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International Journal of Civil, Structural, Environmental and Infrastructure Engineering Research and Development (IJCSEIERD) ISSN(P): 2249-6866; ISSN(E): 2249-7978 Vol. 4, Issue 2, Apr 2014, 33-46 © TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.


M.E Student, Water Resources Engineering, YTCEM, Maharashtra, India 3

Visiting Professor, YTCEM, Maharashtra, India

ABSTRACT The interlinking of rivers is a major endeavor to create additional storage facilities and transfer water from water-surplus regions to more drought-prone areas through inter-basin transfers. Interlinking of major rivers in India, aims at modifying the acute spatial inequity in the availability of water resources in India. An integrated approach becomes necessary when dealing with resources such as water, which transcend state boundaries and form lifelines for entire communities. River deltas and drainage areas suffer from disequilibrium in water supplies that may necessitate the transfer of water from surplus to deficit areas. The concept of inter-basin transfer on a large scale has been under consideration for some time. The idea was mooted in as early as 1926 by Sir C.P. Ramaswamy Aiyarand then by K.L. Rao and Capt. Dastur in 1970 and 1980, respectively. Some of the benefits due to interlinking of rivers are in the area of irrigation, flood prevention, hydropower generation, navigation etc., whereas the area of concerns are ecological issues, deforestation, aqua life, submergence of habitable or reserved lands, displacement of people, etc. This paper highlights the concept of inter-basin transfer of water, related issues and concerns of interlinking of rivers, economic and ecological benefits leading to sustainable development of region as well as adverse impacts due to inter-basin water transfer.

KEYWORDS: Cloud Seeding, Cost Benefit Project, GIS (Geographical Information System), Tunnel, Zero Land Acquisition Cost

INTRODUCTION The availability of freshwater at various spots on the Earth's terrestrial surface will continue to be determined by the hydrological cycle, till such a time when technologies like desalination of seawater is practiced on a reasonably extended scale. The rapid growth in the demand of freshwater driven by growth in the global population and of the economies, has led to this natural resource becoming scarce in many parts of the world. As a result, the ratio between the number of people and the available water resource is worsening day by day. By 2020, the global population is projected to touch 7.9 billion, which is 50 percent larger than that in 1990 [1]. It is a boon that water constitutes more than three fourths of the area of the earth and hence, it is designated, appropriately, as ‘watery planet’ or ‘blue planet’. Of the total water resources of the earth, the un-utilizable component accounts for more than 99%, this includes 97.2% of oceanic waters, 2.15% of glaciers and icecaps comparatively; a trivial quantity of less than 0.4%, including 0.3% of usable groundwater and even less percentage surface water is available for direct consumption. Thus, the utilizable surface water constitutes a very meagre percentage in the total global water resources. Hence, proper planning is essential for judicious utilization of this precious commodity for striking an appropriate balance between demand and availability, and availability and utilization at the global, regional and local levels for the sustainability of their ecosystems. There the concept of basin


Mary C. George, Prakash D. Korgaonkar & K. Geetha

transfer or interlinking comes. In the global picture, India is identified as a country where water scarcity is expected to grow considerably in the coming decades. Further, drought conditions are resulting from climatic and geographic variability and cause considerable human suffering in many parts of the country, in the form of scarcity of water for both satisfaction of domestic needs and for crop protection. The spatial and temporal variations in the rainfall over India has led to denotation of water ‘surplus’ and water scarce river basins in the country. The project for interlinking of rivers of India is a desire of the political leadership of the country to bring a permanent solution to the negative impacts of drought and water shortages in these parts [2]. Such a desire is, without question, worthy of applause because satisfaction of domestic water needs should be considered as a human right and be given the top priority. The project for interlinking the rivers in India aims at transferring water from water ‘surpluses to the water scarce basins if any.

STATUS OF WATER RESOURCES OF INDIA The average annual rainfall in India is about 1170 mm [3]. This is considerable variation in rain both temporarily and spatially. Most rain falls in the monsoon season (June-September), necessitating the creation of large storages for maximum utilization of the surface run-off. Within any given year, it is possible to have both situations of drought and of floods in the same region. Regional varieties are also extreme, ranging from a low value of 100 mm in Western Rajasthan to over 11,000 mm in Meghalaya in North-Eastern India. Possible changes in rainfall patterns in the coming decade, global warming and climate change and other predicted or observed long-term trends on water availability could affect India’s water resources. Table 1: Land and Water Resources of India Particulars Quantity Geographical Area 329 million ha Flood Prone Area 40 million ha Total Cultivable Land Area 184 million ha. Net Irrigated Area 50 million ha Natural Runoff (Surface 1869 Cubic Water and Ground Water) km. Estimated Utilizable 690 Cubic km. Surface Water Potential Groundwater Resource 432 Cubic km Available Groundwater 361 Cubic km. resource for Irrigation Net utilizable Groundwater 325 Cubic km. resource for irrigation Water Resource India, National Institute of Hydrology. Website:; Source: National Institute of Hydrology

