Drainage of IndiaThe rivers of India plays an important role in the country’s economy. It provides the irrigation water,Hydroelectric power, and transportation. More over, the vast fertile Indo-Gangetic plain is the productof the riverine action, which remains one of the principal agricultural region of the country. Apart fromthis, Indian people have some religious sentiments with these rivers and considered them to be sacred.The area drained by the main river along with its tributaries is known as a drainage basin. The largestdrainage basin of India is the Ganga drainage basin closely followed by Indus, Brahmaputra &Godavari, securing the second, third & fourth position respectively.Drainage Systems of IndiaThe Indian drainage system is divided into two distinct river systems. They are: 1. Himalayan Drainage System 2. Peninsular Drainage systemDifference between Himalayan & Peninsular drainage system The Himalayan rivers are perennial in nature unlike its peninsular counterpart since they are fed by glaciers. The peninsular rivers on the other hand entirely depends on the monsoon rain & hence, seasonal. Going by the age of the rivers, the most of the peninsular rivers are as old as Pre-Cambrian period whereas the Himalayan rivers are mostly younger, except few rivers like Sutlej, Indus, Brahmaputra which are antecedent in nature. The Himalayan rivers are more active than the Peninsular rivers in term of erosion, transportation & deposition. The Himalayan rivers are mostly navigable in nature whereas the peninsular rivers are not generally navigable because of its rough plateau terrain. As the Himalayan rivers are more active than the Peninsular river, the phenomenon of river capture is more common in Himalayan river system. The peninsular rivers are slow moving whereas the Himalayan rivers are swift in their upper course.The Himalayan River SystemThe Himalayan River system can be sub-divided into three river systems. They are: 1. The Indus SystemThis river system comprises of Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, & Beas. River Source Length Other information Indus Glacier Bokhar Chu 2880 km Initially flows in NW direction, between Ladakh & in the southern slope (709 km in Zanskar Range. Subsequently meets with its of Mt. Kailash near India) tributaries like Zanskar, Suru, Dras, Shyok, Nubra, Manas Sarovar lake Shigar & Gilgit. By carving out a gorge near Nanga Parbat the river starts to flow in SW direction & eventually drains itself in the Arabian Sea. Before that, in Pakistan it meets with R. Kabul near Attock & R. Panjnad at Mithankot. Jhelum Spring at Verinag in 774 km Flows through Srinagar, Wular lake then enters the SE part of Pakistan. Largest tributary is Kishenganaga. Enters Pakistan through a deep gorge in Baramulla district.
Kashmir Valley Joins Chenab at Trimmu in Pakistan.Chenab Lahul district, 1180 km Chandra & Bhaga river originates in Lahul District Himachal Pradesh (HP) near Bara Lacha Pass. Both rivers meets & Tandi (HP) and flows in between the Pir Panjal & Greater Himalaya range. Initially flows in NE direction, the takes a hairpin bend at Kishtwar (HP) and then enters Pakistan. Later it meets Indus at Mithankot, Pakistan.Beas Kangra district, 470 km Starts from Rohtang Pass, meets R. Sutlej at Hari-ke- Himachal Pradesh Pattan, South of Amritsar, Punjab. (Rohtang Pass)Ravi Kangra district, 720 km Starts from Rohtang Pass, drains the western slope of Himachal Pradesh Pir Panjal range & northern slope of Dhauladhar (Rohtang Pass) range. Enters Pakistan & meets R Chenab at Ahmedpur Sial.Sutlej Lake Rakshatal in 1550 km Also known as Red river. It enters India through Tibet near Manas Shipki La in Himachal Pradesh. Meets with Beas at Sarovar Hari-ke-Pattan.Multipurpose Projects/ Dams: a) Baglihar Project on R. Chenab in Doda District, Kashmir. The project is financed by World Bank. The project is a controversial one as Pakistan claimed that construction of the dam violated the Indus Water Treaty. Other notable dams on Chenab are Salal, Dulhasti, Sawalkot, Kirthai, & Pakal-Dul dams. b) Mangla Dam on Jhelum river is the 6th largest dam in the world. It was built in 1961 -67 according to the Indus Basin project that resulted out of Indus Water Treaty. This dam is situated in Mirpur District of Azad Kashmir. Apart from this there is Uri HEP (Baramulla dist.)on River Jhelum c) Chamera Dam (Chamba, HP), Baira-Siul Dam (Chamba, HP)and Ranjeet Sagar Dam (Punjab) on R. Ravi. d) Bhakra-Nangal project and Nathpa Dam (HP) on R. Sutlej. e) Pong Dam (Kangra, HP) & Pandoh (Mandi, HP)Dam on R. Beas. f) Tarbela Dam on R.Indus at Haripur in Pakistan, which was built in 1974 as a part of Indus Basin Project. 