Jal Shakti Ministry Partners With Colleges for River Conservation

On February 29th 2024, the Ministry of Jal Shakti signed agreements with 12 technical institutions to further basin-level management and research on 6 key Indian rivers. The collaboration aligns with objectives of the National River Conservation Plan initiated in 1985.

Rivers Identified

The rivers covered under the academic partnership program include the Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, Cauvery and Periyar. These 6 rivers have been prioritized based on factors like pollution loads, population pressures and irrigation significance.

Institutions Onboarded

12 technology and engineering colleges with specializations around environmental science or water resources have been onboarded currently across various states.

They include the College of Technology Pantnagar, MANIT Bhopal, SVNIT Surat, VJTI Mumbai, NIT Trichy, College of Fisheries Mangalore, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Roorkee among others.

Areas of Collaboration

Key focus domains that the academic institutions will assist on through research and guidance include:

  • River zoning and maintaining ecological flows
  • Floodplain zoning for risk mitigation
  • Soil conservation and landslide control
  • Watershed planning and groundwater management
  • Water quality monitoring mechanisms
  • Modelling climate change impact on rivers
  • Policy study on river interlinking projects

The tie-ups also aim to encourage student projects on river revitalization besides building faculty capabilities, organizing seminars and boosting technology development.

Existing River Conservation Efforts

Addressing the signing ceremony, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat highlighted considerable strides made under the Namami Gange program launched in 2015 to rejuvenate the Ganga river.

The program’s conservation initiatives have led to UNESCO recognizing it among the top 10 river regeneration campaigns globally. Concepts like ‘Arth Ganga’ have also been promoted to better integrate livelihoods with river renewal.

Need for Holistic Planning

However, the Minister noted that more inter-state coordination is imperative for sustainable basin-level planning around flood control, hydropower needs, biodiversity and community dependence.

Academic partnerships can spur research on optimizing development across riparian states that share river systems while preserving ecological health.

India’s river conservation efforts stand to gain substantial momentum under the Jal Shakti Ministry’s collaborative approach to harness academic expertise on basin studies.


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