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Central Water Commission

(Serving the nation since 1945)

Dispute Resolution

All the major river basins and some among the medium river basins are of inter-state nature. As the development of projects by one state on an inter-state river may affect the interests of other basin states, inter-state differences arise with regard to use, distribution and control of waters of inter-state river basins.

Constitutional Provisions and Central Water Laws

  • Legal Instruments on Rivers in India Vol I
  • Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956

Agreements on inter-State rivers

Efforts are always made to resolve the dispute through mutual discussions and negotiations between the party States/parties. Such a settlement is most preferred since it fosters a spirit of involvement for the party States/parties concerned. As a result of such negotiations, a number of inter-State agreements have been reached so far (Substantive number of these agreements reached before and after independence have become obsolete/superseded by fresh agreements/decision of tribunals).


The list of such agreements for Ganga, Indus and Brahmaputra basins is given at Annex-I and in respect of other basins is given at Annex-II Details of these agreements are available at “Legal Instruments on Rivers in India Vol III Part 1 and 2” at http://www.cwc.nic.in/main/webpages/Legal instruments of Rivers in India publications.html.

Awards of inter-State Water Disputes Tribunals

At present decisions of the Krishna-I, Godavari, Narmada and Cauvery Tribunals as detailed below are published in the official gazette and are effective and binding on parties to the disputes under the provisions of Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956. The decision of KWDT-II is not yet effective as the same has not been notified in the Official Gazette. Awards of inter-State Water Disputes Tribunals

  • Legal Instruments on Rivers in India Vol II

River Water Disputes under adjudication

The following inter-state river water disputes referred under Inter State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 to the Tribunals for adjudication are yet to be settled. Their details and present status are as under
River Water Disputes under adjudication
  • Legal Instruments on Rivers in India Vol II

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