The need of the hour is ecological management of rivers looking at them as living, dynamic systems which needs to be people centric

The direct impacts of delta subsidence and effective seas level rise abetted by dams include inundation of coastal areas, saltwater intrusion into coastal aquifers, increased rates of coastal erosion, an increased exposure to storm surges, etc, in addition to the threat to food security, livelihood security, water security to millions and huge l

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’.

More than 10.86 Million Indians depend on rivers, wetlands, floodplains, estuaries, ponds and tanks for subsistence
and market-based fisheries. Though the absolute contribution of riverine fisheries may not be huge in economic

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.

Wetlands in India come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from the huge vast coastal wetlands in Kerala like the Vembanad Kol, supporting millions of fish and birds, to the brackish water lagoons like Chilika in Orissa which support thousands of small fishermen, from the crystal clear lakes like the Chandra taal in Himachal, to the salty Sambhar lake in Rajasthan.

Most rivers and streams in urban India are dead or on the verge of collapse. With a very few and rare exceptions, these once-beautiful water bodied have been encroached upond, sources dried up or converted into sewage drains all over the country.