental disagreements share common characteristics which include how decisions are made and how public goods, such as power generation infrastructure, and environmental burdens … are distributed.
3.1. Main Actors and Governance Linkages in the Study Area
We came to know about the ongoing construction plans only when we saw the machines. We led the group and reached the construction site. The moment villagers went to stop the construction, police were employed. The police would not even let us access our fields. We did not want them to take away the water used for irrigating our fields. So we started the protest that lasted for about a year. We would take turns going to our fields for work, attending to the needs of our children and also participating in the protest. For hours, groups of men and women would sit determined by the side of the road and would get up only when surrounded by the police. We participated in frequent hunger strikes. In my memory we stayed hungry for four days continuously one time and eight days another time. We were sent to jail at three different places three times. A settlement was reached after one year of tiring agitation, when we got water for irrigating our fields. However, if you ask me, the most important impact has been on our mental peace of mind and well-being, which can’t be reimbursed (translation from Hindi ours).
3.2. Case Studies
3.2.1. Observed Common Social Impacts in All Studied Hydroelectric Project (HEP) Areas
3.2.2. Impacts Observed in the Case of Devling and Chakar Village, Bhilangana III HEP Area
They caused damage to our agricultural fields and did not compensate us for it. Our harvest has been reduced due to less water available for irrigation and a lot of dust from the construction. The springs feeding our guhls (irrigation channels) have disappeared because of the blasting. This pollution in the area has also impacted our grazing land. It’s just not the same grass anymore and animals won’t consume it. Many of us have therefore sold off fifty per cent of our milch (dairy) cattle.
The forest is far away. Lower availability from other sources has increased our time and effort. There is a fear of wild animals in deeper nooks and crannies in the forest. We have no help from the men. So we have reduced the number of animals we keep.
Compensation for Losses
3.2.3. Impacts Observed in Chani Village, Agunda–Thati HEP Area Despite Signed Agreement
We have been living here for generations and now they have taken everything away. The developer belongs to the same district (but is now a large industrialist living in the large city of Dehradun). We told others: learn a lesson from our village.
I have seen three varieties of fish in the river. We call them as machibag, machhi, gadiyal locally. One of them is red and yellow in color. Earlier we would go for fishing in the summers. In the monsoon season, we would catch fish from standing water in the paddy crop (coming up from the river). Now, since most of the water is diverted in the hydropower channel, I do not see any fish in these waters. My fellow men and I from the village do not visit the river for fishing anymore.
3.2.4. Impacts on Environmental Flows Observed in Phalenda Village, Bhilangana HEP Area
4.1. Governance of Run-Of-The-River Hydropower
4.2. Benefits Sharing
4.4. Planning for a Basin with Decentralized and Centralized Distributed Generation Solutions
Conflicts of Interest
|DPR||detailed project report|
|EIA||environmental impact assessment|
|LADF||local area development fund|
|MMD||Mahila Mangal Dal (women’s village welfare groups)|
|NIDM||National Institute of Disaster Management|
|PRI||Panchayati Raj Institution|
|YMD||Yuvak Mangal Dal (youth welfare groups)|
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Buechler, S.; Sen, D.; Khandekar, N.; Scott, C.A. Re-Linking Governance of Energy with Livelihoods and Irrigation in Uttarakhand, India. Water 2016, 8, 437. https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100437
Buechler S, Sen D, Khandekar N, Scott CA. Re-Linking Governance of Energy with Livelihoods and Irrigation in Uttarakhand, India. Water. 2016; 8(10):437. https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100437Chicago/Turabian Style
Buechler, Stephanie, Debashish Sen, Neha Khandekar, and Christopher A. Scott. 2016. "Re-Linking Governance of Energy with Livelihoods and Irrigation in Uttarakhand, India" Water 8, no. 10: 437. https://doi.org/10.3390/w8100437