Ganges - Wikipedia
the sacred Ganges meets the Yamuna and a third, mythical river called . of the University of Exeter in the U.K. “It can alter your perception. Triveni Sangam: Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati is that the Saraswati once flowed through the north Indian city of Allahabad, meeting there with two other rivers, the Ganges and the Jamuna. Saraswati from Vedas to our altar. The Ganges or Ganga is a trans-boundary river of the Indian subcontinent which flows through . The Ganges joins the Yamuna at the Triveni Sangam at Prayagraj, a holy confluence in Hinduism. At their Now flowing east, the river meets the Tamsa River (also called Tons), which flows north from the Kaimur Range and.
The Hooghly River is formed by the confluence of the Bhagirathi River and Jalangi River at Nabadwipand Hooghly has a number of tributaries of its own. After entering Bangladeshthe main branch of the Ganges is known as the Padma. The Padma is joined by the Jamuna Riverthe largest distributary of the Brahmaputra. Further downstream, the Padma joins the Meghna Riverthe second largest distributary of the Brahmaputra, and takes on the Meghna's name as it enters the Meghna Estuary, which empties into the Bay of Bengal.
One result is different ways to determine the river's length, its dischargeand the size of its drainage basin. The river Ganges at Kolkatawith Howrah Bridge in the background Lower Ganges in Lakshmipur, Bangladesh The name Ganges is used for the river between the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers, in the Himalayas, and the India-Bangladesh border, near the Farakka Barrage and the first bifurcation of the river. A significant portion of the discharge from the Ganges comes from the Himalayan mountain system.
This section of the Himalaya contains 9 of the 14 highest peaks in the world over 8,m in height, including Mount Everest which is the high point of the Ganges basin. Frequently, discharge is described for the mouth of the Meghna River, thus combining the Ganges with the Brahmaputra and Meghna. It is one of the key sites for measuring streamflow and discharge on the lower Ganges.
Consequently, streamflow in the Ganges is highly seasonal. The average dry season to monsoon discharge ratio is about 1: This strong seasonal variation underlies many problems of land and water resource development in the region.
Bangladesh, in particular, frequently experiences drought during the dry season and regularly suffers extreme floods during the monsoon. The two largest rivers, the Ganges and Brahmaputraboth split into distributary channels, the largest of which merge with other large rivers before themselves joining.
This current channel pattern was not always the case. Over time the rivers in Ganges Delta have changed coursesometimes altering the network of channels in significant ways. Before the late 12th century the Bhagirathi-Hooghly distributary was the main channel of the Ganges and the Padma was only a minor spill-channel. The main flow of the river reached the sea not via the modern Hooghly River but rather by the Adi Ganga. Climate change may alter the distribution and quality of GBM river basin water resources.
Some of the impacts include occurrence of more intense rains, changed spatial and temporal distribution of rainfall, higher runoff generation, low groundwater recharge, melting of glaciers, changes in evaporative demands and water use patterns in agricultural, municipal and industrial sectors, etc. These impacts lead to severe influences on agricultural production and food security, ecology, biodiversity, river flows, floods, and droughts, water security, human and animal health and sea level rise.
Bihar is the worst flood hit state in India. Hardly a year passes without severe flood damage. With the onset of the monsoon, rivers come down from the Himalayan hills in Nepal with enormous force, causing rivers like Ghagra, Kamla, Kosi, Bagmati, Gandak, Ganges, Falgu, Karmanasa, Mahanadi to rise above the danger level. This results in severe floods in North Bihar.
Bangladesh is now widely recognized as one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. Increased variability of temperatures and rainfall and increased occurrence of natural hazards are expected to affect the availability of both surface water and groundwater. Investments are needed to ensure a continuous and sustainable access to water resources. Water-related development in the basin Use of water of the Ganges river for irrigation, either by flooding or by means of gravity canals, has been common since ancient times.
Irrigation was highly developed during the period of Muslim rule from the twelfth century onward, and the Mughal kings later constructed several canals.Triveni Sangam - the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, Aerial view
The canal system was further extended by the British. The cultivated area of the Ganges valley in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar benefits from a system of irrigation canals that has increased the production of cash crops such as sugarcane, cotton and oilseeds. Higher lands at the northern edge of the plain are difficult to irrigate by canal, and groundwater must be pumped to the surface.