HISTORICAL ASPECTS Human beings started diversion of water from local resources ever since, they started agriculture, by construction of earthen “anicuts” across local streams. The “grand anicut” of the 2nd century over the river Cauvery, recorded to be functioning till mid -19th century providing irrigation to 25,000 hectares resisting the impact of floods for 1600 long years, was the earliest known major diversion undertaken in India. Since historical times irrigation canals were developed by Cholas, Pandyas rulers of Vizianagarm and Kakatiyas for diverting the waters from Cauvery, Tungbadhra and Vaigai. The western Yamuna Canal and Agra Canal were built during the Mughal reign. The British rulers in India proposed to

Impact Factor (JCC): 5.7179

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0


Interlinking of River Basins-A Review

link Calcutta, when it was the capital, with Karachi and Madras through a link canal combining all the rivers in the peninsula. Later they did not pursue the matter further, probably because the capital was shifted, the expenditure was huge, and their interests were probably more vested than rested on the welfare of India. Sir Arthur Cotton, the pioneer of modern irrigation, constructed anicuts over the rivers Krishna and Godavari for diversion of the waters [4]. In the recent past the proposal of interlinking rivers was put forth by Minister for Irrigation K. L. Rao in 1972.He proposed a 2640 kilometer long link between the Ganges and Kaveri rivers. A few years later, Captain Dastur, a pilot speculated aloud about a lateral Himalayan canal from the Ravi to the Brahmaputra along a constant 400-metre contour interconnected with a Garland Canal girdling peninsular India. But ideas like the Garland canal and the Ganga-Cauvery Link were routinely dismissed as too grandiose for a resource-strapped nation. Based on the various studies, National Water Development Authority (NWDA) has identified 30 Inter Basin Water Transfer Links under the National Perspective Plan for preparation of feasibility reports. A vivid understanding of the present proposal can be derived from Figure 1, ‘Proposed Inter Basin Water Transfer Links’. [5]

NECESSITY TO CONSERVE FRESH WATER The need to conserve water arises from its wide applications. Water is absolutely important to sustain flora, fauna and human life. This highlights its first importance. But other than this primary use of water there is a wide application of freshwater as enlisted below. Agriculture The most important use of water in agriculture is for irrigation, which is a key component to produce enough food. Irrigation takes up to 90% of water withdrawn in some developing countries. Drinking

Figure 1: Proposed Inter Basin Water Transfer Links


Mary C. George, Prakash D. Korgaonkar & K. Geetha

The human body contains from 55% to 78% water, depending on body size. To function properly, the body requires between one and seven liters of water per day to avoid dehydration; the precise amount depends on the level of activity, temperature, humidity, and other factors. Washing The propensity of water to form solutions and emulsions is useful in various washing processes. Many industrial processes rely on reactions using chemicals dissolved in water, suspension of solids in water slurries or using water to dissolve and extract substances. Washing is also an important component of several aspects of personal body hygiene. Transportation The use of water for transportation of materials through rivers and canals as well as the international shipping lanes is an important part of the world economy. Chemical Uses Water is widely used in chemical reactions as a solvent or reactant and less commonly as a solute or catalyst. Heat Exchange Water and steam are used as heat transfer fluids in diverse heat exchange systems, due to its availability and high heat capacity, both as a coolant and for heating. Cool water may even be naturally available from a lake or the sea. Condensing steam is a particularly efficient heating fluid because of the large heat of vaporization. In the nuclear power industry, water can also be used as a neutron moderator. Fire Extinction Water is used for fighting wildfires. Water has a high heat of vaporization and is relatively inert, which makes it a good fire extinguishing fluid. The evaporation of water carries heat away from the fire. Recreation Humans use water for many recreational purposes, as well as for exercising and for sports. Some of these include swimming, waterskiing, boating, surfing and diving. In addition, some sports, like ice hockey and ice skating, are played on ice. Lakesides, beaches and water parks are popular places for people to go to relax and enjoy recreation. Many find the sound and appearance of flowing water to be calming, and fountains and other water features are popular decorations. Some keep fish and other life in aquariums or ponds for show, fun, and companionship. Humans also use water for snow sports i.e. skiing, sledding, snowmobiling or snowboarding, which require the water to be frozen. Industrial Applications Water is used in power generation. Hydroelectricity is electricity obtained from hydropower. Hydroelectric power comes from water driving a water turbine connected to a generator. Hydroelectricity is a low-cost, non-polluting, renewable energy source. The energy is supplied by the motion of water. Typically a dam is constructed on a river, creating an artificial lake behind it. Water flowing out of the lake is forced through turbines that turn generators. Pressurized water is used in water blasting and water jet cutters. Also, very high pressure water guns are used for precise cutting. It works very well, is relatively safe, and is not harmful to the environment. It is also used in the cooling of Impact Factor (JCC): 5.7179

