Using law to combat water pollution

Contamination of surface and ground water sources due to the discharge of polluting substances has been a long standing problem in most parts of the country. In 1974, a legislation was specifically enacted to regulate and prohibit water pollution. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 established Pollution Control Boards at the Central and State levels and bestowed them with powers to prevent and control water pollution. However, the design and application of this law was largely limited to the contamination of surface water like rivers, creeks, ponds or streams.

Aside from the Water Act, there are also other laws which can be used to remediate water pollution. These include, environmental clearance conditions under the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006, public nuisance in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the licensing process under the Factories Act, 1948. Along with these, there are also certain state level legislations such as the Orissa River Pollution Prevention Act, 1953 and the Karnataka Ground Water (Regulation and Control of Development and Management) Act 2011.

How these laws can be used to find administrative remedies to combat water pollution has been put together in the form of two Information, Education and Communication materials by the Centre for Policy Research-Namati Environmental Justice Program, with support from the Duleep Mathai Nature Conservation Trust.

The materials aim to give the reader an understanding of:

  • the existing legislations;
  • the permissions needed for different activities;
  • the institutions incharge of implementation;
  • how to collect evidence;
  • how to frame complaints;
  • legal remedies available.

The materials are available in English, Gujarati, Kannada, Odiya and Hindi, and can be accessed below:


thank you for sharing this @debayangupta. We look forward to the feedback from members on of the network on this. Please also share your ideas and experience on how you have managed to break down law in a way affected communities could use it to secure environment justice.



Thanks, Debayan. I suggest that you upload these excellent materials in the resource library. @michaelotto and @tobiaseigen can provide instructions, if needed.


Thank you so much @marlonmanuel :slight_smile: They are being uploaded on the Resource Library. The one on Groundwater Abstraction has already been upoloaded and can be accessed here: Regulation for Groundwater Abstraction


Thanks for the information and resources Debayan. It is timely for me to understand these things for my work mainly on River Cauvery basin, but also to shape an upcoming presentation for Nepal National Rivers Summit.

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Hi Steve,

Am glad the resources were useful for your work! Let me know if you need any more information. Would be happy to help!

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