Strategic Basin Planning in Ganga River Basin, India

The densely populated basin of the Ganges River in India, measuring 861,452 square kilometer, is home to 575 million people, almost a quarter of the country’s population. The state of Uttar Pradesh alone would be one of the biggest countries in the world, with an irrigation system that is larger than that of China. The catchment area includes eleven states, each with its own responsibility for water management. That shows how complex coordinating measures can be. 

After each monsoon, there is almost no rain for the rest of the year, making river discharge dependent on melt water, which is susceptible to climate change. Some tributaries of the Ganges are reduced to little more than flows of waste water. Due to the intensive pumping of groundwater, which is often the only source of water for cities, agriculture and industry, even less water reaches the river. The problem is getting steadily worse.

The main objective is to provide technical assistance to support local authorities and stakeholders in the development of a strategic basin plan for the Ganga river basin in India. The establishment of on-going multi-stakeholder engagement processes to support strategic basin planning combined with capacity building sessions are critical elements for ensuring an implementable plan and as a result, balancing the improvement of the health of the river and, at the same time, maintaining an acceptable level of economic productivity.

Participatory modelling was used for the development and use of information systems and physical-system models. The approach combined the use of Group Model Building and meta-modelling. 

Decision-makers and stakeholders involved include the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR RD&GR), as well as state departments and central agencies that play important roles in the planning and management of the water resources within the basin. Other stakeholders involved are academic organizations and non-governmental organizations.

For more information:

  • : Andrew Warren, Bouke Ottow
  • : Kees Bons (project leader)
  • : World Bank
  • :