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INTERLINKING OF

RIVERS
By
SHIVAKUMAR. S. S
VIII SEM
S. J. COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

11

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
NEED FOR INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
CONCEPT OF INTERLINKING OF RIVERS
NATIONAL WATER DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
CASE STUDY OF BIHAR
EXISTING INTER BASIN PROJECTS
CONCLUSION
REFERENCES
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INTRODUCTION
Interlinking of rivers literally means joining of natural
channels.
Diversion of river waters for cultivation of crops has
been taking place from historical times. The earliest
of diversion by anicuts have taken place in South
India from the time of the Chola Kings.
India has a vast geographical area of 329 mha. Its
water resources are unevenly distributed in time and
space.

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NEED FOR INTERLINKING


The annual rainfall varies from avg. of about 300cm in northeastern
state of India to less than 15cm in its northwestern part in semi-arid and
arid part of Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The Himalayan rivers flowing in the northern part of India are snow
fed and perennial whereas the peninsular rivers are rain fed and
seasonal.
The various factors like hydrological, climatic and topographical
factors cause recurrence of floods in some parts of the country and some
parts will be facing scarcity of water.
Large scale migration of the people from the areas of water scarcity is
one of the serious concerns of our country.
Out of the 690 b.cum of utilisable surface water and 432 b.cum of
ground water, the present use is about 605 b.cum. The current stage of
utilisation of surface and ground water resources being 70% & 30%
respectively of the utilisable resources. About 70% of river flows are
discharged into sea without utilisation.

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The per capita availability of water in Brahmaputra basin is as high as


18,417 cu-m, whereas in some basins of the east flowing rivers of
Tamilnadu, it is only 380 cu-m. Any situation less than 1000 cu-m per capita
is considered as scarcity condition.
One third of the country is drought prone, while the areas susceptible to
floods is around 40 mha.

REQUIREMENT OF WATER
PURPOSE OF USE
Irrigation
Domestic water supply and live stock
Agriculture

VOL. BILLION CU-M


1,060
90
600

Industry

64

Energy

50

Total

1,864

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MAJOR RIVER SYSTEM


India is blessed with many rivers. Out of
these,12 are classified as major rivers whose total
catchment area is 252.8 mha.
VARIOUS RIVERS AND THEIR CATCHMENT AREAS
RIVER

CATCHMENT AREA IN
mha

Ganga-BrahmaputraMeghna

110

Indus

32.1

Godavari

31.3

Krishna

25.9

Mahanadi

14.2

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CONCEPT OF INTERLINKING
The concept of interlinking of rivers evolved during
1950S. At that time, the UN promoted such projects as
part of Stability and Peace.
Many countries, after gaining independence from
colonial powers wanted to express their national
confidence through such major projects. The
interlinking of Indian rivers proposal originated at the
same time as the world became fascinated with large
water infrastructure projects.

Rivers, which join, act as drainage channels and


entire river system so formed drains a specified area
called the basin of that system.
The intra-basin interlinking of rivers is a natural
geomorphologic process. As distinct from this,
interlinking of rivers belonging to altogether different
basins is not a natural process and can only take place
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through man made devices.

FIGURE: INTERLINKING OF RIVERS

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FACTORS DISTINGUISHING INTERLINKING OF


RIVERS THROUGH INTRA-BASIN AND INTERBASIN WATER TRANSFER
INTRA-BASIN WATER
TRANSFER

INTER-BASIN WATER
TRANSFER

Transfer of water is invariably to It envisages linking of rivers


belonging to different basins, which
the adjoining basins and not
may or may not be adjacent.
across basins.
Irrigation channels are generally
ridge Channels suitable for
distribution of water as distinct
from valley channel suitable for
drainage of water.

The primary purpose of link


channels will be to transfer water of
a river to another river of a different
basin. Any other use of a link channel
will be incidental to serve the
primary purpose.