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Interlinking of River Basins-A Review


machinery to prevent overheating, or prevent saw blades from overheating. Water is also used in many industrial processes and machines, such as the steam turbine and heat exchanger, in addition to its use as a chemical solvent. Discharge of untreated water from industrial uses is pollution. Pollution includes discharged solutes (chemical pollution) and discharged coolant water (thermal pollution). Industry requires pure water for many applications and utilizes a variety of purification techniques both in water supply and discharge. Food Processing Water can be used to cook foods such as noodles. Boiling, steaming, and simmering are popular cooking methods that often require immersing food in water or its gaseous state, steam. Water is also used for dishwashing. Water also plays many critical roles within the field of food science. It is important for a food scientist to understand the roles that water plays within food processing to ensure the success of their products. This calls for a need to preserve as much freshwater as possible to meet our pressing needs. The prime advantage of interlinking rivers is that excess flood water from basins having surplus rain is redirected to basins having scarce rainfall. This puts forth a dual advantage that is it protects flood prone areas from flood and supplies drought prone areas with a source of water. An extensive plan has been chalked out by the NWDA (National Water Development Authority) under the motivation of our late Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi (1982). It is worth noting that this concept is not new and history has already witnessed the success of such interlinking in the past.

SUCCESS OF VARIOUS INTERLINKING RIVER (ILR) PROJECTS Some of the benefits by interlinking of rivers are like alleviating droughts and flood control, cheap water for irrigation, availability of drinking water, generation of hydroelectric power, allowing more inland navigation employment generation, fostering a spirit of national integration etc. A few case studies on successful projects of ILR are briefly explained in subsequent sections. 50 Year Old Colorado Big Thomson, USA [6] Illustrates the life-cycle of a water infrastructure project over a period of rapid socio-economic change occurring around it. Relative to the scale of water transfers India is contemplating, the Colorado-Big Thomson is a minor intervention, yet it diverts approximately 0.284 km3 /annum of water from the upper reaches of the western flowing Colorado River, one of the most “closed� basins in the World, and sends it eastward into the South Platte River Basin, which is part of the Mississippi-Missouri basin. This project, implemented by the United States Bureau for Reclamation (USBR), was constructed between 1938 and 1957. Its primary purpose was to provide water for irrigation, and municipal and industrial use along the front range of the Rocky Mountains in northern Colorado. Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) [6] The signing of LHWP treaty by Government of Lesotho and of Republic of South Africa (R.S.A.) on the 24th October 1986 established the Joint Permanent Technical Commission (JPTC) to represent the two nations in implementation and operation of the LHWP to divert water from the relatively economically poor yet water rich country of Lesotho, to the prosperous, water short South Africa,. The first Phase 1A of proposed four scheme comprising a giant dam, at Katse in the central Maluti, transfer and delivery tunnel system reaching to the Ash River across the border in R. S. A., Muela hydropower station and associated structures have been completed. This phase was commissioned in 1998 and an


