Bengal is proverbially land of rivers. The vast and intricate mesh of tributaries and distributaries in Bengal are characterised by some unique hydrological and morphological features which give rise to certain ecological processes typical in the region. Increasing structural interventions in the fragile region has greatly disturbed the natural hydro-geomorphological processes leading to alarming consequences like devastating floods, large-scale erosion, decay of channels and lowering of the groundwater table. An attempt is made in this deliberation to conscientiously analyse the limitations of traditional hydrological engineering approach to water management. The speaker argues that human and ecological security could only be brought about by understanding the close, interactive linkages between institutional and ecological issues in space and how this knowledge can help generate constructive alternatives to meet the challenges of development and utilization of the water resources in a sustainable manner.