Interlinking of Rivers in india & NRLP – UPSC

In this article, You will read Interlinking of Rivers, National River Linking Project (NRLP), Benefits and Challenges of River Interlinking – for UPSC.

Interlinking of Rivers

The Indian Rivers Inter-link is a proposed large-scale civil engineering project that aims to effectively manage water resources in India by linking Indian rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals to enhance irrigation and groundwater recharge, reduce persistent floods in some parts, and water shortages in other parts of India.

India accounts for 18% of the world’s population and about 4% of the world’s water resources. One of the solutions to solve the country’s water woes is to link rivers and lakes.

The average rainfall in India is about 4,000 billion cubic meters, but most of India’s rainfall comes over a 4-month period – June through September. Also, the rain across the nation is not uniform. India also sees years of excess monsoons and floods, followed by below average or late monsoons with droughts. This geographical and time variance in availability of natural water versus the year round demand for irrigation, drinking, and industrial water creates a demand-supply gap.

The idea behind the interlinking of rivers is that many parts of the country face problems of drought while many others face the problem of flooding every year. 

  • The Indo-Gangetic rivers are perennial since they are fed by rains as well as the glaciers from the Himalayas.
  • The peninsular rivers in India are, however, not seasonal because they are rain-fed mainly from the south-west Monsoons.
  • Due to this, the Indo-Gangetic plains suffer from floods and the peninsular states suffer from droughts.
  • If this excess water can be diverted from the Plains to the Peninsula, the problem of floods and droughts can be solved to a large extent.

Hence, the National River Linking Project (NRLP) is claimed to be the answer to India’s water problem through conservation of the abundant monsoon water, store it in reservoirs, and deliver this water using rivers inter-linking project to areas and over times when water becomes scarce. Beyond water security, the project is also seen to offer potential benefits to transport infrastructure through navigation, as well as to broadening income sources in rural areas through fish farming.

Brief History
  • The idea of interlinking rivers was first mooted by the Chief Engineer of the Madras Presidency in 1919, Sir Arthur Cotton.
  • This idea was revisited in 1960 by the then Minister of State for Energy and Irrigation, KL Rao, who proposed to link rivers Ganga and Cauvery.
  • The National Water Development Agency was established by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982. It got a push in 1982 when NWDA was established. However, not much progress was made later.
  • In 2002, the Supreme Court asked the government to finalize a plan for interlinking rivers by 2003 and execute it by 2016. In 2002, it got huge fillip when government decided to study the feasibility and devised concrete layout to implement it. However, with the change in government the project was put on hold owing to inter-state disputes and opposition from farmers, tribal groups, civil society and environmentalists.
  • A task force was formed by the government for the same in 2003.
  • In 2012, the SC again asked the government to start the project. Supreme Court directed the Ministry of Water Resources to constitute an experts committee to pursue the matter with the state governments. However, it left the implementation of project on centre’s discretion citing it to be the executive’s purview.
  • In 2014, the Ken-Betwa River Linking Project got Cabinet approval.
  • The new government is keen to carry forward the project. The linking of Godavari and Krishna was completed in 2015.
  • In March 2021, the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh signed an agreement that nudges forward the long-stalled multi-crore, controversial project to link the Ken and the Betwa rivers.
  • The government aims to complete the pan India river interlinking projects in less than a decade.

National River Linking Project (NRLP)

The Inter-link project has been split into three parts: a northern Himalayan rivers inter-link component, a southern Peninsular component, and starting 2005, an intrastate rivers linking component.

The project is being managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA), under its Ministry of Jal Shakti. NWDA has studied and prepared reports on 14 inter-link projects for Himalayan component, 16 inter-link projects for Peninsular component, and 37 intrastate river linking projects.

