CHENNAI: Senior agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan on Saturday said Tamil Nadu should set up a Water Security Board to ensure maximum benefits from the said Cauvery Management Board (CMB) proposed by the Supreme Court. "The CMB can give urgent consideration to various opportunities for both demand management and supply augmentation, so that the reduced water allocation does not affect the productivity and income security of the numerous small farm of Tamil Nadu," he said in a statement issued on Saturday.
Swaminathan said the CMB should include eminent water technologists and agriculture specialists. "While Tamil Nadu and Karnataka continue their conversation on sharing of Cauvery water, it would be useful to take advantage of the important recommendation made by the Supreme Court for establishing a CMB speedily. In my view, such a Board can help to ensure greater economy and equity in sharing water by giving importance to 'demand management' and 'supply augmentation,'" he said.
As part of the demand management, all the Cauvery basin states should reduce the demand for water by introducing cropping patterns requiring less water and by adopting drip irrigation and other water saving techniques. "The less water requiring cropping system should pay attention to crops which are in demand in the market and which can enhance the income of farmers per unit of water," said Swaminathan. As the Supreme Court has said there is scope for Tamil Nadu benefitting from its underutilised aquifer, the only method of augmentation is mandatory rainwater harvesting. "Since Tamil Nadu is a rain shadow region there is scope for water harvesting and storage," he said.