Application of Geospatial Techniques and the MCDM Method to Optimize Interlinking of Rivers in India

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Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing


Access to freshwater is one of the most critical challenges in drought-prone regions of India due to climate change and population growth. However, societal costs due to people displacement are often ignored while evaluating interlinking of rivers (ILR) projects though people displacement is one of the most significant impacts of ILR projects in densely populated countries. Therefore, the authors expand the scope of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) by incorporating land use and land cover as key criteria in the Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) method. The project alternatives for the proposed Almatti-Pennar (A-P) ILR project developed in this study were evaluated by applying geospatial techniques and the MCDM method before consulting expert stakeholders to finalize the optimal configuration of this project. The optimal A-P ILR configuration will utilize the existing reservoirs and canal systems and reduce the length of the proposed 587 km long link canal by 200 km. This will expedite the ILR project by reducing project-related deforestation, people displacement, and cost. This integrated approach using geospatial techniques and the MCDM method can be applied to ILR projects to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (zero hunger) and SDG target 6.1 (safe and affordable drinking water) by reducing water stress.

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