Mary C. George, Prakash D. Korgaonkar & K. Geetha

average 17m3/sec is now being delivered to R.S.A. Phase 1B, comprising; Mohale dam, a 145 metres high concrete faced rockfill dam on the Senqunyane river some 40km south-west of Katse; a 32 km long transfer tunnel between Mohale and Katse reservoirs, a 19m high concrete diversion weir on the Matsoku river and a 5.6km long tunnel, are under construction. The Mohale reservoir and matsoku diversion will add 9.5 and 2.2m3/sec to the yield of Katse. Dolerites from dykes and dense doleritic basalt bored from the tunnels was crushed to produce coarse and fine aggregates for concreting of Katse and Mohale dam. The Telugu Ganga Project [7] This is a water supply scheme implemented in Andhra Pradesh, India to provide drinking water to Chennai city in Tamil Nadu . It is also known as the Krishna Water Supply Project, since the source of the water is the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh. Water is drawn from the Srisailam reservoir and diverted towards Chennai through a series of inter-linked canals, over a distance of about 406 km, before it reaches the destination at the Poondi reservoir near Chennai. The main checkpoints en route include the Somasila reservoir in Pennar valley, the Kandaleru reservoir, the 'Zero Point' near Uthukkottai where the water enters Tamil Nadu territory and finally, the Poondi reservoir, also known as Satyamurthy Sagar. From Poondi, water is distributed through a system of link-canals to other storage reservoirs located at Red Hills, Sholavaram and Chembarambakkam. The Buckingham Canal [8] This is a 421.55 kilometre long fresh water navigation canal, running parallel to the Coromandel Coast of South India from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh to Villupuram District in Tamil Nadu. The canal connects most of the natural backwaters along the coast to the port of Chennai (Madras). It was constructed during the British Rule, (1806) and was an important waterway during the late nineteenth and the twentieth century. The canal was named the Buckingham Canal in 1878 because the link, was built on the orders of the then Governor, the Duke of Buckingham. The Jalgaon Interlinking Project [9] Jalgaon District receives an average rainfall of about 690 mm. Jalgaon District is located in the north-west region of the state of Maharashtra. It is bounded by Satpuda mountain ranges in the north, Ajanta mountain ranges in the south. Jalgaon is rich in volcanic soil. Jalgaon located in the north of Maharashtra, falls in a rain shadow area with a higher probability of drought compared to its neighboring districts. Local topography also adds to the problem through unequal distribution of rainfall in the natural drainage area. Tapti’s tributaries - Girna, Bori, Anjani, Titur and Waghur - are the important rivers, with Girna Dam (earthfill dam) being a major source of water supply at the south west corner of district. The height of the dam above lowest foundation is 54.56 m while the length is 963.17 m. The volume content is 2,042 km3and gross storage capacity is 608,980.00 km3. Even though there are man-made canals to network the water for local irrigation and storage purposes, the reservoir storage capacity never reaches its minimum level. As such, the recurring problem of water scarcity is usually addressed by supplying water tankers to provide temporary relief. In 2005, when Jalgaon was experiencing drought-like conditions, the then district collector conceptualized the river linking project to resolve perennial water crises by diverting excess water from Girna dam to water-deficit regions. This idea of connecting rivers, although not new, was executed in an innovative way which helped to overcome the challenge of balancing ecological concerns, human displacement and high costs. In this case, the local administration followed a methodical approach to sustainably implement the project in a timely Impact Factor (JCC): 5.7179

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Interlinking of River Basins-A Review