Water transferred is directly


used, for irrigation in this case
and not brought to a river in the
receiving basin and hence does
not constitute interlinking of
rivers.

Neither the lateral slope available to


the tributaries linking with their
parent channel nor the longitudinal
slope available to ridge channels for
distribution of water will be available
to link channels.

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INTRA-BASIN WATER
TRANSFER

INTER-BASIN WATER
TRANSFER

Transfer of water takes place


through gravity flows and does
not require lifting by pumps.

The link channels will almost


invariably have to operate with
adverse slope, making pumping or
input of energy necessary.

Essentially inter-basin transfer


of water has been done through
surface irrigation projects, in
which lower portion of
command areas include areas in
the adjoining river basin
through which water is conveyed
through ridge canals.

As the objective of interlinking of


rivers in the present context is to
transfer water from water-surplus
rivers/basins
to
water-deficit
rivers/basins, the direction of flows in
the link channel and its alignment
will be determined accordingly.

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TECHNICAL ASPECTS FOR INTERLINKING


No established technology exists for interlinking of rivers. The
envisaged interlinking of rivers involves transfer of water through
link channels.
As far as civil engineering in concerned, the following points should
be considered carefully.
Structural facilities for storage of water through dams and
reservoirs.
Structural facilities for diversion of water, through weirs and
barrages.
Structural facilities for conveyance of diverted water to be
accomplished by channels or pipes.
Structural facilities for crossing natural drainage channels,
through cross drainage works.
Input of energy to maintain flow in the channel/pipe in the
desired direction which may be against gravity.

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PROBLEMS FACED IN THE CONSTRUCTION OF


LINK CHANNELS
Suitability of off take points from hydraulic, demographic and other
relevant considerations.
As these link channels will carry high discharges to invariably long
distances, acquisition of lands and related problems will arise.
In most reaches, the link channels are likely to be in filling and hence
will cause heavy seepage and hence proper lining is required.
The link channels may encounter natural channels.Thus drainage
works are required at each crossing.
In the alignment of link channels, adverse gradient may encounter
which may require lifting of water by use of pumps for the purpose.
Water carried by link channels will have the characteristics of water of
the rivers such as silt content and pollution. Thus the design of the link
channels and the characteristics of water of the recipient river will have to
be studied
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NATIONAL WATER DEVELOPMENT AGENCY


National water development agency (NWDA) was set up in July,
1982 as Autonomous Society under the Societies Registration Act,
1860 under Ministry of Water Resources .
It carries out the water balance and other studies on a scientific and
realistic basis for optimum utilisation of Water Resources of the
Peninsular Rivers System .
In 1990 NWDA was also entrusted with the task of Himalayan
Rivers Development Component of the National Perspective.
NWDA has so far identified and investigated 16 links for peninsular
rivers and 14 for the Himalayan Rivers and has carried out prefeasibility studies with respect to about 6 of them.
According to the directive of the Supreme Court , the Task Force
has been set up with a time bound mandate of taking various steps
towards the implementation of the project in a period of 10 years at a
tentatively estimated cost of Rs. 5,60,000 crore.

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NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE FOR WATER


RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
National Perspective Plan comprises of two main components
a) Himalayan rivers Development
b) Peninsular rivers Development
Himalayan component
1.

Manas-Sankosh-Tista Ganga link,

2.

Jogighopa-Tista-Farakka link,

3.

Ganga-Damodar-Subernarekha link,

4.

Subernarekha-Mahanadi link,

5.

Farakka-Sunderbans link,

6.

Gandak-Ganga link,

7.

Ghaghara -Yamuna link,

8.

Sarda-Yamuna link,

9.

Yamuna-Rajasthan link,

10.

Rajasthan-Sabarmati link,

11.

Chunar-Sone Barrage link,

12.

Sone Dam-Southern tributaries of Ganga link,

13.

Kosi- Ghaghara link

14.

