The proposal for addressing the twin problems of floods and water scarcity by interlinking rivers is based on an outdated and dangerous idea of surplus river basins from which water can be drawn at will. Global experience shows how damaging such plans of large-scale water transfer are to the environment, economy and livelihoods of the people. Such plans have also proved a failure to either prevent fl oods or provide water on a sustainable basis. It is unfortunate that water policy in India remains a prisoner to such obsolete ideas.