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Assessment of Environmental Flows for the Upper Ganga Basin



Posted on 20 June 2012  | 
Widely revered, rivers are an integral part of the Indian society and its culture. However, today as we witness the extensive degradation of our rivers, it is evident that this is just not an ecological problem but a larger societal problem – changes in land use, inefficient agriculture and irrigation practices, the growing urban and industrial water footprint and ever increasing energy demands have signifcantly altered the quantity and quality of water flowing in our rivers.

Our lifelines are dying. These challenges multiply when we take the case of the Ganga. Although Ganga is considered sacred and revered by millions of Indians, it is amongst the top ten rivers at risk.

One of the key threats to the upper Ganga and other Himalayan rivers is water abstraction for hydropower, irrigation, urban and industrial needs. To address this, the concept of ‘minimum flows’ has recently been proposed and is being implemented in some river basins.

However, this is still not based on a full understanding of the regime of flows needed in a river to maintain its ecological integrity as well as support human needs. It was this gap in a holistic approach to Environmental Flows (E-Flows) that led WWF-India to initiate a program to develop and test a methodology for determining E-Flows for the Ganga.
Assessment of Environmental Flows for the Upper Ganga Basin
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