Himalayan Rivers Development Component
  • The Himalayan component envisages construction of storage reservoirs on the main Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers and their principal tributaries in India and Nepal so as to conserve monsoon flows for irrigation and hydro-power generation, besides flood control.  Links will transfer surplus flows of the Kosi, Gandak and Ghagra to the west.  In addition, the Brahmaputra-Ganga Link will augment dry-weather flow of the Ganga. Surplus flows that will become available on account of inter-linking of the Ganga and the Yamuna are proposed to be transferred to the drought prone areas of Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • With this proposal about 14 Mha-m of additional water would be available from these river systems for irrigating an estimated 22 M-ha in the Ganga-Brahmaputra basin apart from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • It would also provide 1120 cumec to Calcutta Port and would provide navigation facility across the country. It will also provide flood moderation in the Ganga-Brahmaputra system.
  • The Himalayan component will benefit not only India but also Nepal and Bangladesh.
  • By 2015, fourteen inter-links under consideration for Himalayan component are as follows
    1. Ghaghara–Yamuna link (Feasibility study complete)
    2. Sarda–Yamuna link (Feasibility study complete)
    3. Yamuna–Rajasthan link
    4. Rajasthan–Sabarmati link
    5. Kosi–Ghaghara link
    6. Kosi–Mechi link
    7. Manas–Sankosh–Tista–Ganga link
    8. Jogighopa–Tista–Farakka link
    9. Ganga–Damodar–Subernarekha link
    10. Subernarekha–Mahanadi link
    11. Farakka–Sunderbans link
    12. Gandak–Ganga link
    13. Chunar–Sone Barrage link
    14. Sone dam–Southern tributaries of Ganga link
  • In view of the ongoing dispute on the sharing of the Ganga water with Bangladesh, little details of this component are available. In broader terms, storages and links of the Himalayan component are of mammoth size. Due to size, topography and other reasons, construction and environmental problems might be enormous.
  • Further, there appears to be some anomalies in the planning of this component. Since no additional storages are proposed on the Ganga and the Yamuna, their monsoon flows will continue to go to the Bay of Bengal while huge funds are to be spent to transfer water of Kosi, Ghagra, Gandak and Sarda to the West. The Satluj Yamuna link (which has not been made operational due to inter-state dispute) would transfer water from west to east, the proposed Sarda-Yamuna link towards east will flow in the opposite direction.
  • Similarly, the Narmada canal transfers Narmada waters across Sabarmati towards North-West, the proposed Rajasthan-Sabarmati link will flow in the opposite direction towards South-east.
Interlinking of Rivers UPSC
Peninsular Rivers Development Component
  • The main component of Peninsular Rivers Development is the “Southern Water Gridwhich is envisaged to link Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Pennar, and Cauvery rivers.
  • Surplus water from the Mahanadi and the Godavari will be transferred to the Krishna, Cauvery, Pennar, and the Vaigai rivers. The peninsular scheme was envisaged to provide additional irrigation benefits of over 13 million ha.
  • The Peninsular component comprises the following four parts:
    • Diversion of surplus flows of Mahanadi and Godavari to Krishna, Pennar, Cauvery and Vaigai.
    • Diversion of west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east.
    • Inter-linking small rivers flowing along the west coast, north of Mumbai and south of Tapi.
    • Inter-linking the southern tributaries of Yamuna.
  • The peninsular component of ILR has 13 major water storage/diversion structures situated in four basins. Three non-storage structures, viz., Dowlaiswaram barrage, Prakasam barrage, and Grand Anicut and storage node (Narayanpur) cater to only irrigation, while six storage nodes, viz., Inchampalli, Almatti, Nagarjunasagar, Pulichintala, Krishnarajasagar, and Mettur will serve both irrigation and power needs. One storage node, viz., Somasila is operated to meet domestic and irrigation needs and two storage nodes, viz., Polavaram and Srisailam are multi-purpose projects serving domestic, irrigation, and hydropower demands.
  • Among these, the interlinking of Mahanadi, Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery rivers will require the construction of a number of large dams and big canals. This system will be one of the largest and ambitious water transfer projects.  The system will require huge financial outlays and will have immense influence on economic, social and environmental growth of the region.  Logically, therefore, it would be necessary to closely examine the various components and arrive at the best solution. It is pertinent to note that water need not be transferred from a surplus basin, just because it is available.  Before adopting such transfers, it would be necessary that all the resources of the recipient basin are put to the optimum use.
  • Sixteen links are proposed in the Peninsular Component.
    1. Mahanadi(Manibhadra)-Godavari (d/s)
    2. Godavari (Inchampalli)-Krishna (Nagarjunsagar)
    3. Godavari (Inchampalli Low Dam)-Krishna (Nagarjunsagar Tail Pond)
    4. Godavari (Polavaram)-Krishna (Vijaywada)
    5. Krishna (Almatti) – Pennar
    6. Krishna (Srisailam) – Pennar
    7. Krishna (Nagarjunsagar) – Pennar (Somasila)
    8. Pennar (Somasila)-Cauvery (Grand Anicut)
    9. Cauvery (Kattalai) – Vaigai – Gundar
    10. Ken-Betwa
    11. Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal
    12. Par-Tapi-Narmada
    13. Damanganga-Pinjal
    14. Bedti-Varda
    15. Netravati-Hemavati
    16. Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar
Intra-state inter-linking of rivers
  • India approved and commissioned NWDA in June 2005 to identify and complete feasibility studies of intra-State projects that would inter-link rivers within that state.
  • The Governments of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Kerala, Punjab, Delhi, Sikkim, Haryana, Union Territories of Puducherry, Andaman & Nicobar islands, Daman & Diu and Lakshadweep responded that they have no intrastate river connecting proposals.
  • Govt. of Puducherry proposed Pennaiyar – Sankarabarani link (even though it is not an intrastate project).
  • The States Government of Bihar proposed 6 inter-linking projects, Maharashtra 20 projects, Gujarat 1 project, Orissa 3 projects, Rajasthan 2 projects, Jharkhand 3 projects and Tamil Nadu proposed 1 inter-linking proposal between rivers inside their respective territories.
  • Since 2005, NWDA completed feasibility studies on the projects, found 1 project infeasible, 20 projects as feasible, 1 project was withdrawn by Government of Maharashtra, and others are still under study.
interlinking of rivers