manner with minimal costs. The involvement of local public by parting with their land and providing labour allowed the benefits of zero land acquisition cost. The Indira Gandhi Nahar or Rajasthan Canal [10] is one of the most gigantic projects in the world aiming to dedesertify and transform desert waste land into agriculturally productive area. The project objectives include drought proofing, providing drinking water, improvement of environment, afforestation, employment, rehabilitation, development and projection of animal wealth and increasing agricultural produce. The project construction commenced in the year 1958. Though the project is only partially complete it has shown remarkable success. Indira Gandhi Nahar Project was designed to utilise 9,367 Mm3/yr of the total 10,608 Mm3/yr allocated to Rajasthan from the surplus waters of the Ravi and Beas rivers. The construction of the project has been divided into two stages. Stage I consists of a 204 km long feeder canal, having a headworks discharge capacity of 460 m3/sec, which starts from Harike Barrage. 170 km of the feeder canal lie in Punjab and Haryana and 34 km in Rajasthan. The entire system of stage-I consists of the 204 km long feeder canal, 189km long main canal and 3454 km long distribution system, is concrete lined, and serves 553 kha of culturable command area, out of which 46 kha are served by pumping to a 60 m lift, through four pumping stations. In addition to irrigation and domestic water supply through this project, it has been proposed by the Rajasthan State Electricity Board (RSEB) to install a total of 12.76 MW of mini hydroelectric power stations, to utilise the available water fall in the canal. One such power station, with an installed capacity of 2´2 MW has already started functioning at the Suratgarh branch of IGNP stage I. IGNP Stage II comprises construction of a 256 km long main canal and 5,606 km of a lined distribution system, and will serve 1,410 kha of CCA (873577 ha area in flow and 537018 ha under lift), utilising 4,930 Mm3/yr of water. The main canal in the entire length was completed in the year 1986. The Narmada Link Canal [11] To fulfill the water requirement of 71% of water scarce area needs to divert excess water from surplus basins of South and Central Gujarat. The Sardar Sarovar Project carries Narmada waters across these surplus basins to the arid areas of North Gujarat, Saurashtra and Kutch. The Inter Basin Transfer of water from Narmada main canal to eleven rivers of Gujarat viz. Heran, Orsang, Karad, Mahi, Saidak, Mohar, Watrak, Sabarmati, Khari, Rupen and Banas is planned to fill about 700 village tanks and ponds by water of Narmada. The Sabarmati-Saraswati link off takes from Branch Canal No.1 of Right Bank Main Canal of Dharoi Project to Saraswati River. The works of 332 km long Sujalam Suphalam spreading canal, traversing through seven districts from Mahi to Banas river includes diversion of surplus flood water of Kadana reservoir and Narmada to water deficit areas. The Harnav – Guhai link connects Harnav river with Guhai river having length of 1680 meter and canal capacity is 5.66 cumecs. The NWDA has proposed the planning of nearly 1835 km. long Sarda– Yamuna – Rajasthan – Sabarmati Link canal to provide surplus water of Himalayan rivers to Gujarat. The preparation of feasibility reports of these links are under progress. This link will provide irrigation to 2 lac Ha. Area of Gujarat with the 1.32 Million Acre Feet of water. The Par – Tapi – Narmada Link, beneficial to Gujarat and the Damanganga – Pinjal Link, beneficial to Maharashtra are considered in the planning of Peninsular Link canals. 402 km. long Par – Tapi – Narmada Link will divert annual 1350 Million cubic metres of surplus water in the command area of Narmada Project. Damanganga – Pinjal Link will divert annual 577 Million cubic metres of surplus water to Mumbai City of Maharashtra for drinking purpose.


Mary C. George, Prakash D. Korgaonkar & K. Geetha

JUSTIFICATION FOR ILR The interlinking of rivers programme (ILR) programme is aimed at linking different surplus rivers of country with the deficient rivers so that the excess water from surplus region could be diverted to deficient region. This would help in increasing irrigation intensity in the country, increasing water availability for drinking and industrial purposes, mitigating effect of drought and floods to a certain extent. Once the dams and reservoirs are constructed and water is stored, hydroelectricity could be generated at these sites. Availability of water is one of the constraints for hydro electricity generation during summers; ample storage at dams/reservoirs could increase efficiency of hydroelectric power plants. Rainfall Even though India is the second wettest county in the world with an average rain fall of 1170 mm and a total rainfall of 4000 BCM per annum, [4] huge regional differences cause high imbalance in the availability of water; 80% of the rainfall is seasonal occurring during a period of 15-60 days any time from June to September. This rainfall is the source of water for the rivers other than Himalayan Rivers and for irrigation in the plains. Delayed or absent monsoon showers can spell disaster in the region to the crops. In many places, the rainfall is erratic. More than half of the rainfall occurs not uncommonly over a short duration of few days/hours, causing heavy damage to the life and property. Storage Capacity India is blamed for having neglected storage creation, resulting in economic water scarcity which may impede its economic growth. Other arid and semi-arid regions of the World have invested heavily in storage. The U.S.A has per capita storage capacity at 5,961 m3; Australia has 4,717 m3, and Brazil has 3388 m3. [4] Even China has increased its storage capacity to 2486 m3/person, while India’s storage capacity is a puny 200 m3/person and declining. It is imperative, it is suggested, and that India increases its storage for regulating the vast amount of runoff that otherwise cannot be beneficially utilized. The NRLP water transfers, of 178 km3, will increase utilizable surface water resources by 25 percent. [4]. And most of the transfers are expected to increase access in water scarce region. Food Production The NCIWRD report [4] which is widely viewed in lay circles as the first-cut justification of the NRLP idea-- emphasizes self-sufficiency in food production and improved rural livelihoods as two key justifications for the ILR project. Assuming the criticality of maintaining national food self-sufficiency and agricultural exports, the Commission projected grain demand for India by 2050 in the range of 425 to 494 million tons, and argued for increasing the country’s irrigation potential to 160 million ha, 20 million more than what can be achieved without basin transfer. Thus, it is stated “….one of the most effective ways to increase the irrigation potential for increasing the food grain production, mitigate floods & droughts and reduce regional imbalances in the availability of water is the interlinking of rivers to transfer water from the surplus rivers to deficit areas...” The surface irrigation of the river linking project alone expects to add 25 million ha irrigated land. However, the NCIWRD commission was not unanimous in its support for river linking; some of the members issued a dissenting view included in the report itself. Improving Rural Life Most of India’s population is situated in the villages. In India most of the people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood even today. The ever increasing need for food production highlights the need to develop the living