Large areas in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are also irrigated by channels running from hand-dug wells. The Ganges-Kabadak scheme in Bangladesh, largely an irrigation plan, covers parts of the districts of Khulna, Jessore, and Kusthia that lie within the part of the delta where silt and overgrowth choke the slowly flowing rivers.
The system of irrigation is based on both gravity canals and electrically powered lifting devices Ahmad and Lodrick. Total area equipped for irrigation in the GBM river basin is estimated to be around Area actually irrigated is estimated at The equipped areas irrigated by groundwater and by surface water account for 67 and 33 percent respectively.
Of the 29 million ha equipped for irrigation in India inside the GBM river basin, 67 percent is irrigated by groundwater and 33 percent by surface water.
The development of sprinkler and localized irrigation in recent years has been considerable, mainly the result of the pressing demand for water from other sectors, a fact that has encouraged government and farmers to find water-saving techniques for agriculture.
The Government has offered subsidies to adopt drip systems. Drip-irrigated crops are mainly orchards grapes, bananas, pomegranates and mangoes.
Localized irrigation is also used for sugarcane and coconut. Investment in drainage has been widely neglected in India, and where such investment has been made, poor maintenance has caused many drainage systems to become silted up. On the eastern Ganges plain, investment in surface drainage would probably have a greater productive impact, and at a lower cost, than investment in surface irrigation.
Seasonal canals accounted for 58 percent of the area irrigated by surface water, permanent canals for 39 percent, and ponds for 3 percent. Most irrigation systems use surface irrigation basin, furrow. Some areas in the hills and mountains use sprinkler irrigation, but no figures are available.
In Bhutan, which is entirely located in the Brahmaputra river basin, most rivers are deeply incised into the landscape and hence the possibilities for run-of-the-river irrigation are limited. The irrigated areas are called wetland in the local classification. This means that they have been terraced for basin irrigation. In summer, almost all wetland is under rice cultivation. Double cropping of rice is limited to the lowest altitudes where the winter temperatures still allow its cultivation.
Where rice cannot be cultivated, wheat, buckwheat, mustard and potatoes are cropped on wetland areas during the winter season. The wetland areas can be cropped during the winter season, though watering of these winter crops is generally limited to one irrigation at the time of land preparation. To a limited extent, farmers have started to irrigate horticultural crops, including orchards, using hose pipes and surface irrigation methods.
In Bangladesh, though the country has abundant surface water resources, particularly in the monsoon season, its flat deltaic topography and the instability of major rivers make large gravity irrigation systems both technically difficult and costly.
On the other hand, during the dry season irrigation using surface water has become difficult or practically impossible owing to limited availability. Therefore the use of groundwater for irrigation has become increasingly important. In the national irrigation coverage was 5. Inthe total area of wetlands throughout the country was 3. Thus, total water managed area is estimated at 6. Surface irrigation is the only technology used in large irrigation schemes.
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Intotal harvested irrigated cropped area in Bangladesh was estimated at 5. Because of the low-lying topography, each year about 18 percent of Bangladesh is inundated during the monsoon season.
During severe floods the affected area may exceed 37 percent of the country and in extreme events like the flood about 66 percent of the country is inundated. Floods are caused by overspills from main rivers and their distributaries, overspills from tributaries and by direct rainfall.
Flood control works can reduce floods from the first two, but only drainage can have any effect on the latter two. The basic benefit of drainage is water control — supply as well as removal. The particular benefits can be: Ina master plan was initiated for water resources development. This envisaged the development of 58 flood protection and drainage projects covering about 5. Three types of polders were envisaged: Flood control and drainage projects have accounted for about half of the funds spent on water development projects since Large-scale projects such as: Medium-scale projects such as: Total water withdrawal in the GBM river basin is estimated at Irrigation withdrawal accounts for In Bangladesh, in total water withdrawal within the GBM river basin was estimated at about Approximately 79 percent of the total water withdrawal comes from groundwater and 21 percent, from surface water.
