River basin is considered as the basic hydrological unit for planning and development of water resources. There are 12 major river basins with catchment area of 20000 km2 and above. The total catchment area of these rivers is 25.3 lakh km2 . The major river basin is the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna , which is the largest with catchment area of about 11.0 lakh km2 (more than 43% of the catchment area of all the major rivers in the country). The other major river basins with catchment area more than 1.0 lakh km2 are Indus, Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna. There are 46 medium river basins with catchment area between 2000 and 20000 km2 . The total catchment area of medium river basins is about 2.5 lakh km2 . All major river basins and many medium river basins are inter-state in nature which cover about 81% of the geographical area of the country.

Classification of Basin

  • India WRIS Basin
  • CWC Basin
  • NCIWRDP Basin
  • AISLUS Basin
  • CGWB Basin

India WRIS

Using the SRTM DEM data of NASA, having a spatial resolution of 90 meters, the basin ans sub-basin boundaries for the Indian subcontinent have been delineated. As per this information, the country has been divided into 25 Major River Basins and 103 sub-basins.The names of the basins are given in the table:


Table 1: List of Basin Name and Area

Sl. NoBasin Code Basin Name Area(
11Indus (Up to border) Basin453931.87
22aGanga Basin808334.44
32bBrahmaputra Basin186421.6
42cBarak and others Basin45622.41
53Godavari Basin302063.93
64Krishna Basin254743.31
75Cauvery Basin85624.44
86Subarnarekha Basin25792.16
97Brahmani and Baitarni Basin51893.68
108Mahanadi Basin139659.15
119Pennar Basin54243.43
1210Mahi Basin38336.8
1311Sabarmati Basin30678.59
1412Narmada Basin92670.51
1513Tapi Basin63922.91
1614West flowing rivers South of Tapi Basin111643.87
1715East flowing rivers between Mahanadi and Godavari Basin46243.06
1816East flowing rivers between Godavari and Krishna Basin10345.16
1917East flowing rivers between Krishna and Pennar Basin23335.82
2018East flowing rivers between Pennar and Cauvery Basin63646.21
2119East flowing rivers South of Cauvery Basin38646.11
2220West flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni Basin184441.06
2321Minor rivers draining into Bangladesh Basin5453.23
2422Minor rivers draining into Myanmar Basin24731.08
2523Area of North Ladakh not draining into Indus Basin29238.78
2624Drainage Area of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Basin6918.2
2725Drainage Area of Lakshadweep Islands Basin462.59
28 Island Basin371.4

