Fact Book #42 What is National Water Grid?

The idea was given by Dr. K L Rao in 1972 to the inter-linking of rivers for irrigation cum hydro project.


The idea was to interlinking of the Perennial River to the non-perennial because perennial rivers, witness devastating floods whereas peninsular states suffer from severe droughts.

But this idea was rejected by the Central Water Commission due to fund allocation issues and technical feasibility. In 1980, Government of India formulated the perspective plan for water resource development and set up the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) in July 1982. After long years of consideration, this idea was revived again in 2003 but the process of interlinking is very slow till date.

Advantages of the National Water Grid Project

1. Redistribution of water: Indian rivers are two types-perennial and non-perennial. The perennial rivers, witness devastating floods whereas peninsular states suffer from severe droughts. This project controls the water distribution through the linking of different river which will not only control the flood like situation but also to the drought like situation.

2. Hydropower generation: If rivers in India are interlinked then there will be a majority of dams and reservoirs which can be used for the electricity generation. Therefore, we can say interlinking of the river has potential to fulfil the energy requirement of the industrial, agricultural as well as rural households.

3. Irrigation Facilities: As we know that India is a land of agriculture, but its dependency on the monsoon becomes a barrier to the agricultural growth.

4. Commercial facilities: Interlinking of the river will open the gate for new perspectives of the inland waterways. It will help in faster mobilisation goods from one place to another. It will also open the new perspective of the fish farming.

Disadvantages of the National Water Grid Project

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1. Ecological Impact: Some of the environmentalist states that the interlinking of the river will affects the ecosystem of the rivers.

2. Social Impact: If rivers will inter-linked then there will dams and reservoirs which causes the large number of displacement of the people. Therefore, rehabilitation will be major issues.

What is the difference between River basin and command Area?

National River Linking Project Plan

The interlinking of the rivers envisages the redistribution of river water from the surplus basin to the water deficit basin. This project has two components:

1. Himalayan Component: Under this components, 14 projects have been listed to link various Himalayan rivers such as Ghaghara–Yamuna link (Feasibility study complete); Sarda–Yamuna link (Feasibility study complete); Yamuna–Rajasthan link; Rajasthan–Sabarmati link; Kosi–Ghaghara link; Kosi–Mechi link; Manas–Sankosh–Tista–Ganga link; Jogighopa–Tista–Farakka link; Ganga–Damodar–Subernarekha link; Subernarekha–Mahanadi link; Farakka–Sunderbans link; Gandak–Ganga link; Chunar–Sone Barrage link; Sone dam–Southern tributaries of Ganga link.

2. Peninsular Component: Under this component, 16 projects have been listed to link various peninsular rivers such as Interlinking of Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Palar-Pennar-Kaveri, Interlinking of West Flowing Rivers, North of Mumbai and South of Tapi, Inter-linking of Ken with Chambal and Diversion of some water from West Flowing Rivers.

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