Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

In news: Sharavathi River


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Sharavathi River, Sand Mining Regulations

Why in the News?

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and the mines and geology department to stop any unlawful/illegal sand mining in the Sharavathi River coastal zone.

About National Green Tribunal (NGT)

Establishment Formed in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act as a statutory body.
  • To deal with cases related to environmental issues and ensure speedy implementation of decisions.
  • Responsible for giving many prominent decisions aimed at environmental protection, including addressing air pollution in Delhi and canceling coal block clearances.
  • Headquartered in Delhi, chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge
  • Included Judicial Members and Expert Panel.
Powers Empowered to decide on questions related to various environmental laws and hear civil cases concerning environmental issues:

  1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
  2. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
  3. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
  4. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
  5. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
  6. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
  7. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Exceptions Prohibited to hear any issues which are covered under:

  1. The Indian Forest Act, 1927,
  2. The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and
  3. Any other laws made by States which are related to protection of trees, forests, etc.
  • Principal bench in Delhi;
  • Additional benches in Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata, and Chennai.
Governing Principles
  • Governed by principles of natural justice, not bound by Indian Evidence Act.
  • Applies principles of sustainable development, precautionary, and polluter pays.
Review and Challenge
  • NGT orders can be reviewed as per Rule 22 of NGT Rules.
  • Can be challenged before the Supreme Court within 90 days.
  • Jurisdiction over all civil cases involving a substantial question relating to environment.
  • Powers vested are the same as in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • Decisions are binding.
Disposal of Cases Disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

About Sharavathi River

  • It originates and flows entirely within Karnataka.
  • It is among the few westward-flowing rivers in the country and a significant part of its basin lies in the Western Ghats.
  • Origin: The river originates at Ambutheertha in the Thirthahalli taluk.
  • Legend: According to ancient legend, the god Rama shot an arrow (Ambu) into the ground to quench his wife Sita’s thirst. The water that poured out was named “Thirtha,” hence the river’s name “Sharavati,” with “Shara” meaning arrow.

Geography and Length:

  • The river stretches about 128 km (80 mi) and joins the Arabian Sea at Honnavar in Uttara Kannada district.
  • Jog Falls, formed by the Sharavati River, is located approximately 25 km from Siddapura.

Tributaries and Basin:

  • Major tributaries: Nandihole, Haridravathi, Mavinahole, Hilkunji, Yennehole, Hurlihole, and Nagodihole.
  • River basin: divided between Uttara Kannada and Shimoga districts.
  • Pre-Cambrian rocks, including the Dharwar system and peninsular gneiss, dominate the basin.

Soils and Agriculture:

  • Soils in the basin are predominantly lateritic and tend to be acidic, ranging from clay loamy to loamy.
  • Four soil orders are found: ultisols, alfisols, inceptisols, and entisols.


  • The Linganamakki Dam, constructed in 1964, spans the Sharavati River, with a catchment area of nearly 1,991.71 km2.
  • The Gerusoppa Dam, completed in 2002, primarily serves for electricity generation.

Flora and Fauna:

  • The Sharavati Valley Wildlife Sanctuary declared in 1972, protects diverse ecosystems and endangered species.
  • The river basin is rich in biodiversity, home to rare species of flora and fauna.

Regulation of Sand Mining in India:

Mines and Minerals Act, 1957

Definition of Sand as a Minor Mineral Sand is categorized as a minor mineral under section 3(e) of the MMDR Act.
State Governments’ Role Section 15 empowers state governments to regulate mineral concessions for minor minerals, leading to the formulation of state-specific concession rules.
Control of Illegal Mining Section 23C places the jurisdiction over controlling illegal mining under the purview of state governments.

Sustainable Sand Mining Management Guidelines, 2016

Purpose Released by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, aims to promote scientific and environmentally friendly sand mining practices.
Recommendations Emphasizes sustainable sand extraction, monitoring, and district-wise mapping of sand availability.

Sand Mining Framework, 2018

Issued by Released by the Ministry of Mines, provides states with guidance for policy formulation and combating illegal sand mining.
Recommended Measures Suggests geo-fencing, GPS-enabled transportation tracking, price control, involvement of women’s self-help groups, and exploration of alternative sand sources.



[2018] Which of the following is/are the possible consequence/s of heavy sand mining in riverbeds?

  1. Decreased salinity in the river
  2. Pollution of groundwater
  3. Lowering of the water-table

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

[2019] With reference to the management of minor minerals in India, consider the following statements :

  1. Sand is a ‘minor mineral’ according to the prevailing law in the country.
  2. State governments have the power to grant mining leases of minor minerals, but the powers regarding the formation of rules related to the grant of minor minerals lie with the Central Government.
  3. State Governments have the power to frame rules to prevent illegal mining of minor minerals.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch