The centrally sponsored National River Conservation Plan (NRCP) currently covers 38 rivers in 178 towns spread over 20 States. Sewage treatment capacity of about 4064 million liters per day (mld.) has been made and an expenditure of Rs.4085 crore has been incurred so far under this Plan. River conservation activities such as the construction of civic infrastructure for sewage management and disposal are also being implemented under other central schemes, such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission, Urban Infrastructure Development Scheme for Small and Medium Towns, as well as under state schemes. Saving up of rivers involves collective efforts of the Central and State Governments. The Central Government is supplementing the efforts of the State Governments in river conservation.
Based on independent monitoring undertaken by reputed institutions on some of the major rivers cover NRCP, the water quality in terms of BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) values has enhanced at most locations as compared to water quality before taking up of pollution abatement schemes.
The Central Government, in February 2009, has established the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) as an empowered planning, financial, monitoring and coordinating authority to ensure effective abatement of pollution and conservation of the river Ganga by adopting a holistic approach with the river basin as the unit of planning.
Discharge of untreated wastewater constitutes the maximum portion of the pollution load for the rivers. Drawing water for irrigation, drinking, industrial use, power etc. are other aspects which compound the challenge to maintain flow in the rivers and clean the rivers. Interception and diversion of sewage and establishing of Sewage Treatment Plants have therefore been among the main components of pollution abatement schemes under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP).