'Climate Change Will Affect River Ganga'

Published: 31st March 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2015 03:08 AM   |  A+A-

BENGALURU: Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have studied how changing climate and land use patterns will affect the flow of river Ganga, which will directly impact a major part of northern India.

The study, led by Prof Pradeep Mujumdar, was carried out by the Department of Civil Engineering at IISc.

Though both climate and land use affect stream flow, the effect of climate change was seen to be much more pronounced. Stream flow is a measure of how much water flows into a river or a stream and at what rate.

“Climatic changes introduce a large uncertainty in future water situations. Because of this, we need to bring resilience in our water management system by using more conservative methods. We need to base these methods on a worst case scenario and prepare ourselves,” says Mujumdar.

It’s hard to imagine an India without the river Ganga.

The 2,500-km long river, flowing through the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, touches 44 per cent of India’s population. The Ganga basin accounts for 30 per cent of India’s cultivable land but there has been a lack of efforts to understand how the river is responding to changes along its basin.

The researchers studied about one-eighth of the total catchment area called the Upper Ganga Basin (about the size of Iceland).

They divided the study region, that also contained the origin of the river, into three different parts depending on topography, altitude and land use.

This region was a natural choice for the study because any changes observed in the stream flow here would be reflected in the entire river.

The researchers studied changes in land use through satellite imagery. Their analysis revealed that between 1973 and 2011, the area under cultivation increased by more than 20 per cent. During the same period, urban land also expanded significantly, though it occupied only a small area in the entire basin.

They also noted an appreciable drop in the area under forest cover. Such changes, the researchers say, are not at all surprising because between 2001 and 2011, the population of the region skyrocketed by 120 per cent.

Their predictions on future climate conditions indicated changes in rainfall patterns and a rise in the average minimum and maximum temperatures. The changing climatic conditions are expected to cause severe changes in water availability in the Upper Ganga Basin.

Stay up to date on all the latest Bengaluru news with The New Indian Express App. Download now


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.