According to the The Texas Living Waters Project, the term "Environmental Flows" is used to describe the quantity, quality and timing of water that is necessary to sustain the fish and wildlife of a river, wetland or coastal zone. They state that: "If too much water is taken from a river, or if the river’s natural flow is altered too dramatically through human-imposed construction, its natural flow patterns can be crippled. The rippling impacts of irresponsible river diversions are widespread and hard-felt".
In 2016, India has revived plans to redraw 30 river routes across the country in order to channel water away from the north and west of the country to drought-prone areas in the east and south. Major rivers to be rerouted include the Ganges and Brahmaputra and canals would link the Ken and Batwa rivers in central India and Damanganga-Pinjal in the west. 330 million Indians were affected by drought in 2016. State governments used emergency measures to deliver water by train in the western state of Maharashtra; in other areas, schools and hospitals were forced to close, and hundreds of families were forced to migrate from villages to nearby cities where water is more easily accessible.The project will cost an estimated 20tn rupees (£207bn) and take 20 to 30 years to complete. Environmental activists warn that the project could be catastrophic for India’s river-dependent ecology and communities because a river not just as a source of water, but as an entire ecosystem. The project could also deprive Bangladesh of water.