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A happy ending is a new beginning for the Eflows Assessment in India

February 13, 2012

Detailed Report for the Assessment of EFlows for Ganga launched, Feb 2012

The detailed report for the estimation of the environmental flows (Eflows)  for the upper Ganga (Ganges) river basin was launched in February, 2012 by the World Wide for Nature (WWF India).

This concludes the tireless effort that the environmental flows assessment team at the WWF and partners has put in over 4 years (2008-2011) as part of the HSBC Climate Partnership (HCP).

However, this is only the beginning of understanding the complexities which are involved while assessing the flows requirement for a river as mighty as the Ganga in India.

The exercise began in Dec, 2008 with the ‘Objective Setting’ for the eflows assessment for the Ganga followed by the ‘Methodology Workshop’ in Feb 2009 for the Environmental Flows assessment in the Ganga at the four identified sites.

Confluence of two rivers in Srinagar, Uttarakhand India, March 2009

The site selection process was undertaken in March 2009 to determine the suitability of the areas idetified by the expert groups (water quantity, water quality, fluvial geomorphology, socio-economic and  biodiversity) for the eflows assessment .

During the ongoing exercise, WWF India was able to make its mark at the state level  by organizing an international workshop jointly with the State Water Resources Development Agency (SWaRA), Uttar Pradesh, India for the “Assessment of Environmental Flows for the Himalayan Rivers in India”, July 2009.

SWaRA Workshop at Lucknow, Uttarpradesh, India, July 2009

A yearlong exercise for the eflows assessment as well as the primary data collection through surveys and interviews formed the basis of eflows recommendation by the experts as per their analysis.

This was determined at the Flows Setting Workshop held in May, 2010 at Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India.

EFlows Setting Workshop, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, India, May 2010

The experts accessed the amount of flow required in different seasons (summers, monsoon, winters and spring) and for different purposes for the humans such as biodiversity conservation, religious, livelihoods, water sports and so on.

This workshop formed the basis of the detailed methodology to assess the environmental flows and recommend the same for the effective policy formulation to the National Ganga River Basin Authourity (NGBRA), Ministry of Water Resources Government of India.

The detailed report which was launched earlier this month forms a basis for the future estimation of eflows for other major river basins in India.

Team WWF India and partners, Feb 2012

This commendable work has been undertaken by the Living Ganga Program team in coordination with the Climate Change and Energy Program, Freshwater Program teams at WWF India  along with the local and national partners such as IIT Kanpur, PSI Dehradun, State Water Resources Agency (SWaRA) UP and numerous national and international experts.

The report has been authored by Jay O’Keeffe (Rhodes University, South Africa), Nitin Kaushal (WWF-India), Vladimir Smakhtin and Luna Bharati (IWMI, Sri Lanka).

The pioneer work undertaken by WWF India for the determination of flows requirement for the Ganga shall go a long way in the future assessment of flows requirement for all other river systems not only in India but also our neighboring countries (Bangladeh, Nepal, Sri Lanka) and so on.

Disclaimer: This article presents a brief overview of the lengthy and detailed exercise  undertaken by WWF-India for the detailed assessment of environmental flows for the Ganga river in India. To know more about the same, please contact Mr. Nitin Kaushal, WWF India ( and read the summary here.


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