ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India's Water and Power Crises

With drought affecting large parts of the country, there are question marks on an energy policy that stresses thermal power plants. The vagaries of climate change will make such plants even more inept.

Media reports have indicated that this year roughly 50% of the country is in the grip of a drought, with many areas suffering successive drought years. Hundred and thirty five of the 170 odd talukas (geographic subdivisions) in Karnataka have been declared as drought-affected. In adjacent Andhra Pradesh 196 of the 670 mandals (geographic subdivisions) have been declared drought-affected, and 231 out of 443 mandals have been declared drought-affected in Telangana. Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Haryana, and Maharashtra are also in the grip of drought.

While droughts in the past generally hurt poor villagers, in recent times they have affected most sections of the population, including the urban rich. Reduced generation in power plants due to low water levels in the reservoirs is one reason for such widespread impact. In view of the fact that coal power plants need huge quantities of freshwater, the drought scenario in the country should lead to a thorough review of coal-based power policy for the country. Drought is known to have profound impact on the electric power sector, which in turn will have huge impact on agriculture, industry and commerce. This article tries to study the implications of thermal power plants on droughts in the country

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