Perennial rivers drying up in Kumaon

Chief Minister reviews Kosi rejuvenation work




Over 50 percent perennial rivers and rivulets in Almora district have turned into seasonal nullahs that carry monsoon rainwater as water generation in these rivulets or sources has stopped due to various reasons during past 50 years. This was revealed in a study conducted by Natural Resources Data Management System Centre established by Kumaon University’s Geography department located at Almora campus of the University.

Speaking about the findings of the study, Professor J.S. Rawat, Director of the Centre, said that the  water length of  major  rivers  and rivulets in district Almora, which was  around 1639 km some 50 years ago has  reduced at 810 km  at present.

According to Professor Rawat, his study on five rivers of Almora district was conducted through GIS technology and it has  shown that  while 70 rivulets of  river Gangas have dried in last 50 years Kosi  has witnessed  drying of  36 rivulets while  western Ramganga  and Saryu rivers have  witnessed drying of 134 and 24 rivulets in last 50 years respectively. He added that besides the tributaries of these major rivers, a total of 332 other tributaries had dried in last 50 years due to various reasons.

Professor Rawat says that if Almora was to be considered a model, other major rivers of Kumaon region flowing in other districts had also incurred same fate during past 50 years.

According Professor Rawat, the major reason of drying of these tributaries is reduction of forests in the Himalayan region specially reduction of wide leaved forests. “The layers formed by  wide leaves  along with  soil in forest that halts the rainwater to percolate into soil, is missing  due to reduction of  this nature of forests resulting into drying of small  rivulets,” said Dr Rawat.

Professor Rawat says that due to heavy rains occurring in hill regions following change in worldwide climate in recent years, over 70 percent of rainwater flows down the hill without  getting percolated into the soil. “We have suggested three ways to make the water percolate into soil, making infiltration trenches at basins  areas of the rivers or rivulets making infiltration holes  also at  basin  areas  and  bio perforation tanks  by the rivulets to   make the water  of these rivulets  percolate into  soil during rains,” said Professor Rawat.