Impact Factor (JCC): 5.7179

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Interlinking of River Basins-A Review


conditions of people in the rural regions. Providing living conditions to the back bone of India is a sure way of seeing a steady and constant growth in our country. Interlinking of rivers will definitely reach out to the unreached tribes of remote India and improve their living conditions. Benefits and Costs The ILR project envisages many benefits. It expects to: add 34,000 MW of hydro-power to the national grid of which 3500 MW would be used in various lifts; supply much needed drinking water to several million people and industrial water supplies to drought prone, water scarce cities in the west and south; mitigate floods in the east and droughts in the large canals linking the rivers are also expected to facilitate inland navigation too. Increased irrigation—25 m ha through surface irrigation and 10 m ha through groundwater-- in water scarce western and peninsular regions is the top benefit envisaged from the ILR project. This is expected to create employment and boost crop output and farm incomes. A good example of benefit cost project is the Canal Solar Power Project launched in Gujarat, to use 19,000 Kilometre long network of Narmada canals across the state for setting up solar panels to generate electricity. [12] It was the first ever such project in India. Solar panels are being installed along a 1 km pilot project section of the Sanand Branch Canal near Chandrasan village to generate 1 MW of electricity. Not only does it generate 1.6 GW·h of electricity, but it reduces the evaporation by 90 lakh litres of water each year. The project virtually eliminates the requirement to acquire vast tracts of land for power generation.

ADVERSE IMPACTS OF ILR PROJECTS Some points worth reconsidering are discussed below. Environmental Concerns Environmentalists are worried about the ecological impacts of the project of such massive scale. In May 2003, the Government of India’s own Ministry of Environment and Forests raised 23 environmental concerns about ILR. Independent researchers worry on many counts. Some have pointed to the dangers of the seismic hazard, especially in the Himalayan components [13]. Many worry about the transfer of river pollution that accompanies inter-basin water transfers. Loss of forests and biodiversity are of course recurring themes. Climate Change Due to climate change global temperature is increasing thus causing floods in river basin due to melting of Himalayan glaciers [14] and also drought due to decreased precipitation. The climate change assessment is important for sustainable development in of the ILR which would cause benefit cost project. Social Costs ILR is likely to cause displacement of tribal and poor people on a massive scale; and India’s past record in fair and just rehabilitation of Project Affected People does not inspire confidence among ILR critics that the Project will not ride roughshod over millions of displaced people. The construction of reservoirs and river linking canals in the peninsular component alone expect to displace more than 583,000 people and submerge large areas of forest, agriculture and non-agriculture land. Two of the proposed reservoirs, Inchampalli at Inchampalli-NagarjunSagar and the Polavaram at


