In DepthWater

India plans the grandest of canal networks

Science  11 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6193, pp. 128
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6193.128

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In one of the most ambitious engineering projects ever conceived, the Indian government is gearing up to build a 15,000-kilometer-long network of canals and tunnels that would move 174 billion cubic meters of water each year from areas with surplus water to parched regions of India. The prime rationale for the $168 billion National River Linking Project is simple: To feed its growing population, the Indian government has determined that it must drastically expand its arable land. If fully implemented, the project would increase the area of irrigated land from 100 million hectares to about 135 million hectares, while also curtailing flood damage during the summer monsoon season and adding another 34 gigawatts of hydropower capacity. But the initiative faces political hurdles and scientific dissent.

  • 1 in New Delhi