Experience the Knowledge of India
Himalayan Tsunami, Waiting toHappen, Happened
Does this not seem like a free for all or first come - first served or first claimed scenario?
Shifting the Silt
Silting is Welcome Here
Every river by nature has silting. But heavy to very heavy silting is a unique feature of all Himalayanrivers, whether they flow north, south, east or west. These rivers originate in glaciers high up in theHimalaya. As the glaciers grind over the rocks and flow out as these rivers, these rivers bring downmineral rich silt from the hills.It is because of this silting nature of these rivers, that right from Haridwar where Ganga enters theplains, to Bangladesh, the land is fertile. It is the silt, alluvial soil brought by the waters that has madethese lands fertile.The Gangetic plains of eastern Bihar, Bengal and Bangladesh were formed by such silt naturally filling upthe sea bed. The enormity of silt brought down from the mountains, every day, every hour of the riverflow, can now be imagined.This silting has been a boon for the people in the plains. No wonder then, that this belt is one of themost fertile and consequently densely populated regions of the world.
Cost of Silt
Look at the cost of building dams across such silting rivers.When a dam is built across such rivers, the storage area of the dam will be filled with silt within a fewyears to a decade. While the cost of desilting is one factor, where can so much silt be manuallyrelocated?
Is sale of silt perhaps anticipated as a byproduct of this power generation?
Instead the better way would be to tap all the excess water flowing over a certain level, which will havelesser silt and take it away downstream through series of canals for other needs. This method has stoodthe test of time and has been found to be sustainable.One of the earliest examples, dating back to over 2000 years ago, is the Sringaverapura water diversionsystem built near Varanasi. While this system is in the plains, this principle is time tested and valid forthe Himalayan rivers.Another drawback of building dams across such heavily silting rivers has been observed by the CAG. Asexplained in their report, the silt in a river slows down the river as it comes downstream, making it lessturbulent. With the construction of hydel projects across these rivers, the river waters are routed intoturbines for generating power and then released back into the river stream.