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Socio-Economic And Cultural Aspects of Ganga River Basin Management

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Presentation on theme: "Socio-Economic And Cultural Aspects of Ganga River Basin Management"— Presentation transcript:

1 Socio-Economic And Cultural Aspects of Ganga River Basin Management

2 Introduction The river Ganga has significant economic, environmental and cultural value in India. Rising in the Himalayas and flowing in to the Bay of Bengal, the river traverses a course of more than 2,500 km through the plains of north and eastern India. The Ganga basin – which also extends into parts of Nepal, China and Bangladesh – accounts for 26 per cent of India‘s landmass, 30 per cent of its water resources and more than 40 per cent of its population. The Ganga also serves as one of India‘s holiest rivers whose cultural and spiritual significance transcends the boundaries of the basin.

3 Topics Highlighted…. Introduction River basin Data River ecology
Cultural and Social Isssues Environmental profile Pollution and its affects Steps taken till now Steps planned for future Our suggestions references

4 The Ganges basin is a part of the composite Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin draining 1,086,000 square kilometres in China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh Its catchment lies in the states of Uttar Pradesh (294,364 km²), Madhya Pradesh (198,962 km²), Bihar (143,961 km²), Rajasthan (112,490 km²), West Bengal (71,485 km²), Haryana (34,341 km²), Himachal Pradesh (4,317 km²) and Delhi (1,484 km²), the whole of Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan The basin has a population of more than 500 million, making it the most populated river basin in the world.

5 The Ganga : A Precious Resource
Ganga River resources are unique in nature in promoting cultural, ecological and economic prosperity of India. It provides : Fertile Land for agriculture Perennial source of Fresh water Inseparable part of Indian Culture Fisheries Rich Bio-diversity

6 Agriculture The Ganga river basin is one of the most fertile areas on the earth surface. The Ganga Basin with its fertile soil is instrumental to the agricultural economies of India and Bangladesh. The Ganga and its tributaries provide a perennial source of irrigation to a large area. There is about 580,000 km² of arable land, which is almost 29.5% of the cultivable area of India.

7 Already half a billion people live within the river basin, at an average density of over 500 per sq. km, and this population is projected to increase to over one billion people by the year 2030. As a result, there is strong demand and competition for natural resources, especially water for domestic use and irrigation, and most of the basin tributaries are regulated by barrages. The annual surface water potential of the basin has been assessed as 525 km³ in India, out of which 250 km³ is utilizable water.

8 River Ganga in Indian Culture
The river Ganga is very sacred in India. The influence of Ganga on Hindus and their cultural believes are enormous. River Ganga occupies a unique place in the hearts of millions of Indians whose faith is intimately connected with her. Rituals from birth to death take place all along the flowing river and the confluence in search for salvation. Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregation (worship) are celebrated on the banks of the River Ganges, such as the Kumbh Mela, every twelve years at Haridwar and at Allahabad.

9 Social and Cultural Issues
Tourism Pilgrimage Fests and Festivals

10 River Ganga also gets mention in popular folklore, like the legend of Bhagirath.
The river, personified as a goddess, is worshipped by Hindus, who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates liberation from the cycle of life and death. It is believed that a holy dip (punya/pavitra snan) in the Ganga purifies one’s soul, intake of few drops (theerth) of holy water cures all diseases Immersion of ashes (deceased one’s) in the river rests the departed soul in the heaven.

11 Hindus store holy water at their houses and serve a few drops with holy basil to the dying human which helps him to attain moksha. The stored holy water is also used for special pujas (Sathyanarayan Vratam). Pilgrims travel long distances to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganga, so that their loved ones will pass on to heaven.

12 Contribution to Indian Economy
Apart from playing a critical role in the agriculture sector, Ganga river also has many other advantages. It provides water for many industries which flourish on its banks. In earlier days, the river Ganga was an important means of transportation. River basin is very closely linked to the livelihood patterns of the people.

13 There are two major dams on the Ganges
There are two major dams on the Ganges. One at Haridwar and the other at Farakka. The hydroelectric potential of the Ganges is 13 million kilowatts, two fifths of which lies in India and the rest in Nepal. Tehri Dam was also constructed on Bhagirathi River, tributary of the Ganges. Its main purpose is to supply water to New Delhi.

14 Cause of Concern Despite its importance, extreme pollution pressures pose a great threat to the biodiversity and environmental sustainability of the Ganga, with detrimental effects on both the quantity and quality of its flows. Due to increasing population in the basin and poor management of urbanization and industrial growth, river water quality has significantly deteriorated, particularly in dry seasons. Untreated sewage and industrial wastewater represent the primary sources of pollution, with only one-third of the sewage generated in the main-stem towns and cities receiving treatment before being discharged in the river.

15 Environmental Profile
Biodiversity Vegetation and Forests Groundwater Irrigation Projects Land degradation Sensitive Environmental Habitats

16 Groundwater High replenishment rate Irrigation
Industrial and Domestic uses the fluoride & arcenic content in the groundwater is high enough to cause fluorosis and skin diseases when regularly consumed for long periods of time . Quality monitored by CGWB

17 Sensitive Environmental Habitats
Biosphere reserves National Parks. Wildlife Sanctuaries Tiger Reserve

18 Irrigation Projects 57% of the net irrigated area in india is covered.
total number of medium or major irrigation projects – 644 Flood control Water diversion and area irrigation

19 Vegetation and Forests
Soil characteristics Meteorology and climate Rainfall Biotic factors

20 Land Degradation Decline in the productivity and the quality of land.
45% of the total geographical area of the basin.


22 Limitations of GAP-1 Unable to provide adequate funds for Operations & Maintenance. Failure of local bodies in discharging their functions. Pollution load is large especially at kanpur. Failure in minimizing organic pollution

23 Can we clean river Ganga?
Lack of political interests Centralized schemes or policy? Unimplemented Decisions. Lack of coordination among the member states and centre. Affordable technology. Unavoidable scams!!!! Development VS Environment

24 Adverse Affects of GAP Irrigation water is a cocktail of deadly chemicals. Farm-lands are turning fallow, crop productivity has gone down. Agricultural produce and cattle milk are contaminated with Chromium. Health impacts of GAP due to direct exposure to toxic Irrigation water and consumption of contaminated groundwater

25 Steps Taken …. Ganga Action Plan cleaning initiatives
Various authorities Water quality Conservation of biodiversity River front development Research programs Waste management and diversification

26 Pollution

27 Sources of Pollution Point Sources Municipal waste
Industrial Pollution Non-Point Sources Solid and medical wastes Disposal of Dead bodies and Animal Carcasses Open defecation and Cattle Wallowing

28 How to Control Pollution
site specific applied research with a view to improving the river water quality. Activities for construction and improvement of bathing ghats to provide a clean and hygienic access to the river were also part of the Action Plan. controlled under the existing Environmental Laws without any public investment Training programmes , under the scheme for engineers and operators engaged in the design and operation & maintenance of the systems common effluent treatment plant, sewage treatment plant


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