India ranks third globally with 5264 large dams in operation and about 437 are under construction. In addition, there are several thousand smaller dams. These dams are vital for ensuring the water security of the Country; and these also constitute a major responsibility in terms of asset management and safety. In April 2012, Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation through Central Water Commission with an objective to improve safety and operational performance of selected dams, along with institutional strengthening with system wide management approach, embarked upon the six year Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) with World Bank assistance at a cost of INR 2100 Crore (US$M 437.5).
The project originally envisaged the rehabilitation and improvement of 223 dam projects in four states namely, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu. Later Karnataka, Uttarakhand (UJVNL) and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) joined the DRIP, and number of dams in DRIP portfolio increased to 257; due to the addition/deletion of few dams during implementation by partner agencies, presently 198 dam projects are being rehabilitated.
Government of India in September 2018, approved the revised cost of DRIP amounting to INR 3466 Crores (US$M 533) along with two years extension with revised scheduled closure June 2020. Union Cabinet in June 2018 approved proposal for enactment of Dam Safety Bill, 2018.
DRIP has been successful in bringing together dam owners, engineers, scientists, academicians, industries, World Bank as well as renowned dam safety professionals. In addition to rehabilitation of dams, other important activities include Design Flood Review, publication of important Guidelines as well as Manuals dealing with Dam Safety Management, preparation of O&M Manuals, Emergency Action Plans, development of web based asset management tool i.e. Dam Health And Rehabilitation Monitoring Application (DHARMA), Seismic Hazard Mapping along with development of Seismic Hazard Assessment Information System (SHAISYS), Risk Assessment of few selected dams, organisation of Dam Safety Conferences, national and international training programmes, technical exposure visits etc.
Under DRIP, capacity building in dam safety area of eleven academic institutions is being done. Also, capacity building of two Central Agencies i.e. Central Soil and Material Research Station (CSMRS) as well as Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS), is also one of the activities. Collaboration with few renowned international agencies for capacity building includes Deltares Netherlands, Bureau of Reclamation USA, Japan Water Agency Japan, Entura Hydro Tasmania Australia. Also, few global dam safety experts also helping CWC to achieve the objectives of DRIP. The overall supervision and coordination has been entrusted to Central Water Commission, and is being assisted by Egis Eau, Engineering and Management Consultant.