The "Rally for the Valley" to stop dam construction on the Narmada in 1999.

Narmada River

A massive engineering scheme that would bring hundreds of dams to the Narmada River and have far-reaching impacts on millions of poor farmers is today one of the most controversial development issues in contemporary India, one that symbolizes the clash over who benefits from development and who pays for it. When construction started in 1988, it gave rise to one of the world's largest social movements, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save the Narmada Movement).

The Government of India plans to build 30 large, 135 medium and 3,000 small dams and related water infrastructure to harness the waters of the Narmada and its tributaries. The proponents of these plans claim that the dams would provide large amounts of water and electricity. However, the construction of a number of hydropower and irrigation projects on the Narmada have already had major social and environmental costs and yielded far fewer benefits than expected.

Water and energy can be provided to the people of the Narmada Valley, to Gujarat, Rajastan and other regions through alternative technologies. International Rivers supports efforts to develop integrated rainwater harvesting and other sustainable alternatives to increase access to freshwater while improving livelihoods and preserving ecosystems.