Benefits of River Interlinking

There are many benefits that the proposed interlinking projects will bring about. They are discussed below:

  • Interlinking rivers is a way to transfer excess water from the regions which receive a lot of rainfall to the areas that are drought-prone. This way, it can control both floods and droughts.
  • This will also help solve the water crisis in many parts of the country. 
  • The project will also help in hydropower generation. This project envisages the building of many dams and reservoirs. This can generate about 34000 MW of electricity if the whole project is executed.
  • The project will help in dry weather flow augmentation. That is when there is a dry season, surplus water stored in the reservoirs can be released. This will enable a minimum amount of water flow in the rivers. This will greatly help in the control of pollution, in navigation, forests, fisheries, wildlife protection, etc.
  • Indian agriculture is primarily monsoon-dependent. This leads to problems in agricultural output when the monsoons behave unexpectedly. This can be solved when irrigation facilities improve. The project will provide irrigation facilities in water-deficient places.
  • The project will also help commercially because of the betterment of the inland waterways transport system. Moreover, the rural areas will have an alternate source of income in the form of fish farming, etc.
  • The project will also augment the defence and security of the country through the additional waterline defence.

Challenges in River Interlinking

Despite the many benefits that are associated with the river interlinking project, the project is yet to take off because of the many hurdles it is facing. Some of the challenges in this regard are as follows:

  • Project feasibility: The project is estimated to cost around Rs.5.6 lakh crores(estimated cost with the base year of 2000). Additionally, there is also the requirement of huge structures. All this requires a great engineering capacity. So, the cost and manpower requirement is immense. A report points out that Climate change will cause a meltdown of 1/3rd of the Hindu Kush Region’s glaciers by 2100. So, the Himalayan rivers might not have ‘surplus water’ for a long time. Considering this, investing billions of money in the interlinking of rivers might yield benefits only for a short time.
  • Environmental impact: The huge project will alter entire ecosystems. The wildlife, flora and fauna of the river systems will suffer because of such displacements and modifications. Many national parks and sanctuaries fall within the river systems. All these considerations will have to be taken care of while implementing the project. The project can reduce the flow of fresh water into the sea, thus affecting marine aquatic life.
  • Impact on society: Building dams and reservoirs will cause the displacement of a lot of people. This will cause a lot of agony for a lot of people. They will have to be rehabilitated and adequately compensated.
  • Controlling floods: Some people express doubts as to the capability of this project to control floods. Although theoretically, it is possible, India’s experience has been different. There have been instances where big dams like Hirakud Dam, Damodar Dam, etc. have brought flooding to Odisha, West Bengal, etc.
  • Political Challenges: Water is a state subject in India. So the implementation of the NRLP primarily depends on Inter-State co-operation. Several states including Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, and Sikkim have already opposed the NRLP.
  • Inter-state disputes: Many states like Kerala, Sikkim, Andhra Pradesh, etc. have opposed the river interlinking project.
  • International disputes: In the Himalayan component of the project, the effect of building dams and interlinking rivers will have an effect on the neighboring countries. This will have to be factored in while implementing the project. Bangladesh has opposed the transfer of water from the Brahmaputra to the Ganga.
  • Other Challenges: The government is proposing a canal irrigation method for transmitting water from one area to the other. The maintenance of canals is also a great challenge it includes preventing sedimentation, clearing logging of waters etc.