Table 2: List of Sub Basin Name and Area

Sl. No Sub-Basin Code Sub-Basin Name Area(
11Barmer Sub Basin21646.88
21Beas Sub Basin19138.22
31Chautang and others Sub Basin27543.74
41Chenab Sub Basin29974.29
51Churu Sub Basin66890.7
61Ghaghar and others Sub Basin49984.26
71Gilgit Sub Basin27101.85
81Jhelum Sub Basin29196.01
91Lower Indus Sub Basin23891.72
101Ravi Sub Basin13566.95
111Shyok Sub Basin38724.57
121Sutlaj Lower Sub Basin38578.38
131Sutlaj Upper Sub Basin21425.47
141Upper Indus Sub Basin46268.85
152aAbove Ramganga Confluence Sub Basin38792.4
162aBanas Sub Basin51639.43
172aBhagirathi and others (Ganga Lower) Sub Basin63059.31
182aChambal Lower Sub Basin11067.89
192aChambal Upper Sub Basin25511.32
202aDamodar Sub Basin42050.58
212aGandak and others Sub Basin56573.83
222aGhaghara Confluence to Gomti confluence Sub Basin26403.75
232aGhaghara Sub Basin58728.53
242aGomti Sub Basin29618.82
252aKali Sindh and others up to Confluence with Parbati Sub Basin48511.99
262aRamganga Sub Basin30811.48
272aSone Sub Basin64789.32
282aTons Sub Basin16857.08
292aUpstream of Gomti confluece to Muzaffarnagar Sub Basin29381.01
302aYamuna Lower Sub Basin125084.38
312aYamuna Middle Sub Basin34830.46
322aYamuna Upper Sub Basin35584.95
332aKosi Sub Basin19037.96
342bBrahmaputra Lower Sub Basin87381.27
352bBrahmaputra Upper Sub Basin99040.33
362cBarak Sub Basin27615.78
372cKynchiang and other south flowing rivers Sub Basin10310.93
382cNaoch chara and others Sub Basin7695.69
393Godavari Lower Sub Basin43821.19
403Godavari Middle Sub Basin36289.01
413Godavari Upper Sub Basin21469.99
423Indravati Sub Basin38974.42
433Manjra Sub Basin29485.75
443Pranhita and others Sub Basin36108.58
453Wardha Sub Basin46237.65
463Weinganga Sub Basin49677.35
474Bhima Lower Sub Basin23649.56
484Bhima Upper Sub Basin44807.62
494Krishna Lower Sub Basin39438.74
504Krishna Middle Sub Basin22286.59
514Krishna Upper Sub Basin54498.4
524Tungabhadra Lower Sub Basin41542.29
534Tungabhadra Upper Sub Basin28520.15
545Cauvery Lower Sub Basin17378.51
555Cauvery Middle Sub Basin57284.09
565Cauvery Upper Sub Basin10961.84
576Subarnarekha Sub Basin25792.16
587Baitarni Sub Basin14244.22
597Brahmani Sub Basin37649.47
608Mahanadi Lower Sub Basin57987.1
618Mahanadi Middle Sub Basin51877.65
628Mahanadi Upper Sub Basin29794.4
639Pennar Lower Sub Basin17992.3
649Pennar Upper Sub Basin36251.13
6510Mahi Lower Sub Basin13379.26
6610Mahi Upper Sub Basin24957.54
6711Sabarmati Lower Sub Basin10825.49
6811Sabarmati Upper Sub Basin19853.1
6912Narmada Lower Sub Basin8897.8
7012Narmada Middle Sub Basin40580.48
7112Narmada Upper Sub Basin43192.22
7213Tapi Lower Sub Basin4110.13
7313Tapi Middle Sub Basin31759.69
7413Tapi Upper Sub Basin28053.09
7514Vasishti and others Sub Basin27477.72
7614Netravati and others Sub Basin18759.52
7714Periyar and others Sub Basin21893.97
7814Varrar and others Sub Basin14163.19
7914Bhatsol and others Sub Basin29349.48
8015Nagvati and other Sub Basin24375.66
8115Vamsadhara and other Sub Basin21867.4
8216East flowing rivers between krishna and Godavari Sub Basin10345.11
8317East flowing rivers between krishna and Pennar Sub Basin23335.82
8418Palar and other Sub Basin35385.35
8518Ponnaiyar and other Sub Basin28260.85
8619Pamba and others Sub Basin18302.72
8719Vaippar and others Sub Basin20343.39
8820Bhadar and other west flowing rivers Sub Basin17936.32
8920Drainage of Ran Sub Basin21035.42
9020Luni Lower Sub Basin19735.35
9120Luni Upper Sub Basin79886.74
9220Saraswati Sub Basin27674.11
9320Shetranjuli and other east flowing rivers Sub Basin18173.13
9421Karnaphuli and Others Sub Basin3776.84
9521Muhury and Others Sub Basin1676.39
9622Imphal and others Sub Basin16754.9
9722Mangpui Lui and others Sub Basin7976.18
9823Shaksgam Sub Basin6523.5
9923Sulmar Sub Basin22715.52
10024Drainage Area of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Sub Basin7577.85
10125Drainage Area of Lakshadweep Islands Sub Basin669.81
102 Island Sub Basin371.4

CWC Basin

The entire country has been divided into 22 basins as per Central Water Commission.The names of the basins along with their id and area are given in the table.

Basin Map of India

Sl. No Basin Code Basin Name Area (
101Indus (Up to border)321289
42CBarak and others41723
907Brahmani and Baitarni51822
1614West flowing rivers from Tapi to Tadri55940
1715West flowing rivers from Tadri to Kanyakumari56177
1816East flowing rivers between Mahanadi and Pennar86643
1917East flowing rivers between Pennar and Kanyakumari100139
2018West flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni321851
2119Area of inland drainage in Rajasthan
2220Minor rivers draining into Myanmar & Bangladesh36202


The entire country has been divided into 24 basins as per National Commission for Integrated Water Resources Development Plan(India). The names of the basins and area are given in the table.