Mary C. George, Prakash D. Korgaonkar & K. Geetha

Godavri Polvaram –Krishna (Vijayawada) links are estimated to displace more than 100 thousand people each. Domestic Politics Domestic and regional geo-politics plays a key role on the discussions on ILR. For one, for the Indian political class, ILR has provided a vehicle for grandstanding. As Iyer (2003) suggests, “Gigantism always casts an irresistible spell on our bureaucracy and technocracy as well as on our politicians [15]. ALTERNATIVES Rainwater harvesting and conservation of water resources, recharging ground water reservoir, large scale utilization of ground water in deltas, community participation etc. are some of the alternatives and are briefly discussed here. Rainwater Harvesting There seems to be little hydrological wisdom in letting rainwater flow down into the river, which is then dammed and much energy is wasted to pump this water back to those very fields where this water originally fell as rain. It makes much greater sense to trap the water in small structure in the villages itself. We have rich traditions of community-based water harvesting and management in India, each of them well suited to the needs of a specific environment. The potential of rainwater harvesting in meeting household needs is enormous. It is a fact that there is no village in India that cannot meet its drinking water needs from rainwater harvesting. Apart from household water needs rainwater harvesting has the potential to meet agricultural requirements as well. Rainwater harvesting has the capacity to contribute towards eradication of poverty amongst a substantial section of rural India. In addition, it can increase groundwater availability through recharge mechanisms and prevent floods by reducing storm water runoff. A shining example in this regard is the community effort to harvest rainwater and recharge the aquifers in Alwar district of Rajasthan [16] its success has revived the Arvari, which had not flown in the last 40 years. Similar district-and watershed-level experiences from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh provide continuing proof that community-based and participatory water management is a realistic and replicable strategy for the nation. It would have the benefit of making each village responsible for its own water storage and use. The cost of such initiatives would be a fraction of the proposed river- interlinking plan and it would be easy to maintain and repair. The social cost of displacement would also not exist or be minimal. Most importantly, by making each village responsible for its own water security, this would encourage more responsible farming practices and would thus serve as a tool for social change, supporting poverty alleviation and providing communities’ rights over resources. Groundwater and Surface Waters It is often used in discussing water supplies and water conservation. This phrase usually is used to describe the practice of storing surface water in a groundwater basin in wet years and withdrawing it from the basin in dry years. By using GIS technology with hydrological study quantification of the abandoned quarries can also be looked as storage reservoirs considering the water quality analysis and benefit cost analysis. Conjunctive use consists of harmoniously combining the use of both surface water and groundwater in order to minimize the undesirable physical, environmental and economic effects of each solution and to optimize the water demand / supply balance. Effective Techniques of Irrigation

Impact Factor (JCC): 5.7179

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0

Interlinking of River Basins-A Review


Comparatively effective techniques of irrigation like drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation, contour bunding /trenching, etc. and cropping techniques involving crop rotation, inter-cropping, mulching, adoption of dry crops depending upon the season etc. are to be followed depending upon the location-specific demand. Cloud Seeding It is a form of intentional weather modification, is the attempt to change the amount or type of precipitation that falls from clouds, by dispersing substances into the air that serve as cloud condensation or ice nuclei, which alter the microphysical processes within the cloud. The usual intent is to increase precipitation (rain or snow). Desalination Removal of salt from brackish water is another solution to the problem. Salty water is available in plenty, but such water cannot be used for domestic use and irrigation. However separation of salt from salty water makes it usable for irrigation and domestic use. This is a good and feasible alternative to meet the needs of large cities located near seashores.

CRITERIA FOR RIVERS FOR INTERLINKING The concept of linking of rivers or inter-basin transfer of water is essentially based on the availability of surplus of water in the donor river especially at the point of diversion to the deficit river basin. The surplus or deficit in a basin is determined on the basis of availability at 75% dependability, import, export, and existing and future needs. A river basin is said to be reasonably in surplus of water, if the surplus water is available after meeting the irrigation needs of at least 60% of the cultivable area in the basin. Only this water from such a basin can be diverted to deficit basins. In the recipient/deficit river basin, it is proposed that, at least, 30% of the cultivable area is covered under irrigation. This is one of the most effective managements of surface water resources, as according to protagonists, it is an economically viable, technically feasible and environmentally sound and viewed as the future main stay for the sustainable development of any region confronting water deficit. On this basis, The NWDA after a thorough study indicated that Himalayan Rivers, especially, Brahmaputra and Ganga have exceedingly surplus quantum of water and hence, proposed transfer of water from these surplus basins to deficit basins in peninsular region [17]. After assessing the technical and environmental aspects of the project, the people’s perceptions and politician’s willingness have to be assessed, more so the later, if the surplus river basin and deficit river basin are under opposition [3].

CONCLUSIONS The solution for implementing the ILR project is centralization of all the rivers and to form a National authority consisting of expertise from various fields like policy makers, scientists, hydrologists, engineers, economists, NGOs, environmentalists, GIS experts, farmers from various regions of country. The canals can be substituted with lined tunnels which may reduce water losses due to infiltration. Also the covering top of canals with solar panels will reduce evaporation losses and can generate electricity which will have benefit-cost ILR projects. Also the zero land acquisition cost by interlinking of river basins by tunnels can be envisaged. The use of different land use patterns for setting up of solar power projects can be curtailed by Solar panels covering canals. Thus the two crucial components of infrastructure i.e. water and power can be conserved and generated respectively. Also the crushing of basalt or dolerite rocks bored from tunneling can be used as construction material in form of coarse and fine aggregates which is becoming scare a scarce commodity in India. The study by use of GIS with hydrological tools and geological study for availability of construction material, proper


Mary C. George, Prakash D. Korgaonkar & K. Geetha

planning of conservation of environment, study of climate change, contribution of NGOs, justified decisions of policy makers, proper understanding among intrastate river controversies, strategic cost management by analyzing the financial model by analysts, can help to prepare reliable detailed project reports and execution of the ILR projects.