Kosi-Mechi link

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Peninsular Components
1.

Mahanadi-Godavari Link

2.

Inchampalli-Nagarjunasagar Link

3.

Inchampalli Low Dam-Nagarjunasagar Tail Pond Link

4.

Polavaram -Vijayawada Link

5.

Almatti-Pennar Link

6.

Srisailam-Pennar Link

7.

Nagarjunasagar-Somasila Link

8.

Somasila-Grand Anicut Link

9.

Kattalai-Vaigai-Gundar Link

10.

Pamba-Achankovil-Vaippar Link

11.

Bedti-Varada Link

12.

Netravati-Hemavati Link

13.

Damanganga-Pinjal Link

14.

Par-Tapi-Narmada Link

15.

Ken-Betwa Link

16.

Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal Link

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IMPORTANT COMPONENTS REQUIRED FOR


INTERLINKING
NAME OF DAM

HEIGHT

(m)

SUBMERGENCE
(ha)
FOREST
CULTIVATED
LAND

POPULATION
AFFECTED

MANIBHADRA

49

9,828

9,500

79,000

INCHAMPALLI

41

21,734

37,782

1,00,080

POLAVARAM

23

3,887

43,158

1,09,087

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Benefits from peninsular and Himalayan


rivers development components
On implementation of the proposed National Perspective Plan for
inter-basin transfer of water, accrual of irrigation benefits would be to the
extent of about 35 million ha (25 M-ha from surface waters and 10M-ha
by increased use of ground water) which will be over and above the
ultimate potential of 140 M-ha from major, medium and minor irrigation
projects and generation of 34 MKW of hydropower apart from the benefits
of flood control, navigation, water supply, fisheries, salinity ingress and
pollution control.

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CASE STUDY OF BIHAR


Bihar, a state situated in the eastern part of India, will serve
and apt case to illustrate various issues and aspects related to
interlinking of rivers.
The present day Bihar, after a separate state of Jharkand, can
be considered as comprising two distinct hydrological regions,
North Bihar lying north of the river Ganga up to its border
with Nepal and South Bihar lying south of Ganga adjoining
Jharkand.
While most of Bihar is part of the Ganga basin, north Bihar is
drained by rivers originating in the Himalayas and Nepal, and
south Bihar is drained by rivers originating in the Vindhyan,
Chhotanagpur and Rajmahal hills. All these rivers join Ganga
at various confluence points lying mostly in Bihar.

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The excess water from river Ganga at Patna a water


surplus location is to be transferred to the river Yamuna at
Delhi, a water-deficit area.
The flow will ultimately have to negotiate a negative head
of 160m as the difference in altitudes of Delhi and Patna
and 200m as the head required for inertial flow through a
channel distance of more than 1,000 Km. About 5 MW of
energy will be needed to transfer 1 cusec of water. At this
rate, to transfer 500 cusecs of water, 2,500 MW of power
will be required, which is about three times the total power
consumption in Bihar.

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RECURRENCE OF FLOODS AS CONCLUSIVE


EVIDENCE OF SURPLUS
In the case of north Bihar, recurrent
occurrences of floods are caused by a combination of
the following five factors,

(i)

Hydro meteorological

The catchments areas of north Bihar rivers receive


almost 85% of their annual precipitation during 4
months of the south-west monsoons during JuneSeptember, mostly concentrated during July and
August. The annual precipitation varies from 130 cm
in the North Bihar plains up to 300 cm on the
southward slopes of the Himalayan part of the
catchments in Nepal.

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(ii)Hydrological
On an average, more than 60% of the aggregate
catchments areas of north Bihar Rivers lie in high
precipitation region outside north Bihar, mostly in Nepal.

(iii)Topographical
Catchments of north Bihar rivers undergo a very
large and sharp change in gradients from very steep in
the mountainous (Mt. Everest lies in these catchments)
to steep in the sub-mountainous parts to extremely
mild in the north Bihar plains through a relatively short
stretch of 300 Km.

