Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Sukapaika River

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mahanadi river system

Mains level : Threats to natural water bodies


Embankments have killed Odisha’s Sukapaika river that was the lifeline of over 0.5 million people.

Sukapaika

  • Sukapaika is one of the several distributaries of the mighty Mahanadi river in Odisha.
  • It branches away from the Mahanadi at Ayatpur village in Cuttack district and flows for about 40 kilometres (km) before rejoining its parent river at Tarapur in the same district.
  • In the process, it drains a large landmass comprising over 425 villages.
  • However, the river is undergoing sudden barrenness.

Why is the river diminishing?

  • The problem has its roots in 1952, when the state government blocked the starting point of the Sukapaika with an embankment to save the villages around it from floods.
  • Subsequently, in 1957, two major projects — Hirakud Dam in Sambalpur district and Naraj barrage at Cuttack — were built upstream on the Mahanadi, ostensibly to control floods in it.
  • However, the embankment on the Sukapiaka was not removed.
  • This left the distributary totally dependent on rainwater. The neglect has hit the 0.5 million people residing in the villages over the next half a century.
  • The riverbed has suffered erosion and it is full of hyacinth.
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