Basin Map of India

Sl. No Basin Code Basin Name Area(
1414West Flowing Rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra Including Luni334390
1515West Flowing Rivers South of Tapi113057
1616East Flowing Rivers between Mahanadi and Godavari49570
1717East Flowing Rivers between Godavari and Krishna12289
1818East Flowing Rivers between Krishna and Pennar24649
1919East Flowing Rivers between Pennar and Cauvery64751
2020East Flowing Rivers South of Cauvery35026
2121Area of North Ladakh Not draining into Indus28478
2222Rivers draining into Bangladesh10031
2323Rivers draining into Myanmar26271
2424Drainage Area of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep8280


AISLUS Basin Map

The AISLUS organization of the departments of agriculture and co-operation has been engaged in conducting rapid reconnaissance surveys for prioritization of smaller Hydrologic units within catchment areas of river valley projects and flood prone has developed a system for delineating and codifying the catchment areas into smaller Hydrologic units i.e. sub watersheds following the 4 stage delineation. through the methodology developed has been serving the requirement of prioritization , a need for national level framework of watersheds, was always felt by the user agencies. the present bulletin on watershed atlas of india is an endeavor in that direction wherein the entire country has been divided into:

  • 6 Major Water Resources Region
  • 35 River Basin
  • 112 Catchments
  • 500 Sub-catchments
  • 3237 Watersheds following a 5 stage delineation approach

|Sl.No |Basin Code |Basin Name |Area( |

71GEphemeral incipient drainge not flowing into Indus28676
82ALower Ganges296614
92BUpper Ganges above confluence with Ghaghra207557
123ABrahmaputra right bank upto Lohit confluence105416
133BLeft bank ok of Brahmaputra107133
143CBrahmaputra tributaries that flow into Bangladesh56093
153DEastern parts Manipur and Mizoram draining into Chidwim(Burma)28320
164ACape Comorin to Cauvery37564
184CBetween Cauvey and Krishna143845
214FBetween Godavari and Mahanadi53949
234HMahanadi to Ganges water resource region84326
245ACape Comorin to Sheravati54771
255BSharavati to Tapi58146
305GSouthern Kathiawar39322
315HDraining into gulf of Kutch58257
326ALuni and other drainage into Rann of Kutch92518
336BFrom luni to Jaisalmer58489
346CJaisalmer and Bikaner69697
356DRohtali to Ambala on east and Ganganagar in west52582


In this Atlas, the entire river system of the country have been divided into 34 basins as per central ground water board.

Basin cgwb.png

Sl. No Basin Code Basin Name Area(
1818Lower Ganga249661
3131Upper Ganga231127


Our National Water Policy recommends that resource planning in the case of water has to be done for a hydrological unit such as a basin or sub-basin. This means that all developmental projects in a basin should be formulated within the framework of an overall plan for a basin/sub-basin. The National Water Policy further lays down that there should be an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to the planning, formulation, clearance and implementation of projects, including catchment and management, environmental and ecological aspects, rehabilitation of affected people and command area development. Such an integrated, multidisciplinary and basin-wise approach to river basin planning and management requires the establishment of an appropriate organization at the river basin level for ensuring optimum, all round and balanced development of the water resources of a river basin.
River basin organizations envisaged above said function as a planning, co-ordination and management organization for the basin. It will combine various disciplines related to water resources development, drawing expertise from these disciplines in order to achieve optimal and integrated development of the water resources of the basin. It shall be charged with the authority for storage apportionment, regulation and control at various points in the river basin, publishing statistics or other information relating to various aspects of the regulation and development of the inter-state rivers and undertaking investigations, surveys etc. as found necessary.
The Government, as early as 1956, had enacted the River Boards Act, recognizing the necessity of some organization for the control and regulation of interstate river basins. The Act authorizes the Union Government to establish River Boards, on a request received in this behalf from a State Government or otherwise, for advising the Government bodies interested in relation to such matters concerning the regulation or development of an interstate river or river valley or any specified part thereof and for performing such other functions as may be specified in the notification.
So far, no effective river basin authority or organization has been established in the country for the integrated and optimum development of the water resources of basins. However, over the years since independence, a number of basin organizations have been created for limited purposes such as speedy implementation of master plans for specific purposes. An overview of the existing organizations is given below:

Existing Organizations

Damodar Valley Corporation

The establishment of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) by an Act of Parliament in 1948 marks the beginning of an authority with the responsibilities for designing and administering comprehensive programme of development of river basin. The DVC was modeled on the lines of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) of the United States. The principal objectives of the DVC as laid down in the DVC Act, 1948 are promotion and operation of schemes for irrigation, water supply and drainage, generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy, flood control and navigation, promotion of afforestation, control of soil erosion, promotion of public health and the agricultural, industrial, economic and general well beings in the valley and its area of operation. The DVC is headed by a Chairman and has two full-time members. The Secretary and the Financial Adviser works directly under the Chairman. The DVC has under its authority four dams namely at Tilaiya, Konar, Maithon and Panchet. Irrigation system from Durgapur barrage is with West Bengal Government since 1964.

For details go to the website DVC

Bhakra-Beas Management Board

The Bhakra Control Board and the Bhakra Advisory Board were constituted in 1950 by the Ministry of Works, Mines and Power for ensuring efficient, economical and early execution of the Bhakra-Nangal Project.On Reorganisation of the erstwhile state of Punjab on 1st November, 1966, Bhakra Management Board (BMB) was constituted under section 79 of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.The administration, maintenance and operation of Bhakra Nangal Project were handed over to Bhakra Management Board w.e.f. 1st October 1967. Similar functions with regard to the Beas Project were also subsequently entrusted to the Bhakra Management Board which was renamed as Bhakra-Beas Management Board. The Board is entrusted with the task of administration, maintenance and operation of the two reservoirs for irrigation and power generation and regulation of supply of water to the States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and UT of Chandigarh and Delhi. The Board comprises of a Chairman, with two full time members. In addition, the Joint Secretary (Hydro), Ministry of Power, Govt of India, Commissioner (Indus), MoWR, Govt of India and the Secretaries of irrigation and Power Ministries of Punjab, Haryana,Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.

For Detail information of the board visit the site BBMB

Tungabhadra Board

The Tungabhadra Board was constituted by the President in exercise of the power vested under the Andhra State Act,1953 for completion of the Tungabhadra Project and for its operation and maintenance. The Board is in-charge of the common portions of the Tungabhadra Project which comprises of Tungabhadra Dam and reservoirs, low level canal, high level canal and right bank power houses. The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal has made specific provisions in the Award for the use of Tungabhadra Waters by the States of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The responsibility for carrying out these specific provisions relating to the use of Tungabhadra waters has been entrusted to the Tungabhadra Board by the Tribunal. At present the Board consists of a Chairman appointed by the Government of India, a Finance Member also from Government of India and Members representing Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, all working part time on the Tungabhadra Board.

Ganga Flood Control Commission

The Ganga Flood Control Commission was constituted in 1972 by the erstwhile Ministry of Irrigation and Power through a Government resolution. The Commission serves as the executive limb and secretariat of the Ganga Flood Control Board, which is a body headed by the Union Minister of Water Resources as Chairman and Chief Ministers or their representatives of the basin-states and Lt. Governor of Delhi or his representative as members. The Commission is responsible for preparing a comprehensive plan of flood control in the Ganga basin and drawing out a phased programme of implementation of works to proper standards besides examinations of various schemes from techno-economic angle, monitoring of important flood management schemes and providing other technical guidance to the basin-states. The GFCCC is headed by a chairman appointed by the Govt. of India who also acts as the Member-Secretary of the Ganga Flood Control Board, and is assisted by two full-time Members. The representatives of the concerned Central Ministries/Departments as well as the Chief Engineers of the basin-states are either part-time members or permanent invitees of the Commission. The Commission’s function is restricted to only flood control projects and has jurisdiction over the Ganga basin.

