Valuing the river


In the history and traditions of India, the river plays an overwhelming role - shaping her economy and the culture. All old civilisations were cradled in river valleys. But the importance of a river in a tropical country with a nine-month dry period led to the symbolism of river as the life-giver, the concept of Ganga - the mother and provider. Lately, modern industrialism, population expansion and over-exploitation have caused serious degradation to the country's river systems. Whereas development has brought in benefits, it has also imposed environmental costs, normally not entered in the books of cost-benefit. The river for the Indian society has been extremely valuable; it remains so and will remain more so in the future, for development and sustainability of the civilisation. River provides both use values and non-use values. The use value is derived out of direct uses like in irrigation, drinking water usage or power generation. The indirect uses are from maintenance of ground water, deposition of silts during flooding and maintaining the fertility of the soil, moderation of the microclimate etc. The non-use value is derived in form of its scenic significance and the religious and cultural importance to the Indian civilisation. The intention in this paper is to provide a theoretical and methodological foundation to valuing the river in all its tangibles and intangibles. This is likely to help in evaluating projects as well as in decision making about social investments in their preservation, conservation and wherever necessary, in re-generation of the river systems.

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mohapatra, AC

Published Date

  • December 1, 1999

Volume / Issue

  • 21 /

Start / End Page

  • 17 - 22

Citation Source

  • Scopus