The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation
Addressing the Critical Issues Facing Asia - 60 Years
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Cusec-Megawatt River Can we fish in the troubled waters of the Ganga?

10/29/2013

Sonali Mittra and Rohan D'Souza

(Transboundary Water Governance Issue Brief)
Modern river management, in the South Asian subcontinent, is often characterised as being defined by reductionist engineering and comprehensive water control. In technological terms, this has meant the introduction of infrastructures such as weirs, barrages, canal systems and inevitably large dams. The hydraulic principle underlying these varied structural interventions, however, has remained disarmingly simple: regulate flows either through diversion or impoundment in order to then harness the volumes as cusecs or megawatts. That is, from its emergence in the nineteenth century, modern river management in the region has been overwhelmingly biased towards commandeering river flows for irrigation and hydro-electricity.

 

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