This study concerns with the development of a new cation exchanger (SDGPMASPCOOH) carrying spacer (SP) group [CONH(CH(2))(2)NHCO(CH(2))(2)] and carboxylate functional group at the chain end. The preparation process was carried out through graft copolymerization of methacrylic acid onto sawdust, SD (a lignocellulosic residue) using ceric ammonium nitrate as an initiator. The poly(methacrylic acid) grafted SD (SDGPMA) was subsequently treated with thionyl chloride followed by ethylenediamine (transmidation) and succinic anhydride (carboxyfunctionalization) treatments. Infrared spectroscopy and potentiometric titrations were used to confirm graft copolymer formation and carboxylate functionalization. The effectiveness of the SDGPMASPCOOH in removing Cr(III) from water and wastewater was evaluated by the batch technique. The influence of different experimental parameters such as solution pH, contact time, absorbent dose, Cr(III) concentration and temperature on removal process was evaluated. The maximum Cr(III) removal was observed at the initial pH of 7.0. The Cr(III) was removed by SDGPMASPCOOH up to 99.3 and 92.6% from an initial concentration of 10 and 25 mg/L, respectively, at pH 7.0. Equilibrium time was reached within 4 h. Kinetic data were analyzed using the pseudo-first-order, pseudo-second-order and Elovich equations. The data fitted very well to the pseudo-second-order rate expression. The Langmuir, Freundlich and Temkin equations were applied to the experimental isotherm data and the Langmuir model was found to be in better correlation with the experimental data. The monolayer adsorption capacity for Cr(III) removal was found to be 36.63 mg/g. The adsorption efficiency towards Cr(III) removal was tested using simulated tannery wastewater. The adsorbed Cr(III) on SDGPMASPCOOH can be recovered by treating with 0.1 M HCl. Four adsorption/desorption cycles were performed without significant decrease in removal capacity. The results showed that SDGPMASPCOOH developed in this study exhibited considerable adsorption potential for application in removal of Cr(III) from water and wastewaters.