New Delhi: The water flow in Ganga is
decreasing because of the power projects in Alaknanda and
Bhagiradhi basins, a study by the IIT Roorkee has warned,
prompting the government to take necessary action.
Accepting the "study on Assessment of Cumulative
Impact of Hydropower Projects in Alaknanda and Bhagirathi
Basins up to Devprayag," Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh
today said the Ministry would "re-stipulate minimum
environmental flows" in the hydel projects in order to ensure
uninterrupted flow of Ganga.
"The Bhagiradhi and Alakananda basins are important
because...if there is no water in these two rivers, water flow
in the Ganga is going to come down quite substantially,"
Ramesh told reporters here after the Government signed a USD 1
billion loan agreement with World Bank for cleaning the Ganga
"The most important feature of the IIT Rook study
is that they have recommended what should be the minimum
environmental flow in each of these projects in order to
ensure that there is uninterrupted flow (of River Ganga),"
He said the Environment Ministry has traditionally
followed a "mechanical approach" to minimum environmental
flows and it was "unrealistic."
"We have been routinely stipulating three cubecs as
the minimum environmental flow which is clearly unrealistic,"
Ramesh said and added that water is needed in the river for
aquatic biodiversity, for vedic rituals, and for aesthetic
"We have accepted the recommendations of the IIT
Rurkie study and we are now re-stipulating minimum
environmental flows in some of these hydel projects," the
Minister said and cited the example of 400 MW Vishnughat Hydel
Project in Uttarakhand in which minimum environmental flow
which has been re-stipulated as 15 cubecs.
The minimum environmental flow in this project was
three cubecs when environmental clearance was given.