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bajracharyaandtamrakar

bajracharyaandtamrakar

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Published by: Central Department of Geology on Sep 25, 2010
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Bulletin of the Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal, Vol. 10, 2007, pp. 21–32*
Ramita Bajracharya and Naresh Kazi Tamrakar
Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal
ABSTRACT
The Manahara River located in northeast part of the Kathmandu Valley has been disturbed for last one decade by severalanthropogenic activities and natural causes thereby deteriorating its recreational functions and stream habitat. To obtain an existingenvironmental condition and disturbances of the river, the river was surveyed for its habitat, pollution level and surface waterquality. Among the five representative segments of the river, the downstream segment (Sano Thimi) was scored into intermediatecategory showing more pollution and environmental deterioration compared to the upstream segments. Turbidity, electricalconductivity, chemical oxygen demand, biological oxygen demand and ammonia increase, whereas dissolved oxygen decreasesfrom upstream to downstream with exponential functions. Aquatic lives like Garra sp. (Buduna), Schizothorax sp. (Asala), Channasp. (Hiele) and Heteropneustes sp. (Singe) were observed except in downstream of the Jadibuti Bridge situated downstream fromSano Thimi stretch. Fish species were rare from the Jadibuti area most probably due to reduced dissoved oxygen (5 mg/l). Coliformbacteria ranged from 3000 to 4000 in the Manahara River showing high amount of bacterial contamination. Major disturbances,which affect river habitat and surface water quality of the Manahara River were destruction of riparian buffer zones, excavationexcessive amount of sand from the river, encroachment of floodplains and bars, solid waste and sewer effluent, and tendency of landuse change. To retard environmental degradation of the Manahara River from the human-induced activities, local governmentneeds to take immediate action.*Corresponding author:E-mail address: bajrarami@yahoo.com
Bulletin of the Department of Geology
INTRODUCTION
Rivers are natural resources which have ecologicaland recreational functions. People mostly depend onrivers for agricultural and domestic purposes. Manytemples and crematories located around the riverhave increased cultural values of the rivers. But withrapid growing population and urbanization, differentactivities like unplanned building and encroachment,clearing of riparian vegetation along the river banks,disposal of waste materials in river and unwise miningof construction materials from the rivers arecommonly observed in rivers of the KathmanduValley. Human as well as natural phenomena areresponsible for bringing disturbances in the riversystem. The Bishnumati River, one of the biggesttributaries of the Bagmati River, is suffering fromthese types of activities (Tamrakar 2004a and b).The Manahara River as a whole has been indeteriorating condition from last one decade. Growingnumber of population and shelters, and building of structures and factories on the river banks are probablymajor causes for environmental deterioration(reduction of stream bank stability, cultural, ecologicaland recreational functions and surface water qualityof rivers). Some of the major disturbances such aslanduse change, bank erosion, scoring, encroachment,dilution of riparian vegetation, contamination byeffluents and solid waste and shifting of the riverchannel are quite evident along the Manahara River.Due to lack of awareness among people and concernedauthorities, such disturbances are unmanageable atpresent. If the disturbances in the river continue inthe current trend, they will aggravate system instabilityand will bring unrecoverable deterioration to the riverenvironment. Therefore, it is important to identifypresent environmental condition and majordisturbances to rehabilitate the river in the future
Environmental status of Manahara River, Kathmandu, Nepal
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 R. Bajracharya and N. K. Tamrakar/ Bulletin of the Department of Geology, Vol. 10, 2007, pp. 21–32
because many people depend on the water of theManahara River. UNESCO world heritage site,Changunarayan Temple and several other places suchas International Airport, Sali Nadi Temple andNilbarahi Temple are located around this river.Therefore, this paper aims in identifyingenvironmental condition of the river and potentialdisturbing factors.
MANAHARA RIVER BASIN
