School of Law, Gender and Media & Law, Environment and Development Centre

Fostering ecocentric community-led river restoration and conservation in the Ganga Basin (2022–2023)


This BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant interrogates the concept of "river rights" to examine the contribution of ecocentric rights for river restoration and conservation. It analyses the existing legal bases for community participation and leadership in river conservation and management and examines the need for local democratic decision-making based on the subsidiarity principle.

Currently, "river rejuvenation" policies are state-led and trapped between seeing river as commons and rivers as a state owned resource. These contradictory paradigms reflect different worldviews and understandings of water that are at the roots of completely separate measures to protect rivers.

In a context where state intervention has been only partly successful, this project explores the extent to which interventions led by communities dependent on the river for their livelihoods and democratically elected local bodies can foster more effective protection of rivers, and ensure that all people relying on the river can lead in river restoration while ensuring their livelihoods.