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WWF India’s Rivers for Life, Life for Rivers Programme

February 8, 2013
Scene from Kumbh fair 2013 © Nitin Kaushal/WWF-India

Scene from Kumbh fair 2013 © Nitin Kaushal/WWF-India

WWF India and it’s partners conducted the Environmental Flows assessment for Kumbh 2013 at Triveni Sangam, Allahbad, Uttar Pradesh recently under their Rivers for Life, Life for Rivers programme.

Possibly the biggest religious congregation of believers on the banks of river Ganga (Ganges)/©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

Possibly the biggest religious congregation on the banks of river Ganga (Ganges)/©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

Kumbh 2013 is expected to be the largest congregation of people for a religious purpose, anywhere in the world. Over 80 million people are expected to visit the city of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh on the banks of the River Ganga from January 14 to March 10, 2013. It is believed that a holy dip in the Ganga during this period will help pilgrims attain salvation. Kumbh has always been a socio-cultural mega event where millions of cultural tourists and pilgrims visit Sangam and take a holy dip for satisfaction of their spiritual aspirations.

Sunset at Sangam, Allahabad, India ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

Sunset at Sangam, Allahabad, India ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

Environmental Flows (or simply E-Flows) are defined as the flows required for the maintenance of the ecological integrity of rivers, their associated ecosystems, and the goods and services provided by them. E-Flows are a pattern of flows required by the river to sustain its functions (sociocultural, geomorphic or sediment transport, supporting biodiversity and livelihoods) and to fulfill the aspirations of the people.

Waterways for transportation depend entirely on E-Flows ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

Waterways for transportation depend entirely on E-Flows ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

WWF-India’s Rivers for Life, Life for Rivers programme envisions the Ganga as a healthy river system that is rich in biodiversity, providing long term water security to communities and nature. This initiative is supported by the HSBC Water Programme (HWP), a five year partnership between HSBC, WWF, WaterAid and Earthwatch ( 2012 – 2017) and it aims to deliver a powerful combination of water provision, protection and education resulting in the most ground-breaking water programme committed to by a financial organization.

WWF-India will be building on its Living Ganga Programme (LGP (2007 – 2012)), which has developed, validated and implemented some of the most innovative pathways and processes for sustainable water resources management in the face of climate change.

Ducks snorkeling in Ganga (The Ganges) ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

Birds snorkeling in Ganga (The Ganges) ©NitinKaushal/WWF-India

The four pillars of the programme are:

Sustainable Water Management: Working towards ensuring Environmental Flows and sustainable water management.

Habitat and Biodiversity Conservation: Improving the population and habitats of 7 selected endemic and endangered aquatic species (Gangetic Dolphins, gharial, Otters, Mahseer (fish) and a few species of turtles, across 400 km (6 districts) critical stretch of the Ganga and the Ramganga River.

Water stewardship: Collaborating with cities and SMEs in the Ganga basin to manage water related risks by adopting water stewardship (protection of sources, cleaner production, sustainable consumption, green financing along with concerted stakeholder action and policy dialogues). Multi stakeholder groups will be formed to actively engage in river conservation.

Climate change adaptation: Developing a framework for climate adaptation so as to reduce climate vulnerabilities and improve base-flows in the Ganga and its tributaries. The approach of the programme will incline towards policy advocacy and engagement of riparian communities with the aim of creating sectoral and basin level as well as state and national level outreach to generate support and catalyse action towards conserving the revered river Ganga.

To know more about the WWF India’s Rivers for Life, Life for Rivers Programme and receive updates on activities/publications and reports under the programme, please write to Mr. Nitin Kaushal, Senior Manager, WWF-India at nkaushal at wwfindia dot net.

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