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IWRS (1996) Theme paper on Inter-basin transfers of Water for National Development: Problems and Perspectives Indian Water Resources Society.

3.; National Institute of Hydrology


B. S. Prakasa Rao, P. H. V. Vasudeva Rao, G.Jaisankar, E. Amminedu, M. Satyakumar and P. Koteswara Rao, ‘Interlinking of River Basins: A Mega Harvesting Plan-A Review’, J. Ind. Geophys. Union (January 2010) Vol.14, No.1, pp.31-46


National Water Development Agency, ‘Annual Report’ 2011-12.


Tushaar Shah, Upali Amrasinghe, Peter Mc Cornick ,India’s River Linking Project: The State of the Debate1


Bala Raju Nikku, Water Rights, Conflicts and Collective Action, Case of Telugu Ganga Project, India Poster Presentation.



Jalgaon River Linking Project Demand-based Project through Citizen’s Participation.

10. 11. Interlinking of Rivers - A vital need: 12. Canal Solar Power. The Hindu Business Line, 23rd April, 2012. 13. Bandyopadhyaya J. and Perveen, S. (2003). The Interlinking of Indian Rivers: Paper presented at Seminar on Interlinking Indian Rivers: Bane or Boon? at IISWBM, Kolkata 17 June 2003, SOAS Water Issues Study Group, Occasional, Paper No 60. 14. Tangri, A. K., 2003. Impact of Climate Change on Himalayan Glaciers. Published in the proceedings of the NATCOM - V&A 15. Iyer, R.(2003) Water: Perspectives, Issues Concerns, at New Delhi, Sage Publications 16. S. Badiger, R. Sakthivadivel, N. Alosiyus & H. Sally, Preliminary assessment of a traditional approach to rainwater harvesting and artificial recharging of groundwater in Alwar district, Rajasthan, by 17. Vidyasagar Rao, R., 2003. Inter- basin water transfer-A vital necessity but a distinct reality. Journal of applied hydrology, 16 (4A), 1-13.

Impact Factor (JCC): 5.7179

Index Copernicus Value (ICV): 3.0


Interlinking of River Basins-A Review


Miss Mary C. George, is a student of M.E.-Water Resource Engineering from Yadavrao Tasgaonkar College of Engineering & Management, University of Mumbai. She completed her B.E. (Civil) from Tatyasaheb Kore Institute of Engineering and Technology, Shivaji University. She is also a lecturer in Abdul Razzak Kalsekar Polytechnic, Panvel, Mumbai.

Mr. Prakash D. Korgaonkar, is a student of M.E.-Water Resource Engineering from Yadavrao Tasgaonkar College of Engineering & Management, University of Mumbai. He has completed his B.E. (Civil) from Sardar Patel College of Engg., University of Mumbai. He has worked with engineering consultancies like Rolta India Ltd., Becrel Engg. Services Pvt. Ltd., Tata Consulting Engineers Ltd. for various projects in field of GIS mapping, design and detailing, PMC services, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, preparation of detailed project reports, preparation of schedule of rates for SEZ, townships, refinery, hospitals, academic institutes, airport, public health engg. and infrastructure projects.

Dr K. Geetha, secured her B. Tech (Civil) from Calicut University, Kerala, M. Tech and Ph. D in Water Resources Engineering (Civil) from IIT, Bombay. She has got 28 years of experience including Teaching, Administration, Research and Industrial. She worked as Professor, Dean (Academics) and Principal in various Engineering Colleges under Mumbai University. She also worked as a Research Fellow in CWRDM, Calicut, Kerala. She has published few research papers in reputed International Journals and International Conferences. Dr. K. Geetha has got life membership of ISH, IWWA, ICJ, ISTE etc. Currently, Dr. K. Geetha is a visiting Professor, at YTCEM, Bhivpuri, Karjat. She has guided more than 25 B. Tech projects. Her research interest is in SCS-CN methodology, Rainfall-Runoff modelling, Watershed Management, Flood forecasting, Hydrology, Open channel flow, etc.

5 civil interlinking mary c george