In Nepal, in total water withdrawal was estimated at 9. In Bhutan, in total water withdrawal was estimated at 0. This represents a mere 0. About 94 percent of this water withdrawn 0. Total water withdrawal of China inside the GBM river basin has been estimated around 0. In Nepal, total dam capacity is estimated at 85 million m3, although potential for at least km3 exists.
Hydroelectricity accounted for more than 96 percent of total electricity generation. The two main diversion barrages are the ones of Kosi and Gandaki reservoirs. In Bhutan, several large dams were constructed for hydroelectric power generation. The m high Punatsangchu dam on Puna Tsang river downstream of Wangduephodrang town is under construction. With the commissioning of the first two units of the Chhukha hydroprojects inand the other two units inthe electricity generation capacity has substantially increased and Bhutan became a significant exporter of electricity to India.
The expansion of hydropower production capacity in Bhutan has had an enormous impact as by the end of the Ninth Five-Year Planthe energy sector contributed to around a quarter of GDP.
With a further doubling of capacity envisaged by the end of the Eleventh Five-Year Planthe energy sector will probably contribute close to half of GDP. The following hydroelectric projects have been identified for future development: The project comprises two dams.
India controls the flow of the Ganges river with a dam completed in at Farakka, 18 km from the border with Bangladesh. The Farakka barrage is a not very high diversion structure and is not classified as a large dam. During the dry season it diverts water from the Ganges river to the Hooghly river through the Hooghly Canal. This water is used for irrigation and the flow of the river has been greatly diminished.
India is endowed with rich hydropower potential, ranking fifth in the world. The total water storage capacity constructed in the country is estimated at km3. Out of the seven larger dams with a reservoir capacity exceeding 8 km3 in India, only the Rihand dam is in the GBM river basin, on the Rihand river No large dams exist in the GBM river basin in Bangladesh.
Three barrages have been constructed across the Teesta, Tangon and Manu rivers, which are used as diversion structures for irrigation purposes only. Transboundary water issues The problems in the GBM river basin are typical of those related to conflicting interests of upstream and downstream riparians. India has used its position of power in the basin to insist on a series of bilateral treaties rather than engaging in a multilateral negotiation World Bank, Inan agreement between the British Government and the State of Jind was signed to regulate the supply of water for irrigation from the Western Jumna Canal.
Inan agreement between India and Bhutan took place regarding the Chhukha Hydroelectric Project. India financed the project with a 60 percent grant and 40 percent low-interest loan. A joint commission for the exploitation of the Kosi river was set up between Nepal and India in andand another for the exploitation of the Gandak river in The Statute of JRC was accordingly signed in November to maintain liaison between the participating countries to ensure the most effective joint efforts in maximizing the benefits from common river systems to both the countries.
Subsequently, the Government of Bangladesh established the Joint Rivers Commission Bangladesh JRCB to address the issues relating to the sharing and managing of the water from transboundary rivers with the co-riparian countries. Negotiating with the co-riparian countries on development, management and sharing of water resources of common rivers.
Working jointly with Nepal for harnessing common water resources and mitigating floods and flood damages and conducting research and technical studies. Cooperating with China in the field of water resources, enhancing the flood forecasting capability through exchange of flood-related data and information of the Brahmaputra river, using and protecting the water resources of transnational rivers in the region keeping in mind the principles of equality and fairness, conduct training in the relevant technical field, etc As mentioned earlier, India controls the flow of the Ganges river through a dam completed in at Farakka, 18 km from the border with Bangladesh.
This dam was a source of tension between the two countries, with Bangladesh asserting that the dam held back too much water during the dry season and released too much water during monsoon rains. Inan agreement between Bangladesh and India was signed on sharing of the Ganges waters at Farakka and on augmenting its flows World Bank, While the Bangladesh proposal concentrated on storage of Ganges water itself during floods by constructing dams and reservoirs to be located mostly in Nepal, the Indian proposal was based on inter-basin transfer of water from the Brahmaputra river basin to the Ganges river basin through a link canal as the Brahmaputra has plenty of water mostly untapped.