2. The Brahmaputra System The Brahmaputra river is one if the major rivers if South Asia. It is 2900km long and rises from the glaciers near Manas Sarovar Lake. In Tibet it is known as Yarlung Tsangpo. It enter India through a deep gorge near Namcha Barwa. From here onwards the River is known as Brahmaputra. R. Brahmaputra travels south ward till Sadiya, from where it takes a sharp bend flows in western direction through Assam valley. It flows westward up to Dhubri from where it again takes a sharp bend and starts to flow southward, thus flowing into Bangladesh. In Bangladesh the river get divided into two branches: Jamuna & old Brahmaputra. This two river again meets as Chandpur in Bangladesh & eventually falls in Bay of Bengal. River Brahmaputra is known for its annual flood. The causes behind this annual flood are: The large amount of rainfall in the catchment area. Sudden debouchment of sediments in the Assam valley from the Himalayas due the drastic change in channel gradient.
The important tributaries of R. Brahmaputra are:Left bank tributaries: Dhansiri, Kapili, BarakRight bank tributaries: Subansiri, Jia Bhoraeli, Manas, Sankosh, Tista & Raidak a. Dhansiri: Rises from Naga hills b. Sankosh: It’s the main river of Bhutan, meets Brahmaputra at Dhubri, Assam. c. Manas: Rises from Tibet and joins Brahmaputra on its right bank. d. Subansiri: It is flows in between the Mikir hills & Abor hills and later joins Brahmaputra on its right bank. e. Tista: Rises from Kanchanjunga, fed by the tributaries like Rangit & Rangpo, it joins the Brahmaputra river in Bangladesh. f. Barak: Rises from Mt. Japov in Nagaland. It enters Bangladesh as R. Surma which falls into R. Padma at Chandpur. 3. The Ganga System River Source Length Other InformationGanga Gamukh Glacier, 2510 Initially it is know as Bhagirathi. It meets with Uttar Kashi District km Alakananda at Devaprayag and from here it is known of Uttrakhand as Ganga. The river enters the plain land from Hardwar. From Hardwar onwards it flows in SE direction in UP and in eastern direction in Bihar. When the river enters the Maldah district of WB it get divided into two branches: Hooghly & Padma. The flows into the WB & Padma enters Bangladesh.Yamuna Yamunotri Glacier, 1380 It meets Ganga at Allahabad. Uttarakhand kmChambal Malwa Plateau, 960 km Main tributaries are Banas, Kali Sind, Shipra & Parbati. Vindhyan Range Meets with Yamuna at the boundary of Bhind & Etawah district of MP.Ghagra Gurla Mandhata - In Nepal it is known as Karnali river. Meets River peak in Nepal Ganga at Chhapra.Gandak Between Dhaulagiri - It enters India through Champaran district, Bihar. & Mt. Everest Meets Ganga at Sonpur near PatnaSon Amarkantak Plateau, 780 km It meets R. Ganga at Bankipora near Patna. MPMahananda Darjeeling Hills, WB -Kosi Southern slope of Mt. 729 km Enters India through the Chhatra & Saharsa district of Everest Bihar and joins R. Ganga near Manihari in Bihar. Also known as Sorrow of Bihar.Damodar Chandwa Village, 592 km It meets R. Ganga at Falta (South 24 PGS) Palamau district, Jharkand
