Upper Yamuna Waterkeeper


Kesar Singh
[email protected]


The Upper Yamuna River in India, a major tributary of Ganges, originates from the Yamunotri glacier in the lower Himalayas. The river bank is magnificently dominated by a wide panorama of forested mountains and is home to the 19th-century temple of Yamunotri, one of India’s four sacred pilgrimage centers. The Upper Yamuna watershed is home to many high altitude bird species like snow cock, snow partridge, and the Monal pheasant, and it is the frontier of the Indian elephant. Now, large-scale construction of dams in Upper Yamuna River Basin is threatening the cultural and environmental identity of India. With current and planned construction, more than 50 kilometers of roaring Yamuna will be redirected through tunnels and imprisoned behind barrages and reservoirs. Meanwhile, due to climate change and rapid glacier melt, the gradual disappearance of natural streams already threatens the health of the Yamuna. Unscientific road cutting, solid and liquid waste dumping, and unsustainable fishing practices are already detrimental to fish and aquatic life, including the endangered golden mahseer.

Mr. Kesar Singh is the Upper Yamuna Waterkeeper. He is the former Lower Yamuna Riverkeeper and is married to Mid Upper Yamuna Riverkeeper Minakshi Arora. Kesar is a known figure in the environmental movement and water sector in India. He has successfully executed advocacy and public awareness campaigns to stop harmful pollution and development, and participated in a case won at the Uttar Pradesh High Court to stop developmental activity from taking place within 500 kilometers (310 miles) of both sides of the Lower Yamuna River bank. He has contributed his advice to the Uttar Pradesh Government and has convinced the Local Administrative District Magistrate to give priority on water conservation. Being a journalist by profession, he writes on water issues to educate the general public and government. He was awarded the Best Journalist Award for science journalism by Bioved Research Society, Allahabad in 2010. Upper Yamuna Waterkeeper will advocate for compliance with environmental laws in the fight against threats from hydroelectric corporations, mining companies, and any other entity or person threatening the river.


H.No-02, TaraiGhati, Green Valley Enclave, Phase-3, Danda Lakhond, Near IT Park Sahastradhara Road
Dehradun, Uttarakhand 248001