THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT IS preparing to seek funds from the World Bank for a huge multi-billion dollar project, which involves linking India’s largest rivers in a countrywide grid to transport water from the north to the states of the south and east that suffer water shortages.

The plan envisages taking flood waters from 14 Himalayan tributaries of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers in northern India and Nepal and transferring them south via a series of canals and pumping stations, across the Vindhya mountains to replenish 17 southern rivers. In all, the scheme will mean constructing over 300 dams.

The project, to be completed in 14 years, is expected to cost between US$70B to US$200B, depending on the various alternatives for implementation.

India’s National Water Development Agency in New Delhi says when complete, the project will provide enough water to irrigate some 35M ha of farmland and produce 34,000MW of hydro power.