Multipurpose Projects/ Dams: a) Bansagar Dam & Indrapuri Barrage on River Son. b) Gandhi Sagar Dam, Rana Pratap Sagar Dam & Jawahar Sagar Dam on River Chambal. c) Tehri Dam on Bhagirathi River d) Farakka Barrage on R. Ganga e) Panchet Dam on R. Damodar.The Peninsular River System River Source Length Other InformationGodavari Brahmagiri 1465 km Also know as ‘Vriddha’ Ganga. Important left bank Mountain, tributaries are Purna, Maner, Penganga, Pranhita Trimbakeswar, (formed by the meeting of Wardha & Wainganaga), Nasik, Maharastra Indravati, Tal & Sabri. Important right bank tributary is Manjira. The river near Rajamundhry get divided into two Channels Vasistha & Gautami and forms one of the largest delta in India. Lake Kolleru is a lagoon within the deltaic region of Godavari.Krishna Mahabaleshwar, 1290 km Left bank tributaries are Bhima, Dindi, Musi & Maharastra Munneru. Right bank tributaries are Ghataprabha, Tungabhadra, Panchganga and Koyna. The Krishna delta is a birdfoot delta.Cauvery Kodagu district, 765 km Important tributaries are Shimsha, Bhavani and Karnataka Moyar. It is considered as sacred river and often called as Ganga of the south.Mahanadi Dhamtari district, 885 km Notable tributaries are Seonath, Telen, Sandur & Ib. Chattisgarh Falls in Bay of Bengal, forming a delta.Brahmani Formed by the 420 km Seasonal river, flowing through the districts of confluence of Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack & Jajapur. Sankh & South KoelTapi Satpura Range, 700 km It flows through Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh & MP Gujrat. Important tributaries are Purna, Girna and Panzara.Narmada Amarkantak 1300 km It flows through a rift valley between Vindhya & plateau, Anuppur Satpura. It travels westward and empties itself into district, MP the Gulf of Khambat.Luni Aravalli Range, 530 km It drains the western flank of Aravalli hills, where it is Ajmer, Rajasthan known as Sagarmati. The major tributaries are Sukri, Bandi & Jawai. It get disappeared into the Rann of Kutch after flowing in SW direction for about 500 km.Mahi Udaipur district, 500 km It flows in SW direction through Dungarpur & Rajasthan (approx) Banswara district of Rajasthan and finally empties itself in Gulf of Khambat.
Multipurpose Projects/ Dams: a) Doleswar Barrage, Sriram Sagar Reservoir, Polavaram Dam, Trimbakeswar dam & Jayakwadi Dam on R. Godavari. Nizam Sagar Reservoir on Manjira river (tributary of Godavari) b) Joorala reservoir, Nagarjuna Sagar dam, Prakasham Barrage, Alamatti Dam & Srisailam Dam on R. Krishna. Osman Sagar reservoir on R. Musi (tributary of Krishna). Dhupdal reservoir & Hidkal reservoir on R. Ghataprabha (tributary of Krishna) c) Bargi Dam, Kolar dam, Omkareshwar Multi purpose project, Sardar Sarovar project & Indirasagar project on R. Narmada. d) Hirakud Dam on R. Mahanadi. e) Krishna Raja Sagar dam & Mettur dam on Cauvery river. Banasura Sagar Dam on Kabini river (tributary of R. Cauvery) f) Rengali Dam on Brahmani river Indian River Linking Project (IRLP): An AssessmentThe recent controversy regarding the Indian River Linking Project (IRLP) reflects the dichotomy of theCommercial Approach and Ecological Approach of the people towards river. The fabrication of IRLPprimarily recognizes the need of utilizing the river water equally in different parts of the country. Asfar as our country is concerned, some river basin experiences surplus water whereas some experiencesdeficit. Formulation of IRLP revolves round the idea of interconnecting the rivers of the country inorder to balance out the surplus and deficit river water supply.The Historical Overview of IRLP:The idea of IRLP was first proposed by Sir Arthur Cotton in 1839. At that time the main motive behindthe formulation of such mammoth plan was to connect the various places of India through waterways.It was believed to be a strategic plan of the British Rule to minimize the cost of roadways construction.In recent times the issue of IRLP was again raised by the then Indian Water Minister, Dr, K. L. Rao in1972 and by Capt. Dastur through his Garland Canal project in 1974.However, the Indian River Linking Project experienced a revival in 2002, by the then Indian PresidentDr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, in his speech on the eve of Indian Independence Day. The controversy waslighted up by PIL (Public Litigation File) filed in Supreme Court by Ranjit Kumar, a Supreme Courtadvocate against IRLP. A directive was passed by the court for the realization of the IRLP, within 2016.Subsequently, the then NDA Government formulated a taskforce to implementation of the project.With the emergence of the new UPA Government in 2005, the taskforce was replaced and a review ofthe Indian River Linking Project (IRLP) was promised.The Plan: IRLPThe total river linking project is believed to have two broad sections: o The Peninsular Component o The Himalayan ComponentThe Peninsular Component comprises of 16 links. They are: 1. Mahanadi (Manibhadra) –Godavari (Dowlaiswaram) Link 2. Godavari (Polavarm) –Krishna (Vijayawada) Link 3. Godavari (Inchamaplli) –Krishna(Nagarjunasagar) Link