Major Inter-State River Disputes

River(s)States
Ravi and BeasPunjab, Haryana, Rajasthan
NarmadaMadhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan
KrishnaMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana
VamsadharaAndhra Pradesh & Odisha
CauveryKerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry
GodavariMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha
MahanadiChhattisgarh, Odisha
MahadayiGoa, Maharashtra, Karnataka
PeriyarTamil Nadu, Kerala
Way Forward with Interlinking of Rivers
  • Integrated water resource management is the key for India. India needs to conserve every drop of water, reduce wastage,  equitable distribution of resources at the same time enhance groundwater. So the small scale simple things have to be tried instead of large scale projects.
  • Local solutions (like better irrigation practice) and watershed management, should be focused on.
  • The government should alternatively consider the National Waterways Project (NWP) which “eliminates” friction between states over the sharing of river waters since it uses only the excess flood water that goes into the sea unexploited.
  • Instead of interlinking rivers, India can try the concept of virtual water. For Example: Suppose when a country imports one tonne of wheat instead of producing it domestically, it is saving about 1,300 cubic meters of the local water. The local water can be saved and used for other purposes.
  • The necessity and feasibility of river-interlinking should be seen on case to case basis, with adequate emphasis on easing out federal issues.
  • We need to understand the importance of achieving small things. After all, “Big visions are realized through small steps only”. So, the government has to conduct a detailed hydrological, geological, meteorological and environmental analysis of the interlinking of rivers. In that, the government must analyze the alternatives also.

