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

Table 2: List of Sub Basin Name and Area

Sl. No Sub-Basin Code Sub-Basin Name Area(
1 1 Barmer Sub Basin 21646.88
2 1 Beas Sub Basin 19138.22
3 1 Chautang and others Sub Basin 27543.74
4 1 Chenab Sub Basin 29974.29
5 1 Churu Sub Basin 66890.7
6 1 Ghaghar and others Sub Basin 49984.26
7 1 Gilgit Sub Basin 27101.85
8 1 Jhelum Sub Basin 29196.01
9 1 Lower Indus Sub Basin 23891.72
10 1 Ravi Sub Basin 13566.95
11 1 Shyok Sub Basin 38724.57
12 1 Sutlaj Lower Sub Basin 38578.38
13 1 Sutlaj Upper Sub Basin 21425.47
14 1 Upper Indus Sub Basin 46268.85
15 2a Above Ramganga Confluence Sub Basin 38792.4
16 2a Banas Sub Basin 51639.43
17 2a Bhagirathi and others (Ganga Lower) Sub Basin 63059.31
18 2a Chambal Lower Sub Basin 11067.89
19 2a Chambal Upper Sub Basin 25511.32
20 2a Damodar Sub Basin 42050.58
21 2a Gandak and others Sub Basin 56573.83
22 2a Ghaghara Confluence to Gomti confluence Sub Basin 26403.75
23 2a Ghaghara Sub Basin 58728.53
24 2a Gomti Sub Basin 29618.82
25 2a Kali Sindh and others up to Confluence with Parbati Sub Basin 48511.99
26 2a Ramganga Sub Basin 30811.48
27 2a Sone Sub Basin 64789.32
28 2a Tons Sub Basin 16857.08
29 2a Upstream of Gomti confluece to Muzaffarnagar Sub Basin 29381.01
30 2a Yamuna Lower Sub Basin 125084.38
31 2a Yamuna Middle Sub Basin 34830.46
32 2a Yamuna Upper Sub Basin 35584.95
33 2a Kosi Sub Basin 19037.96
34 2b Brahmaputra Lower Sub Basin 87381.27
35 2b Brahmaputra Upper Sub Basin 99040.33
36 2c Barak Sub Basin 27615.78
37 2c Kynchiang and other south flowing rivers Sub Basin 10310.93
38 2c Naoch chara and others Sub Basin 7695.69
39 3 Godavari Lower Sub Basin 43821.19
40 3 Godavari Middle Sub Basin 36289.01
41 3 Godavari Upper Sub Basin 21469.99
42 3 Indravati Sub Basin 38974.42
43 3 Manjra Sub Basin 29485.75
44 3 Pranhita and others Sub Basin 36108.58
45 3 Wardha Sub Basin 46237.65
46 3 Weinganga Sub Basin 49677.35
47 4 Bhima Lower Sub Basin 23649.56
48 4 Bhima Upper Sub Basin 44807.62
49 4 Krishna Lower Sub Basin 39438.74
50 4 Krishna Middle Sub Basin 22286.59
51 4 Krishna Upper Sub Basin 54498.4
52 4 Tungabhadra Lower Sub Basin 41542.29
53 4 Tungabhadra Upper Sub Basin 28520.15
54 5 Cauvery Lower Sub Basin 17378.51
55 5 Cauvery Middle Sub Basin 57284.09
56 5 Cauvery Upper Sub Basin 10961.84
57 6 Subarnarekha Sub Basin 25792.16
58 7 Baitarni Sub Basin 14244.22
59 7 Brahmani Sub Basin 37649.47
60 8 Mahanadi Lower Sub Basin 57987.1
61 8 Mahanadi Middle Sub Basin 51877.65
62 8 Mahanadi Upper Sub Basin 29794.4
63 9 Pennar Lower Sub Basin 17992.3
64 9 Pennar Upper Sub Basin 36251.13
65 10 Mahi Lower Sub Basin 13379.26
66 10 Mahi Upper Sub Basin 24957.54
67 11 Sabarmati Lower Sub Basin 10825.49
68 11 Sabarmati Upper Sub Basin 19853.1
69 12 Narmada Lower Sub Basin 8897.8
70 12 Narmada Middle Sub Basin 40580.48
71 12 Narmada Upper Sub Basin 43192.22
72 13 Tapi Lower Sub Basin 4110.13
73 13 Tapi Middle Sub Basin 31759.69
74 13 Tapi Upper Sub Basin 28053.09
75 14 Vasishti and others Sub Basin 27477.72
76 14 Netravati and others Sub Basin 18759.52
77 14 Periyar and others Sub Basin 21893.97
78 14 Varrar and others Sub Basin 14163.19
79 14 Bhatsol and others Sub Basin 29349.48
80 15 Nagvati and other Sub Basin 24375.66
81 15 Vamsadhara and other Sub Basin 21867.4
82 16 East flowing rivers between krishna and Godavari Sub Basin 10345.11
83 17 East flowing rivers between krishna and Pennar Sub Basin 23335.82
84 18 Palar and other Sub Basin 35385.35
85 18 Ponnaiyar and other Sub Basin 28260.85
86 19 Pamba and others Sub Basin 18302.72
87 19 Vaippar and others Sub Basin 20343.39
88 20 Bhadar and other west flowing rivers Sub Basin 17936.32
89 20 Drainage of Ran Sub Basin 21035.42
90 20 Luni Lower Sub Basin 19735.35
91 20 Luni Upper Sub Basin 79886.74
92 20 Saraswati Sub Basin 27674.11
93 20 Shetranjuli and other east flowing rivers Sub Basin 18173.13
94 21 Karnaphuli and Others Sub Basin 3776.84
95 21 Muhury and Others Sub Basin 1676.39
96 22 Imphal and others Sub Basin 16754.9
97 22 Mangpui Lui and others Sub Basin 7976.18
98 23 Shaksgam Sub Basin 6523.5
99 23 Sulmar Sub Basin 22715.52
100 24 Drainage Area of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Sub Basin 7577.85
101 25 Drainage Area of Lakshadweep Islands Sub Basin 669.81
102 Island Sub Basin 371.4