The Manahara River is located in the northeast of the Kathmandu Valley (Fig. 1). It is elongated inshape having 28 km length from NE to SW covering83 sq. km of area. This river is straight and narrowin upstream stretch and is meandered and wide indownstream stretch. The northern and easterncatchments, composed of gneiss, granite, quartzite,metasandstone, phyllite and schist possess finedrainage texture, high relative relief and high drainagefrequency. The western catchment, composed of softfluvio-lacustrine deposits, possesses coarse drainagetexture, low relative relief and low dranage frequency(Bajracharya 2006).The maximum average monthly rainfall receivedwas 567 mm in July and minimum was nil inNovember (Sankhu Station) during 1980–2004 (DHM2004). The total monsoon rainfall (1980-2004) isslowly increasing. Generally, the Manahara RiverBasin is presently covered by cultivated, settlementand forest lands. Cultivation and settlement areashave been increasing against forest area. About 77%of landscape were occupied by cultivation, 17% byforest and 6% by urban areas in 2002 (Shrestha 2007).
FLUVIAL GEOMORPHOLOGY
The Manahara River is a perennial stream fed bystorm flow and spring. The mainstem of the river isa fifth order stream and it’s major tributaries such asthe Sali Nadi River, the Ghatte Khola and the MahadevKhola are forth order streams (Fig. 2). The fifth orderstream extends for 19 km showing highly meanderingpattern. The lowest stretch (Sano Thimi) of thismainstem shows entrenched nature (Entrenchmentratio, ER = 1.39) with high bank height ratio (BHR= 1.63) and gentle slope (0.0235 m/m). River cross-sectional area, discharge and velocity are highest.Point bar, side bar and point bar with few mid barare characteristics of depositional pattern. Pebblesand sand with silt are main dominated channelmaterials.The middle segment (Mulpani) is highly sinuous(1.81) with less entrenchement ratio (12). The materialis composed of sandy pebble. Large point bar, sidebar and mid bar characterize depositional pattern.Very gentle slope (0.0056 m/m), high width/depthratio (70) and low BHR (1.3) indicates floodingduring high rainfall and channel shifting.The upper stretch (Kurthali) also shows highlysinuous (1.5) pattern and less entrenched nature(7.71). River channel has alternating riffles and pools,and has very gentle slope (0.011 m/m). Large pointbar and side bar contains cobble, pebble and sand.Erosional scars and landslides are common of theriver banks.
Fig. 1 Location map of study area
N
024 Km
  M a  n a
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Shivapuri Range
KATHMANDU
Manahara River Watershed
Kathmandu
P  AL
C  H  I  N  A
803026
I  N  I  A
86
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23from each of the five stretches were measured forlongitudinal profile, parameters of water quality andriparian vegetation.
River habitat assessment
River habitat assessment was made in three partsaccording to the procedure of Texas Natural ResourceConservation, TNRCC (2001). In first part, threeattributes, i. e. primary, secondary and tertiary weremeasured during field survey (Table 1). Primary dataincluded (a) habitat type, (b) number of riffles, (c)dominant substrate type, (d) percent gravel and (e)instream cover type, which were used for evaluatingthe shelter and food quality for aquatic organisms.Secondary attributes focused the structures of thestream channel and included (a) channel flow status,(b) stream width and (c) stream depth. The tertiaryatributes included data for (a) riparian buffer zone,(b) aesthetics of reach, (c) bank angle, (d) tree canopyThe forth order stream extends for 5.9 km showingmoderately entrenched segment (ER = 1.43). Thechannel has alternating riffles and pools, and hashigher slope (0.14 m/m) compared to the fifth orderstream. The river bed material consists of cobble,pebble and sand with silt. Landslide and bank erosionare common on steep slope river bank.The third order stream stretch (Dandakateri)extends for 1.1 km. It is straight, narrow andmoderately entrenched (ER = 1.45) with slope of 0.07 m/m. Riverbed material is dominantly gravel(boulder, cobble and pebble) and minorly sand.
METHODS
River habitat assessment, pollution assessmentand river water quality assessment were used toevaluate stream habitat condition, riparian vegetationand water quality condition of the river. Four locations
Fig. 2 Location of study stretches and water samples
MN3
RiverWatershed boundary
Legend
Elevation (m)SampleSano ThimiBodegauKurthaliLapsephedi
       T     r       i       b       h     u     v    a      n        I     n      t     e     r     n    a       t        i    o     n    a        l       A       i     r     p     o     r      t 
GothatarNagarkotTelkot
Gagalphedi
Manahara
N
0 1 2 3 4 5 Km
a  
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1301
1318165816321814
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273085
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25’00”85
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25’00”
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   2   7
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   4   0   ’   0   0   ”
JadibutiSinamangalSomathaliChangu NarayanMulpaniThaliSankhu
Dandakateri15081658
  R
  i
  v
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 r
MN4MN1MN2MN1
 
12345
Sano Thimi stretch
1
Mulpani stretchKurthali stretchSankhu stretchDandakateri stretch
2345
 Environmental status of Manahara River, Kathmandu, Nepal

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