Manas-Sankosh-Tista-Ganga (MSTG) Link
  • Interlinking of the Brahmaputra with the Ganga, the Subernarekha and the Mahanadi is proposed to transfer waters of the Brahmaputra to benefit areas in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa.
  • The Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga link is an important link in this component. This link envisages diversion of surplus water from Manas and Sankosh rivers in the Brahmaputra basin to augment flows of the Ganga upstream of Farakka.
  • A link to the Peninsular component through Subernarekha and Mahanadi is also envisaged. For this link high dams are proposed at Manas and Sankosh with storage capacities of 8.75 BCM and 4.93 BCM, respectively (Singh 2002).
  • A substantial part of the cost of these dams will be allocated to hydropower generation. The 114 km long link canal between Manas and Sankosh will have a discharge capacity of 3,725 m3/s.
  • Beyond Sankosh and up to the Teesta barrage, the link canal is 137 km long with a capacity of 1,092 m3/s. Clearly, this will be a huge canal which will cross major drainages. The MSTG link passes through the narrow chicken neck in West Bengal (north of Bangladesh) and may have security aspects.
Ghaghra-Yamuna Link
  • The Ghagra-Yamuna link project is an inter-dependent link under the Himalayan Component of NPP. A study reveals that the Ghagra River (known as Karnali in Nepal) at the proposed the Chisapani dam site has surplus water.
  • It is proposed that the existing requirement of water for the Sarda Sahayak Pariyojna, Saryu Nahar Pariyojna and various pump canals would be met from the proposed Gandak – Ganga link project and the water saved thereby could be diverted from the proposed Chisapani reservoir through the Ghagra – Yamuna link canal. The height of proposed dam is 175 m. A regulating dam downstream of the Chisapani dam is proposed with a full reservoir level of 200 m and a minimum drawdown level 193 m.
  • The link canal shall join Yamuna River in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. The total length of the link canal would be about 417 km with its depth varying from 8 m in the head reach to 5 m in the tail reach and the width varying from 85.5 m in the head reach to 18 m towards the tail end.  
Sarda-Yamuna-Rajasthan-Sabarmati Link Canal
  • This is a continuous link having a combination of three links, viz., the Sarda-Yamuna link, the Yamuna-Rajasthan link, and the Rajasthan-Sabarmati link.
  • This link canal is planned to divert 17,906 MCM (14.52 MAF) water of Himalayan rivers. Its length will be 1,835 km out of which 75 km will be in Gujarat State.
  • A total of 4 states, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Gujarat, are to be benefited by this link.
  • About 1,627 MCM (1.32 MAF) water has been allocated to North Gujarat which is only 9% of the total divertible water at the canal head. A total 7.38 lakh ha area is to be irrigated by the Rajasthan-Sabarmati link, out of which 5.35 lakh ha in Rajasthan and 2.03 lakh ha in Gujarat.
Yamuna-Rajasthan Link Canal Project
  • The Yamuna-Rajasthan link proposal is an extension of the proposed Sarda–Yamuna Link beyond the Yamuna to provide irrigation to the drought prone areas of Haryana and Rajasthan.
  • It envisages diversion of 8,657 Mm3 of water from the Sarda basin at Purnagiri. The Yamuna – Rajasthan link is to take off from the right bank of proposed Yamuna barrage and passes through the Karnal, Sonipat, Jind, Hisar and Bhiwani districts of Haryana and Churu, Hanumangarh, Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer districts of Rajasthan and ends on the Jaisalmer-Hamira-Shri Mohangarh Road at a distance of 4.5 km from village Kanod towards Jaisalmer.
  • The length of the link canal is 786 km, out of which 196 km lies in Haryana and the rest 590 km in Rajasthan.
Rajasthan-Sabarmati Link Project
  • The Rajasthan-Sabarmati link canal is an extension of the proposed Yamuna–Rajasthan Link. The link envisages a transfer of 5,924 Mm3 water available at the tail end of the Yamuna-­Rajasthan link for drought prone areas of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • The length of the canal is about 725 km out of which 650 km lies in Rajasthan and the rest 75 km in Gujarat. The link canal on its way will cross the Luni River & its tributaries and the Banas River.
  • The Rajasthan-Sabarmati link will provide an annual irrigation of 535,000 ha in the districts of Jaisalmer, Barmer and Jalor of Rajasthan. The total annual irrigation thus envisaged in Rajasthan State through the above two interbasin water transfer links works out to be 779,200 ha.
  • Further, interlinking the Gandak, the Ghagra, the Sarda and the Yamuna, all tributaries of the Ganga, on to Rajasthan and the Sabarmati aims at transferring the waters of Gandak and Ghagra Rivers to benefit areas in Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar and Jharkhand.
  • Other important links proposed in the Himalayan component are the Kosi-Ghagra, Gandak-Ganga, Ghagra-Yamuna and Sarda-Yamuna links to supplement the supplies of the Ganga and the Yamuna and for further transfer of water towards the west to Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • A large canal parallel and to the east of the existing Rajasthan canal is proposed which will be extended beyond the tail of the present Rajasthan canal and be linked to the Sabarmati.  
Mahanadi (Manibhadra)-Godavari (Dowlaiswaram) Link