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 (
1 01 Indus (Up to border) 321289
2 2A Ganga 861452
3 2B Brahmaputra 194413
4 2C Barak and others 41723
5 03 Godavari 312812
6 04 Krishna 258948
7 05 Cauvery 81155
8 06 Subernarekha 29196
9 07 Brahmani and Baitarni 51822
10 08 Mahanadi 141589
1 09 Pennar 55213
12 10 Mahi 34842
13 11 Sabarmati 21674
14 12 Narmada 98796
15 13 Tapi 65145
16 14 West flowing rivers from Tapi to Tadri 55940
17 15 West flowing rivers from Tadri to Kanyakumari 56177
18 16 East flowing rivers between Mahanadi and Pennar 86643
19 17 East flowing rivers between Pennar and Kanyakumari 100139
20 18 West flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni 321851
21 19 Area of inland drainage in Rajasthan
22 20 Minor rivers draining into Myanmar & Bangladesh 36202


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(
1 1 Indus 321289
2 2 Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna 1101242
3 3 Subarnarekha 29196
4 4 Brahmani-Baitarani 51822
5 5 Mahanadi 141589
6 6 Godavari 312812
7 7 Krishna 258948
8 8 Pennar 55213
9 9 Cauvery 87900
10 10 Tapi 65145
11 11 Narmada 98796
12 12 Mahi 34842
13 13 Sabarmati 21674
14 14 West Flowing Rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra Including Luni 334390
15 15 West Flowing Rivers South of Tapi 113057
16 16 East Flowing Rivers between Mahanadi and Godavari 49570
17 17 East Flowing Rivers between Godavari and Krishna 12289
18 18 East Flowing Rivers between Krishna and Pennar 24649
19 19 East Flowing Rivers between Pennar and Cauvery 64751
20 20 East Flowing Rivers South of Cauvery 35026
21 21 Area of North Ladakh Not draining into Indus 28478
22 22 Rivers draining into Bangladesh 10031
23 23 Rivers draining into Myanmar 26271
24 24 Drainage Area of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep 8280


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(
1 1A Sutlej 53108
2 1B Beas 20187
3 1C Ravi 13626
4 1D Chenab 29945
5 1E Jhelum 29513
6 1F Indus 138613
7 1G Ephemeral incipient drainge not flowing into Indus 28676
8 2A Lower Ganges 296614
9 2B Upper Ganges above confluence with Ghaghra 207557
10 2C Yamuna 212829
11 2D Chambal 136593
12 3A Brahmaputra right bank upto Lohit confluence 105416
13 3B Left bank ok of Brahmaputra 107133
14 3C Brahmaputra tributaries that flow into Bangladesh 56093
15 3D Eastern parts Manipur and Mizoram draining into Chidwim(Burma) 28320
16 4A Cape Comorin to Cauvery 37564
17 4B Cauvery 84654
18 4C Between Cauvey and Krishna 143845
19 4D Krishna 271444
20 4E Godavari 315076
21 4F Between Godavari and Mahanadi 53949
22 4G Mahanadi 141875
23 4H Mahanadi to Ganges water resource region 84326
24 5A Cape Comorin to Sheravati 54771
25 5B Sharavati to Tapi 58146
26 5C Tapi 66652
27 5D Narmada 95879
28 5E Mahi 39712
29 5F Sabarmati 26967
30 5G Southern Kathiawar 39322
31 5H Draining into gulf of Kutch 58257
32 6A Luni and other drainage into Rann of Kutch 92518
33 6B From luni to Jaisalmer 58489
34 6C Jaisalmer and Bikaner 69697
35 6D Rohtali to Ambala on east and Ganganagar in west 52582


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(
1 1 Barmer 58163
2 2 Beas 19562
3 3 Bhadar 36502
4 4 Bhatsol 54878
5 5 Brahmani 79815
6 6 Brahmputra 186873
7 7 Cauvery 85457
8 8 Chambal 130665
9 9 Chenab 29937
10 10 Churu 66316
11 11 Ghaghar 51438
12 12 Godavari 301888
13 13 Imphal 24476
14 14 Indus 137655
15 15 Jhelum 29231
16 16 Krishna 265505
17 17 Kutch 52880
18 18 Lower Ganga 249661
19 19 Luni 87393
20 20 Mahanadi 133665
21 21 Mahi 3870
22 22 Narmada 93398
23 23 Pennar 139463
24 24 Periyar 54580
25 25 Qura-qush 29683
26 26 Ravi 13230
27 27 Sabarmati 24995
28 28 Surma 50278
29 29 Sutlej 54458
30 30 Tapi 63347
31 31 Upper Ganga 231127
32 32 Vaippar 38565
33 33 Vamsadhara 50792
34 34 Yamuna 203641


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.

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
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