Betwa River Board

Betwa River Board was constituted by the Union Ministry of Water Resources under the Betwa River Board Act, 1976. This was in accordance with the provisions of the interstate agreement reached in 1973 between the states of U.P. and M.P. regarding construction of Rajghat dam project and is responsible for the early, efficient and economical execution of the project. The Board is headed by Union Minister of Water Resources as Chairman. The Union Minister of Energy, Chief Ministers and the ministers in charge of Finance, Irrigation and Power of the States of UP and MP are members of the Board. The activities of the Board are managed by an Executive Committee under the chairmanship of the Chairman, Central Water Commission.

Bansagar Control Board

Bansagar Control Board was constituted in 1976 in pursuance of an interstate agreement between the states of Mahya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar regarding construction of Bansagar dam on Sone. The Board is in overall charge of the Bansagar dam, and its appurtenant structures and is responsible for the early, efficient and economical execution of the project. The Board is headed by Union Minister of Water Resources as its Chairman. The Union Minister of Energy, Chief Ministers and Ministers in charge of Irrigation and Finance of three states of UP, MP and Bihar and the Minister in charge of Electricity of Madhya Pradesh are its members. The affairs of the Board are managed by an Executive Committee under the Chairmanship of Chairman, Central Water Commission.

Brahmaputra Board

Brahmaputra Board was established by the Govt. of India under the Brahmaputra Board Act, 1980. The Board was set up with the objective of carrying out surveys and investigations and preparing a master plan for the control of flood and bank erosion and improvement of drainage of the Brahmaputra Valley. In preparing the master plan, the Board shall have regard for the development and utilization of the water resources for irrigation, hydropower, navigation and other beneficial purposes. The Board is headed by a Chairman, appointed by the Govt. of India and has 20 members of whom 3 are appointed by the Govt. of India and 17 are members representing States of the North-Eastern Region, North-Eastern Council, concerned ministries and other agencies of the Govt. of India. Apart from Brahmaputra Valley, the Board has jurisdiction over the adjacent Barak Valley also. There is provision for the Board to take up construction of multipurpose projects in the approved master plan with the approval of the Central Government.

For detail go to the website Brahmaputra Board

Narmada Control Authority

Narmada Control Authority was set up in 1980 by the Government of India in pursuance of the final orders of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal(NWDT). It is an inter-state high level administrative authority, charged with the responsibility of securing compliance with the implementation of decisions and directions of the NWDT by the four party states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The Authority is headed by the Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources as Chairman. It has seven engineering members, three appointed by the Govt. of India, one of whom is the executive member and four appointed by the basin states among the Engineer-in-Chief/ Chief Engineer/Additional Chief Engineer of Irrigation of Power Department of State Electricity Board. In addition, Secretaries of the Union Ministries of Energy, Environment and Forests and Welfare and Chief Secretaries of the basin states are also members of the Authority. The Authority is meat only for the compliance of the Award of the Tribunal.

For details go to website NCA

Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee

Sardar Sarovar Construction Advisory Committee was set up in 1980 by Government of India in pursuance of the final orders of NWDT. The Committee is responsible for the efficient, economical and early execution of the dam and appurtenant works and the power complex of the inter state Sardar Sarovar Project. The Committee scrutinizes the technical features, designs and estimates and also the annual works programme of the project. The Committee is headed by the Secretary, Union Ministry of Water Resources as Chairman and has members representing Government of India, four party states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and the Narmada Control Authority.

For details go to website SSCAC

Upper Yamuna River Board

Closed Organizations

Sone River Commission

Sone River Commission was set up by the Government of India in 1989 in pursuance of the agreement of Bansagar Project between the states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. The objective of the Commission was to prepare and present a comprehensive basin plan for optimum use of Sone waters for irrigation and multipurpose uses. The Commission, after submission of its final report, was wound up in August 1988.



  1. Water Year Book,2008
  2. Central Water Commission,1989.Major River Basins of India-An Overview, Minister of water Resources, Government of India,New Delhi
  3. AIS&LUS Watershed Atlas
  4. CGWB Report
  5. NCIWRDP Report

QR Code
QR Code basins (generated for current page)