Bill to prevent floods, settle inter-state water disputes

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 24, 2013


Amid recurrent floods and ongoing water disputes between states, the government today floated a draft Bill which seeks to set up 12 river basin authorities in the country to settle discords and prevent deluge and pollution in inter-state rivers.

The Draft River Basin Management Bill, which seeks to amend the River Boards Act, 1956, was today put in public domain by the Water Resources Ministry.

The draft legislation seeks to create a mechanism for integrated planning, development and management of water resources of a river basin. The River Boards Act lacked such a provision.

So far, not a single River Board has been constituted under the present Act as no state ever made a request under the provisions of the legislation.

The Bill proposes a two-tier structure for each of the 12 river basin authorities.

Every river basin authority would consist of an “upper layer” called the governing council and a “lower layer” described as the executive board charged with the technical and implementation powers for the council decisions.

The governing council has extensive membership and representation including chief ministers of the co-basin states, ministers in charge of water resources, one Lok Sabha member, one MLA among others.

Likewise the executive board has also been given a broad base membership under the Bill.

The governing council will approve the river basin master plan to ensure sustainable river basin development, management and regulation. It will also take steps to enable the basin states to come to an agreement for implementation of river basin master plan.

The council will also settle inter-state water disputes.

The executive board on the other hand will prepare schemes for irrigation, water supply, hydropower, flood control, pollution control and soil erosion.

Published on June 24, 2013

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