This would also minimize the flood hazards as the floods in the Brahmaputra come more than two months before those of the Ganges. However, none of the proposals materialized because of the objections from either side on various grounds.
After the disastrous floods in Bangladesh inthe Indian Government expressed concern about the damage and showed interest in regional cooperation for flood mitigation in both the countries through a joint action plan. The Bangladesh Government also came closer to India and had talks on river cooperation Parua, after Bangladesh is ensured a fair share of the flow reaching the dam during the dry season.
In planning and management terms, it is simply impossible to consider the GBM river system as one system because of its sheer size, complexities and multinational character. Accordingly, following the Ganges Water Sharing Treaty between India and Bangladesh, the main focus of bilateral negotiations between these two countries has currently been on the Teesta river, an important tributary of the Ganges river. Ina primary agreement between India and Bangladesh was reached on the sharing of the Teesta river waters World Bank, These negotiations are ongoing, but no mutually acceptable framework for the management of the Teesta river is in sight Biswas, after AroundBhutan initiated a plan to develop the hydropower potential of the Wangchu Cascade at Chhukha, in close cooperation with India.
Following extensive consultations, India agreed to construct a MW run-of-the-river project at Chhukha, on the basis of a 60 percent grant and 40 percent loan. The project was commissioned in stages from onwards and was so successful that it had paid by itself by The generating capacity was later increased to MW. Because of the Indian support to the planning and construction of the project, Bhutan agreed to sell excess electricity to India at a mutually agreed rate.
A kV transmission line was constructed, which linked the Bhutanese capital, Thimpu, and the city of Phuntsholing on the Indian border, from where electricity was subsequently supplied to four Indian states. Before the construction of the Chhukha plant, electricity was generated by diesel and mini-hydro plants.
Thus, total electricity generated was limited. Since the construction of the Chhukha project proved to be beneficial to both countries, they have agreed to expand their collaborative efforts to other new hydropower projects. Bhutan realized that the revenues from the development, use and export of its hydropower potential can accelerate the economic and social development processes of the country, and can contribute very significantly to poverty alleviation.
The arrangement has also been beneficial to energy-thirsty India, whose electricity requirements have been increasing in recent years at percent per year.
India and Bhutan have subsequently collaborated with the funding and construction of a MW run-of-the-river hydropower station at Kuri river. In addition, the two countries signed an agreement in to study the feasibility of a large storage dam on the Sunkosh river. Considering the fact that its present population is only just over 2 million, this sale of hydropower to India means a very substantial income for this relatively small country Biswas, after InIndia and Nepal ratified a treaty on the Mahakali river, located on the border between the two countries.
The treaty provides for equal entitlement in the utilization of water from the Mahakali river without prejudice to respective existing consumptive uses. It is a run-of-the-river scheme along the course of the Puna Tsang river, downstream from Wangduephodrang town.
In Septemberthe third meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Committee on Water Resources JCWR took place, to resolve pending issues and pave the way both to mitigate the flood problems along the Nepal-India border and to enhance bilateral cooperation in the water sector.
The Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project was identified as a priority project and JCWR reviewed the current status of discussions on issues related to location of the regulating dam, unit size and installed capacity of the power plants, assessment of project benefits in terms of irrigation and power to India and Nepal and sharing of the project cost by the two sides.
Prayag - where the Yamuna meets the Ganga
During the above-mentioned third meeting of JCWR, it was decided to have three tier joint mechanisms to expedite the decision-making process and the implementation of decisions undertaken at the institutional interactions. Whereas a Joint Ministerial Commission on Water Resources would be headed by the Ministers of Water Resources of India and Nepal, a Joint Standing Technical Committee was constituted to rationalize technical committees and subcommittees that exist to cover issues in India and Nepal related to flood management, inundation problems and flood forecasting activities besides project specific committees on hydropower.
The fourth meeting of JCWR was held in March to discuss the issues of water resources development projects in a comprehensive manner, further strengthening the ties between the two countries. India and Nepal hoped that the works on the breach closure of the Kosi barrage would be completed in time with the cooperation of the two governments.