  • This link has been proposed between the Manibhadra reservoir on Mahanadi River to the Dowlaiswaram barrage on the Godavari.
Godavari (Inchampalli)-Krishna (Nagarjunsagar) Link
  • This link canal is proposed to divert 16,426 Mm3 from the Inchampalli dam on Godavari River. Out of this, 14,200 Mm3 will be transferred to the Nagarjunsagar reservoir on the Krishna River. The total length of the link canal will be about 298.7 km, including a 9 km long tunnel.
Inchampalli-Pulichintala Link
  • This link has been proposed to divert 3,901 Mm3 of surplus water from the Godavari and 470 Mm3 of Inchampalli Right Bank Canal.
  • Each year, the link would provide 1,382 Mm3 of water in the existing Nagarjunasagar Left Bank Canal command, 746 Mm3 in the proposed new area by extension of the Nagarjunasagar Left Bank Canal command, 1,623 Mm3 in the existing Nagarjunasagar Right Bank Canal command through the proposed Pulichintala Right Bank Canal and 470 Mm3 in the command of the Inchampalli Right Bank Canal.
  • In addition to the dam at the Inchampalli, a dam at Pulichintala on the Krishna River has been proposed.  The total length of the lift channel will be 270 km including a 25.5 km long tunnel. The link is proposed to be operated for only 240 days in a year with a head discharge of 263 m3/sec.
Godavari (Polavaram)-Krishna (Vijaywada) Link
  • This link canal has been proposed to divert 4,903 Mm3 which include 1,448 Mm3 for Polavaram RBC command, 2,265 Mm3 for the Krishna delta as committed under the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal award and 1,190 Mm3 for existing ayacut in the Krishna Delta.
  • The proposed Polavaram Barrage will be used to divert the Godavari water to the existing Prakasam Barrage of the Krishna River at Vijayawada.
  • The total length of the link canal will be 174 km and head discharge will be 361 cumec. The canal will operate round the year.
Krishna (Srisailam)-Pennar Link
  • The link has been proposed to divert 2,310 Mm3 of water from the Srisailam reservoir to Adinimmayapalli Anicut. The water would mostly flow through natural rivers and it is expected that about 2,095 M m3 would reach the Somasila reservoir.
  • This water is in exchange for surplus waters of the Mahanadi transferred from the Godavari to the Nagarjunasagar.
  • The total length of the channel would be 171.30 km and design discharge will be 186 cumec. This channel would run for 180 days in a year.
Krishna (Nagarjunsagar) – Pennar (Somasila) Link
  • This proposed link would divert 12,146 Mm3 of water from the Nagarjunasagar reservoir to Pennar River at Somasila.
  • Out of this quantity, 2,356 Mm3 will be utilized to irrigate part of the command of the Nagarjunasagar RBC, about 810 Mm3 will be used for en-route irrigation and 8,648 Mm3 will be transferred to the Somasila reservoir.
  • It is important to note that in most interlinking canals, provision has been made for en-route irrigation. Without this, farmers in the en-route area are likely to oppose water transfer and this might create many problems.
  • The total length of the canal is 394 km and its design discharge is 555 cumec. The canal will be operated for 240 days in a year.
Pennar (Somasila) – Cauvery (Grand Anicut) Link
  • The aim of this link is to transfer 8,565 Mm3 of water from the Pennar to the Cauvery.
  • Of this quantity, 3,170 Mm3 would be used for en-route irrigation, 279 Mm3 for en-route domestic and industrial uses, 876 Mm3 for the Chennai city water supply and 3,855 Mm3 would be transferred to the Cauvery River at Grand Anicut. About 385 Mm3 water is likely to be lost during transmission.
  • The total length of the canal will be 538 km and its design discharge will be 616.38 cumec. The canal will be operated for 365 days in a year.
Cauvery (Kattalai Regulator) – Vaigai – Gundar Link
  • The link has been proposed to transfer 2,252 Mm3 of water from the Cauvery River to the Vaigai River to provide irrigation to 353,337 ha annually.
  • The FSLs of the 250 km long link canal at the head and the tail will be 100.75 m and 78.865 m, respectively. This will be a lined canal which would be operated round the year.
Krishna (Almatti) – Pennar Link
  • The canal linking Krishna (Almatti) with Pennar (587 km long) will take off from right bank of the Almatti dam across the Krishna River in Karnataka with FSL of 510.00 m.
  • The canal will run through Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh before joining Maddileru, a tributary of the Pennar near the Malakavemula village. A balancing reservoir is also proposed at Kalavapalli in Anantapur district. The canal will also supplement the Bukkapatnam tank across Chitravathi River.
  • The link canal will carry about 1,980 Mm3 water during the Kharif season and irrigate about 70,000 ha in Karnataka and 190,000 ha in the Anantapur district of AP. Allocation of 56 Mm3 has also been made for domestic and industrial uses. There is a possibility of additional ground water recharge around the Kalavapalli reservoir and the Bukkapatnam tank.
Ken – Betwa Link
  • The Ken-Betwa and the Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal links of the ILR project are the links on which urgent attention is being focused by the Government.
  • The Ken-Betwa link envisages diversion of surplus waters of Ken basin to water deficit Betwa basin.
  • This link canal will provide irrigation to water short areas of upper Betwa basin of MP and also to en-route areas of MP & UP.