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(iv) Hydraulic
When high flows resulting from run-off transformation
of seasonally concentrated precipitation in higher precipitation
upper catchments areas travel from steep gradients and
encounter mild gradients downstream, they exceed the
conveyance capacities of rivers in their lower reaches. So
they spill over the banks and inundate the flood plains, using
them as temporary dynamic storage.

(v) Demographic
As the inundated flood plains support habitation,
agriculture and other activities of a high-density population,
floods cause recurrent disruption, damages and devastations on
a large, attracting national attention. This is also linked by other
facts and situations.

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ENVIRONMENTAL, ECOLOGICAL AND HUMAN


IMPACT
As interlinking of rivers is achieved by a
combination of engineering measures such as dams,
barrages, cross drainage structures and link channels,
environmental and ecological impacts as well as
displacement of people resulting from each of them will
lead to the following consequences,
Unless the link channels are lined, which will be a cost-prohibitive proposition,
will cause heavy seepage which will not only constitute loss of water under transfer
but may also create water logging conditions in certain areas.
They are likely to cause substantial displacement of people giving rise to
problems of resettlement and rehabilitation. As the people to be displaced will be
far from being beneficiaries, there is bound to be resistance on their part.
As these long link channels may pass through dense forest and habitats of
wildlife, their ecological consequences may be serious and substantive.
Import of vast amount of water in arid or semi-arid areas may adversely affect
their dry land ecology.

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EXISTING INTER BASIN TRANSFER PROJECTS


The periyar Project, Parambikulam Aliyar Projet,
Kurnool-Cudappah Canal and
the Telugu Ganga
Project in the south and inter sub-basin transfers in
the Indus basin and Rajasthan canal project in the
north are good examples of inter basin water
transfers executed in India in 19th and 20th centuries.
Promises

Pitfalls

Transfer 173 billion cubic


metres of water to waterstressed regions

More inter state water disputes;


Diplomatic row with Bangladesh
&Nepal

Building 11000km of canal


network

Increased incidence of water


logging and submergence of
79,292 ha of forests.
Rising funds a constraint; costoverturn to make the project
prohibitively costly.
4.5 lakh people to be displaced.

Generate 34000 MW of power

Boost GDP growth by 4%

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CONCLUSION
The foreign schemes give confidence for planning inter-basin
water transfer schemes in India. At the same time, lessons have
to be learnt from their actual performance, economic viability
and environmental suitability.
The envisaged benefits to water-deficit regions of the country
through interlinking of rivers and also solution for problems such
as flood as seen from case study of Bihar should be assessed and
analysed in terms of economic, environmental and ecological as
well as social cost involved and finding options and alternatives
in the context.
The conceptual, technological and economic aspects
interlinking need comprehensive examination and analysis.

of

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REFERENCES
1.

Prasad. T,(2004), Interlinking of rivers for inter basin transfer. Economic and
political weekly ;March 20th,2004

2.

Vaidyanathan.A, (2003), Interlinking of peninsular rivers:A Critique


Economic and political weekly ;July 5

3.

S.A.Char, (2003)Linking of National Rivers , National Seminar on Inter


linking of Rivers, 30th April and 1st May, 2003.

4.

G.Vasantha (2003); Need For Linking Rivers, National Seminar on Inter


linking of Rivers, 30th April and 1st May, 2003.

5.

Report by, Central Water Commision, National Water Authority, GOI, An


Overview Of Inter-basin water transfer studies, National Seminar on Inter
linking of Rivers, 30th April and 1st May, 2003.

6.

Biksham Gujja & Hajara Shaik,(2003), Linking rivers:Learn from others


mistakes, The Hindu Survey Of The Environment 2003.

7.

Sudhirendra Sharma, (2003), Linking rivers:A Dream or a Nightmare, The


Hindu Survey Of The Environment 2003

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