The Mundra Port on the Gulf of Kutch in western India is one of India's largest port projects today. This article takes the port-circulated narrative of the coast being a natural harbor as its starting point, to show how fresh water was central to official maritime projects until the early postcolonial period. Conserving mangroves and freshwater creeks was not antithetical to maritime ports but part of the same administrative project. Political and infrastructural shifts from the river to the tide naturalized the erasure of coastal fresh water and transformed the coast into a singularly tidal space, creating the conditions for the development of a large-scale, high-technology shipping port.

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