For Further information Contact
  Prof. A.C.Kamaraj,
B.E (Hons)., F.I.E,

409, K.K. Nagar, Madurai-625020, Tamilnadu, India.

Ph: 0452-2587351,2589215.
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Expert Team
653, K.K. NAGAR,
MADURAI  –  625 020
Phone: (0452) 2589215, 2587351


Inter-linking of Rivers

Encountered problems and the Solution.

Inter-linking of Rivers (ILR) in the Country is absolutely essential not only to tackle flood and drought but also to provide drinking water to our millions.  The ILR is not that all simple and many problems stare on us.


No. 1:  Acceptance of States:

The acceptance of the States in implementing ILR is very important.  But we are not getting the acceptance of the concerned States.  The State who has surplus water do not accept that they have surplus and even if they accept they are not willing to spare fearing that they may need it in future. 

No.2:  Sharing of Water:

Assuming that the States accept for ILR , the links between States will create more problems between States in sharing of water than solving it .

We already have enough such problems between States in sharing water.
Between Punjab and Haryana
Between Karnataka and Andhra
Between Kerala and Tamilnadu etc. 
We do not want this list to go endless. 

No.3:  Finance:

States are not coming forward to bear the huge expenditure on ILR.  The Central Government has to mobilize this large fund through taxes and other means. 

No.4:  Pumping :

The ILR involves heavy pumping and the recurring expenditure is going to be a few thousand crores year after year.  A rough estimate shows that these expenditure will be in the order of nearly Rs.7,000 / year.  Who will bear the cost?  The center or the concerned State? Besides, will the State giving water to the neighbor come forward to spare the huge power required for pumping? 

No.5:   Water is a State subject:

If we want to take up ILR, then all States must not only give concurrence for this proposal but also accept the quantity of water that the State can spare as surplus since water is a State subject.  The acceptance of the States and to specify the quantum of water to be spared is remote.  This is the reason for the abnormal delay in going to the next step of Detailed Project Report (DPR) for many of the links for which the feasibility report is already completed.

No.6:  Water Requirement :

The total requirement of water for 2050 in the Country will be 430 Bcm.  But the NWP proposal for ILR plans to utilize water out of the utilizable flow of       300 Bcm available.  In all, they may be using, say 200 Bcm or more depending on the State’s acceptance.  This is far insufficient to meet our demand far 2050 when our population is expected to stabilize. 

No.7: Flood Control :

The Flood control is not effective in ILR proposals since they can draw a maximum of 40,000 cusecs of flood water flowing in a river which can be in the order of 10 lakh cusecs.  Hence the flood control, we can say is just about 4%. 

These problems are not there in Ganga – Kumari National Waterways Project (NWP) for Networking of Rivers in the Country.

It may be Interesting to know here that the Independent Group of Expert (IGE) constituted by the Task Force on Inter-linking of Rivers (TF-ILR), after reviewing 21 proposals from all over the Country for Inter-linking of Rivers, selected NWP as the best alternativeand advised the expert team of NWP to go in for computer simulation.  The computer simulation was done at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and submitted to the Ministry of Water Resources. The Secretary, MOWR asked for a presentation and technical discussion recently. The Secretary, MOWR advised the NWDA to make a model of NWP proposal and also study one segment between Godavari and Krishna for feasibility Report.  The NWP is under consideration in the Ministry Of Water Resources

Solution to Problem No.1.

Acceptance of States:

The Ganga – Kumari National Waterways Project (NWP) does not touch the utilizable flow in any State and allows the States to use the water even in the distance future. 

The utilizable water available in each basin has been worked out taking 75% dependability.  This is to say that we must get water atleast for 3 years out of 4 years.  Any flow below this dependability is not considered as utilizable water.  But the irony is that the water that we consider as not utilizable is far more than the utilizable water in the Country as a whole. Suppose we attempt any plan to utilize this water, it becomes uneconomical and hence we do not venture to plan to retrieve this water.

While the utilizable water is just 300 Bcm (Billion Cubic Metre), the water that cannot be utilized and that goes to sea as flood water is nearly 1500 Bcm every year, a five fold increase.

Suppose we are not taking the utilizable water of 300 Bcm from any State and we leave it for their use, then they will be very happy.  Going a step further, if we can say that we will harness the flood water also which is 1500 Bcm and will give back the water to the same State for use then the State will be doubly happy.  This is what is done in NWP for Networking of Rivers.

How is this possible?  Well this becomes possible and attainable by the single water grid with two - way transfer just like in a power grid.  In NWP, we are not touching the utilizable flow of 300 Bcm which the States are free to use.  Further they get additional water also from the water harnessed from the flood water.  Hence the States will to come forward to accept this proposal for Networking of Rivers.

Even the NWP which is a mega project needs only 430 Bcm of the flood water which is just 30%.  Still 70% of the flood water will go to sea as waste.


Solution to problem No.2

Sharing of Water.

In NWP, the entire system acts like a water grid similar to power grid.  In a power grid, power can be transferred from any one point to any another point across the States.  Similarly in NWP, water can be transferred from any one point to any other point across the States and reverse flow is also possible just as in the case of power grid.

Further the lengthy waterways act as a water bank.  It is capable of impounding and transmitting water to the other basins along the waterways. 

In a power grid, allotted power is drawn by each State without any major hitch or problem.  Similarly allotted water can be drawn by each State independently without being at the mercy of other States.  Since water flows in the water grid just as power in a power grid, water can be drawn from any point and water can be let into water grid at any point.  This is one of the major advantages of NWP and eliminates many problems in sharing of water.


Solution to Problem No. 3


Finance is no problem in NWP.  The NWP is the most cost effective and the least time consuming proposal.  The cost of the proposal per acre is far less compared to all other proposals.  The NWP in view of enormous power generation and 15,000 KM. of waterways, navigable around the year, assures an attractive return for private investment.  Hence Government either Centre or State need not strain to find fund for this mega project.  This is a self-financing project.


Solution to Problem No. 4


The NWP does not involve pumping in the whole system.  Hence the huge recurring expenditure of nearly Rs.7,000 Cr. every year  will be a saving .


Solution to Problem No. 5

Water is a State Subject:  But National Waterways is a Union subject 

Though water is a State subject, there is no legal problem in taking up the NWP by the Centre.  (As stated by a Hon’ble retired Justice of the Supreme Court).  Land is a State subject and there is no problem in taking up the National Highways by the Central Government.  Similarly, though water is a State subject (and that too only for a specific purpose) there is no problem in taking up the National waterways similar to National Highways by the Central Government.  Besides any utilizable water entering the National Waterways is credited to the concerned State and the water drawn from the National waterways will be debited to their account.  Hence the consent of the States will also be forth coming.


Solution to Problem No.6

Water requirement :

This  problem is not that the NWP.  Since NWP proposes to utilize 430 Bcm of flood water available out of the total available 1500 Bcm flood water in the Country. This is possible since NWP acts like a Water grid similar to power grid. Still 70% of the flood water will go to sea as waste which we do not require.


Solution to Problem No.7

Flood control:

In NWP, the maximum drawal of water in the Balancing waterways from any particular river carrying 10,00,000 cusecs will be in the order of 4,00,000 cusecs.  Hence the flood control will be nearly 40% effective and we will be able to control the peak flood far more effectively.

Expert Team




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