Inter-Linking of Rivers (ILR): National Water Development Agency (NWDA) entrusted
Attribution: Nilesh shukla, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The idea of inter-linking of rivers in India (involving transfer of excess water from the regions having high rainfall to the areas that are drought-prone) has been doing rounds for several decades as a means to reduce persistent floods in some areas and water shortages in other parts of the country.  

The idea seems to have moved a step forward now.  

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The National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has been entrusted by the government with the work of inter-linking of rivers under National Perspective Plan (NPP) that has two components – Himalayan Rivers Development Component and Peninsular Rivers Development Component.  

30 link projects have been identified under NPP. Pre-Feasibility Reports (PFRs) of all the 30 links have been completed and Feasibility Reports (FRs) of 24 links and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of 8 links have been completed.  

Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) is the first link project under NPP, for which implementation has been initiated as a joint effort by the Centre and the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.  

Inter-Basin Water Transfer (IBWT) from surplus basins to water deficit basins/areas is essential to address the imbalance in water availability across the country and water security in the country. Because the rivers cross several states (and other countries as well in some cases), the cooperation of States is paramount in the implementation of inter-linking of rivers (ILR) projects. 

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Latest Status and State-wise Details of Inter-Linking of River (ILR) projects:

A. Peninsular Component

Name of the link Status States benefited Annual Irrigation (Lakh ha) Hydro power (MW) 
1. Mahanadi (Manibhadra) – Godavari (Dowlaiswaram) link FR completed Andhra Pradesh (AP) & Odisha   4.43   450 
1 (a) Alternate Mahanadi (Barmul) – Rushikulya – Godavari (Dowlaiswaram) linkFR completed AP & Odisha 6.25 (0.91 + 3.52 + 1.82**) 210 (MGL)% + 240** 
2. Godavari (Polavaram) – Krishna (Vijayawada) link FR completed AP 2.1 — 
3 (a) Godavari (Inchampalli) – Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) link   FR completed   Telangana 2.87 975+ 70= 1,045 
3 (b) Alternate Godavari (Inchampalli) – Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) link *   DPR completed Telangana 3.67 60 
4. Godavari (Inchampalli) – Krishna (Pulichintala) link FR completed Telangana & AP 6.13 (1.09 +5.04) 27 
5 (a) Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) – Pennar (Somasila ) link   FR completed     AP   5.81   90 
5 (b)Alternate Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) – Pennar (Somasila ) link *   DPR completed AP 2.94 90 
6. Krishna (Srisailam) – Pennar link FR completed — — 17 
7. Krishna (Almatti) – Pennar link FR completed AP & Karnataka 2.58 (1.9+0.68) 13.5 
8 (a) Pennar (Somasila) – Cauvery (Grand Anicut) linkFR completed     AP, Tamil Nadu & Puducherry 4.91 (0.49+ 4.36 +0.06) — 
8 (b) Alternate Pennar (Somasila) – Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link *   DPR completed AP, Tamil Nadu & Puducherry 2.83 (0.51+2.32)   
9. Cauvery (Kattalai) – Vaigai -Gundar link DPR completed Tamil Nadu 4.48 — 
10. Parbati –Kalisindh – Chambal link FR completed       Madhya Pradesh (MP) & Rajasthan @Alt.I = 2.30 Alt.II = 2.20 — 
10 (a) Parbati – Kuno – Sindh link. $    PFR completed       MP & Rajasthan     
10 (b) Integration of modified Parbati – Kalisindh-Chambal link with Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP)PFR completed MP & Rajasthan       
11. Damanganga – Pinjal link (As per DPR ) DPR completed Maharashtra (only water supply to Mumbai) — 
12. Par-Tapi-Narmada link (As per DPR) DPR completed Gujarat & Maharashtra 2.36 (2.32 + 0.04) 21 
13. Ken-Betwa link   DPR completed & implementation initiated Uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh 10.62 (2.51 +8.11) 103 (Hydro) & 27MW (Solar) 
14. Pamba – Achankovil – Vaippar link FR completed Tamil Nadu & Kerala 0.91 — — 508 
15. Bedti – Varda link DPR completed Karnataka 0.60 —- 
16. Netravati – Hemavati link*** PFR completed Karnataka 0.34 — 

% MGL: Mahanadi Godavari Link 

**Benefit from six projects of Govt. of Odisha. 

@ Alt I- Linking with Gandhisagar Dam; Alt. II- Linking with Rana Pratapsagar Dam 

* Alternate study to divert unutilized waters of Godavari river carried out and DPR of Godavari (Inchampalli/ Janampet) – Krishna (Nagarjunasagar) – Pennar (Somasila) – 

Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link projects completed. Godavari-Cauvery (Grand Anicut) link project has been prepared comprising Godavari (Inchampalli / Janampet) – Krishna 

(Nagarjunasagar), Krishna (Nagarjunasagar)- Pennar (Somasila) and Pennar(Somasila)-Cauvery(Grand Anicut) link projects. 

*** Further studies are not taken up since after implementation of Yettinahole project by Govt. of Karnataka, no surplus water is available in Netravati basin for diversion through this link. 

$ Integration of Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project of Rajasthan and Parbati – Kalisindh-Chambal link

B. Himalayan Component

Name of the Link Status Country/ States benefited Annual Irrigation (Lakh ha) Hydro power (MW) 
1. Kosi-Mechi link PFR completed Bihar & Nepal 4.74 (2.99+1.75) 3,180 
2. Kosi-Ghaghra linkDraft FR completed Bihar, Uttar Pradesh (UP) & Nepal 10.58 (8.17+ 0.67 + 1.74 ) — 
3. Gandak – Ganga linkFR completed (Indian portion) UP & Nepal 34.58 (28.80+ 5.78 ) 4,375 (Dam PH) & 180 (Canal PH) 
4. Ghaghra – Yamuna linkFR completed (Indian portion) UP & Nepal 26.65 (25.30 + 1.35 ) 10,884 
5. Sarda – Yamuna link FR completed UP & Uttarakhand 2.95 (2.65 + 0.30) 3,600 
6. Yamuna-Rajasthan link FR completed Haryana & Rajasthan 2.51 (0.11+ 2.40 ) — 
7. Rajasthan-Sabarmati linkFR completed Rajasthan & Gujarat 11.53 (11.21+0.32) — 
8. Chunar-Sone Barrage link Draft FR completed Bihar & UP 0.67 (0.30 + 0.37) — 
9. Sone Dam – Southern Tributaries of Ganga link PFR completed   Bihar & Jharkhand 3.07 (2.99 + 0.08 ) 95 (90 Dam PH) & 5 (Canal PH) 
10.Manas-Sankosh-Tista-Ganga (M-S-T-G) link FR completed Assam, West Bengal (WB) & Bihar 3.41 (2.05 + 1.00 + 0.36 ) — 
11.Jogighopa-Tista-Farakka link (Alternative to M-S-T-G) PFR completed Assam, WB & Bihar 3.559 (0.975+ 1.564+ 1.02) 360 
12. Farakka-Sundarbans linkFR completed WB 1.50 — 
13. Ganga(Farakka) – Damodar-Subarnarekha linkFR completed WB, Odisha & Jharkhand 12.30 (11.18+ 0.39+ 0.73) — 
14. Subarnarekha-Mahanadi linkFR completed   WB & Odisha 1.63 (0.18+ 1.45) 

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