This report attempts to introduce a prototype scoring system for the ecological status of rivers in India and illustrate the same through its applications in several major river basins. This system forms part of the desktop environmental flow assessment and is based on a number of indicators reflecting both the ecological condition and sensitivity of a river. The indicators include: presence of rare and unique aquatic biota; diversity of aquatic habitats; presence of protected areas; sensitivity of aquatic ecosystems to flow reduction; percentage of a watershed and floodplain remaining under natural vegetation cover types; percentage of exotic aquatic biota; overall richness of aquatic species; degree of flow regulation and fragmentation; human population density in a river basin; and the overall quality of water.
Smakhtin, V.; Arunachalam, M.; Behera, S.; Chatterjee, A.; Das, S.; Gautam, P.; Joshi,G.D.; Sivaramakrishnan, K.G.; Unni, K.S. Developing procedures forassessment of ecological status of Indian river basins in the context of environmentalwater requirements. International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka 40 pp. ISBN 978-92-9090-668-1 (IWMI Research Report 114)