4. Godavari (Inchampally Low Dam) –Krishna (Nagarjunasagar Tail Pond) 5. Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) –Pennar (Somasila) Link 6. Krishna (Srisailam) –Pennar Link 7. Krishna (Almatti) –Pennar Link 8. Pennar (Somasila) –Cauvery (Grand Anicut) Link 9. Cauvery (Kattalai) –Vaigai (Gundar) Link 10. Parbati –Kalishindh –Chambal Link 11. Damanganga –Pinjal Link 12. Par-Tapi –Narmada Link 13. Ken –Betwa Link 14. Pamba –Achankovil –Vaippar Link 15. Netrreavati –Hemavati Link 16. Bedti –Varda Link The Himalayan Component on the other hand consists of 14 links. They are: 1. Kosi –Mechi Link 2. Kosi –Ghaghra Link 3. Gandak –Ganga Link 4. Ghaghra –Yamuna Link 5. Sarda –Yamuna Link 6. Yamuna –Rajasthan Link 7. Rajasthan –Sabarmati Link 8. Chunar –Sone Barrage Link 9. Sone Dam –Southern Tributaries of Ganga Link 10. Brahmaputra –Ganga Link (Manas-SankoshTista-Ganga) 11. Brahmaputra-Ganga Link (Jogighopa Tista-Farakka) 12. Farakka –Sunderbans Link 13. Ganga –Damodar –Sundernarekha Link 14. Subernarekha –Mahanadi LinkApart from this, the plan also envisages the construction of 30 large dams, reservoirs and canals, whichwill act as a ‘lift’ to carry the links against the gravity.Storms of Criticism: IRLP(i) Erroneous Basic Premise. IRLP’s basic premise, according to which certain river basins are surpluswhile others are deficit is unsound, because each river, over geological eons, has given rise to a specificeco-system and culture in its basin. Specific to its eco-system and culture, a particular river’s water isneither ‘surplus’ nor ‘deficit.’ Any large scale transfer of water from one basin to another cannot butirreparably affect the eco-systems of both the basins.(ii) Faulty Concepts. The concepts of ‘surplus’ and ‘deficit’ are relative and not absolute. In particular,they depend on demand and supply side conditions(iii) Doubtful Financial Feasibility. Even if all the engineering might is marshaled and the proposed dams– barrages – reservoirs – lifts – tunnels – canals are actually built, the benefits of the project may notjustify the financial costs.
(iv) Doubtful Flood Mitigation. IRLP’s flood mitigation effects are doubtful too. Flood mitigation throughinter-basin transfer in South Asia is made difficult by the fact that the months of heavy precipitation(from south-westerly monsoon winds) are basically the same for all parts of the region(vi) Irreparable Ecological Damage and Other Non-economic Costs: The benefits of IRLP will certainly fallshort of the costs if the damage done to the eco-systems and cultures and other non-economic costs ofthe project are taken into consideration.(vii) Exacerbation of Conflicts: IRLP will proliferate and aggravate inter-state conflicts that already existwithin India over river-sharing. More importantly, IRLP will aggravate conflicts among co-ripariancountries of South Asia. Water diversion from the Ganges by India at Farakka is already an importantobstacle to improving the relationships between India and Bangladesh.(viii) Unintended Consequences and Possible Redundancy. A major river-intervention project such as IRLPcannot but have many unintended consequences of negative nature. Many of the dams and reservoirsof IRLP are to be built in seismically active regions of South Asia. The Indian Ocean earthquake ofDecember 2004 gives some indication of the terrible consequences that may follow if dams of IRLPcrumble under the impact of earthquakes. More importantly, climate changes resulting from globalwarming and other such processes can soon make IRLP’s calculations obsolete.