Aviral Dhara

Aviral Dhara

The Ganga River Network was adopted in GRBMP as the primary indicator of health of National River Ganga Basin (NRGB), and human-technologyenvironment interactions were factored in to assess the basin's resource dynamics. While NRGB's present water status is poorly understood, a board hydrological review indicates declining water availability in the river network due to large-scale water withdrawals from the basin's rivers and aquifers over many decades. Besides, the river network is extensively intercepted by dams and barrages into disjointed channel stretches with highly altered water, sediment and nutrient flows, thereby affecting river morphology and ecology. The depleted water availability of NRGB is borne out by hydrological modelling. The present-day sediment loads are also found to be much less than previous estimates. The main recommendations are: (1) Determination of NRGB's hydrological status more accurately and in greater detail. (2) Preparation of water resources plan for NRGB with emphasis on wetlands, forests and distributed groundwater and surface water storages rather than large impounded reservoirs. (3) Increase in water use efficiency through (i) realistic pricing of fresh water, (ii) incentives, technical assistance, and allocation of water rights and entitlements to consumers, and (iii) reuse and recycling of water. (4) Governmental policy shift to bring NRGB's water recources under natural resource management, with emphasis on resource preservation, stakeholder control, expert guidance and regulation. (5) Ensuring longitudinal river connectivity and environmental flows (of water, sediments and other natural constituents of flow) at dams, barrages and other manmade interferences, and adoption of new criteria for approving such projects. (6) Control of water withdrawals in water-depleting regions. (7) Assessment and monitoring of sediment resources of the network including assessment of quantity, quality and nutrient value of sediments trapped behind dams. (8) Research to determine the ecological limits, thresholds and interconnections of NRGB's water resources, and river flow health asessments within the framework of ecohydrology.

Source: Gangapedia