Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reduced flow signals death of the Ganga River

Times of India: A study of American scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) suggests that there is a reduced flow in many rivers of the world and it is associated with climate change. The study is also applied on the Ganga, the lifeline of millions of people living in its plane. Not only NCAR scientists, but the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the global conservation organisation, also reports that the Ganga has been enlisted on the list of 10 most endangered rivers of the world.

…"The increasing sand bed, which defines the ecosystem, is an indicator of the gloomy future of the Ganga," predicted Uday Kant Chowdhary, a professor of civil engineering and coordinator of Ganga Research Laboratory, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University (BHU). According to him, sand bed in the Ganga is increasing five-six metre in width and 8-10cm in height annually. "It means the width of the river is reducing in proportion to the increase in sand bed," Chowdhary told TOI.

According to him, factors like increasing pollution, over-extraction of water and reduced flow of the Ganga are causing slow death to the river. The unscientific extraction of river water through Bhimgauda Barrage to Western Ganga Canal is harming the river badly. The capacity of this barrage has been enhanced from 6,000 cubic feet per second to 9,000 cubic-ft per second, he said adding: "People in Delhi are drinking Gangajal (Ganga water) while the natives of the cities like Varanasi are using polluted water."

He said since the holy water was diverted towards Delhi in huge quantity, the velocity of the stream was reduced drastically on the Gangetic Plane. "The loss in quantity ultimately causes loss to the quality of the river water," he said. Besides, due to the increase in total dissolved solid (TDS) in water stored in reservoirs, the water loses its dissolved oxygen (DO) retention capacity. "The quantity and quality are interrelated," he pointed out….

Early morning on the Ganges, shot by John Hill, Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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