  • It is proposed to transfer 1,020 Mm3 of water from Ken basin to provide irrigation in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Apart from drinking water facility and en-route irrigation of 47,000 ha in Chhatarpur & Tikamgarh districts of Madhya Pradesh and Hamirpur & Jhansi districts of UP, provision for downstream commitments of 1,375 Mm3 for MP and 850 Mm3 of water for UP has also been kept.
  • A dam is proposed on Ken River at Daudhan, 2.5 km upstream of existing Gangau weir. The 75% dependable yield of Ken at Daudhan site has been assessed as 6,188 Mm3. The net water availability at dam site after accounting all the upstream requirements is 3,291 Mm3. The downstream commitments from Ken at Daudhan are 2,225 Mm3. Out of which, 850 Mm3 is provided to UP and 1,375 Mm3 to MP as per Interstate agreement (1981) on Ken River. The surplus water for diversion at Daudhan is 1,020 Mm3. Out of which, 659 Mm3 will be transferred to Betwa River upstream of Parichha weir and 312 Mm3 will be utilized in the en-route command.
  • The dam proposed at Daudhan is an earthen dam with two power houses (installed capacities of 3 x 20 MW and 2 x 6 MW). One Power House will be a pumped storage scheme. The design discharge of the link canal at its head is 72 cumec.
  • The link canal after traversing about 230 km will outfall in existing Barwa Sagar reservoir from where the diverted water will join Betwa river through a natural stream in the upstream of Parichha weir.
  • An area of 1.27 lakh ha in the Raisen and Vidisha districts of Madhya Pradesh will be benefited by water from this link. This link will also provide annual irrigation to 47,000 ha area en-route in the drought prone Chhatarpur and Tikamgarh districts of MP and Hamirpur and Jhansi districts of UP. The link will also provide 11.75 Mm3 water for domestic uses in the en-route villages of Chhatarpur and Tikamgarh districts of MP and Hamirpur and Jhansi districts of UP.
Par – Tapi – Narmada Link Canal
  • This link canal was proposed to divert surplus water of the rivers, like Par, Auranga, Ambica, Purna and Tapi, up to Vadodara branch of Narmada Command.
  • About 1,350 MCM surplus water is proposed to be diverted by the Par-Tapi link canal up to Ukai Dam and 2,904 MCM surplus water is proposed to be diverted by the Tapi-Narmada link canal (including 1,554 MCM surplus water of Tapi at Ukai).
  • The total length of the Par-Tapi-Narmada link canal is 402 km – the length of the Par-Tapi link will be 177 km and the Tapi-Narmada link will be 225 km. 
  • Seven reservoirs are proposed in the upstream catchment area of 2,573 sq. km. The link canal passes through dense forest and hilly region.
Damanganga – Pinjal Link Canal
  • The proposed Damanganga-Pinjal Link Project envisages the construction of reservoirs at Bhugad and Khargihill. The gross storage of these two reservoirs will be 426.39 & 460.79 million cubic meters (MCM) and live storage will be 400 & 420.56 MCM, respectively. The FRL will be 163.87 m and 154.52 m, respectively. The reservoirs will be connected by 16.85 km long pressure tunnel of 5.00 m diameter. Another 25.70 km long and 5.25 m diameter tunnel will connect Khargihill and Pinjal reservoirs.
  • The surplus water from Bhugad and Khargihill reservoirs will be transferred through pressure tunnels to Pinjal reservoir for onward transmission to Greater Mumbai. This link canal is proposed to supply 909 MCM water annually to Mumbai City to improve the existing inadequate availability of domestic and industrial water.
  • The project lies partly in the Valsad district of Gujarat and partly in Nasik and Thane districts of Maharashtra. The Bhugad dam site on Damanganga River will intercept 141 km2 catchment area of Gujarat State. It will be located near Bhugad village in the Nasik district and Modushi village in Valsad district.
  • The Khargihill dam will be constructed on the Vagh River near Behapada village in Thane. The Bhugad-Khargihill and Khargihill-Pinjal tunnels lie entirely in Maharashtra.
Pamba – Achankovil – Vaippar Link Project
  • The proposed Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar Link project has three storage reservoirs, two tunnels, necessary canal system and a few power generating units.
  • The Punnamedu reservoir (reservoir-2) is located on river Pamba Kal Ar in Pamba basin in Kerala state, which serves a part/full of its downstream mandatory requirements and supplies surplus water to reservoir-1 through tunnel-2.
  • The Achankovil Kal Ar reservoir (reservoir-1) located on the Achankovil Kal Ar River in the Achankovil river basin of Kerala state, supplies water for irrigation purposes to the state of Tamil Nadu, through tunnel-1 to the main canal. The water from the main canal is then distributed to the command area of Vaippar basin in Tamil Nadu state. Besides this, reservoir-1 releases 10 MCM of water daily during six hours of peak load period for power generation.
  • The Achankovil reservoir (reservoir-3), which is located on Achankovil River in the Achankovil river basin of Kerala state, besides acting as a pumped storage scheme accommodating the water drawn from the upstream reservoir-1, also serves the purpose of releasing water downstream to meet its downstream mandatory demands. The 10 MCM of water drawn to the downstream reservoir-3 from reservoir-1 for power generation is pumped back to reservoir-1 in a 16 hours period. Also, if there is deficit at reservoir-1, the surplus water of reservoir-3 can be pumped back to reservoir-l.

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