Mumbai Metropolitan Region is planning and building over 12 dams in the ecologically fragile, biodiversity rich Western Ghats region. This is a predominantly tribal belt. By very conservative estimates, these dams will submerge more than 22,000 hectares land, including over 7000 of forests and 750 hectares of Tansa Sanctuary.

Multiple dams are planned and are under construction on the west flowing rivers near Mumbai for the growing drinking and industrial water needs of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the entire Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

Maharashtra is facing one of the worst droughts this year. Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar as well as Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan have said that this year’s drought is worse drought than the one in 1972, which was termed as a ‘famine’.

Analysing the state of rivers in India in the context of legal and institutional issues has a huge canvas. The paper starts with the definition of a river. It then goes on to describe the existing legal and institutional measures that affect the state of rivers in India.

This new report by South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People presents an analysis of the state of water sector in India. It says that climate change offers a unique opportunity to revisit water management & provides recommendations in this context.

Neither for the farmers, nor for the environment, the draft water policy seems to help only vested interests.

Unfortunately, Indian rivers have been viewed at as only providers of water and receivers of waste water and effluents. The ecosystemic links between upstream, mid stream, floodplains and riparian areas have not been the focus of any river improvement schemes or developmental projects.

This paper presents the Indian institutions which are engaged in building dams and other power projects abroad, and provides an overview of the projects which they are involved in. It summarizes the track record of Indian dam builders at home, and analyzes some of the problems which their new projects have created. The paper concludes with recommendations for future action.

There is urgent need for publicly known norms of transparency and accountability in operation of reservoirs that are like time bombs that can explode multiple times. Bhakra exploded in 1988, Ukai in Gujarat did in Aug 2006, Hirakud did in Sep 2008, Srisailam, Tungabhadra, Upper Krishna and Damodar dams did in Sep 2009. The wrong operation of Bhakra, Pong and Tehri reservoirs in 2010 lead to avoidable floods in the downstream areas.

The Central Water Commission (CWC) sent its response to the Kosi Bandh Katan Judicial Enquiry Commission, through Letter No 7/2/2/2009-FM.II/427 dated 04.12.2009, authored by C P Singh, Director FM-II, issued "with the approval of Chairman, CWC" as the letter says.