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Today’s Theme: “River Conservation Synchronised Navigation and Flood Management”
The 5th India Water Impact Summit (IWIS) organized jointly by NMCG (GoI) and cGanga (IIT Kanpur) entered its fifth day with focus on Synchronising River Conservation withNavigation and Flood Management. The opening Session A deliberated onthe increased siltation in rivers due to soil erosion from farmlands that have replaced natural vegetal cover. Bunding instead of dredging was judged preferable to solve this problem as it also generates local employment. Maintaining channel depth by surface panelling with bamboo is also preferable to excavating river material, bottom panelling being effective in desilting. Vertical grass plantations check erosion and provide suitable habitat for fish and benthic flora. Irrigation water requirements in U.P. and Bihar also need to be reduced by switching from flood irrigation to optimal irrigation at farm levels.
In the Plenary Session, Mr/ Ms Kees Bones, Deltaris, The Netherlands discoursed on the crucial role of sediment dynamics on river stability, highlighting river course changing during the 2008 Bihar Floods. He recommended use of sensors that detect riverbed conditions for navigation. Shri Vijay Kumar Chaudhury, Water Resources Minister of Bihar, explained the problems of flood management in Bihar due to its critical geographical location. He stressed on silt management for effective river conservation, flood management and navigation in Bihar, and sought a National Silt Management Policy. He also advocated an effective river monitoring programme. Dr. Ruchi Badola, Scientist G, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), revealed the fatal role of ships and dredging on flagship river species like Gangetic Dolphin, and stressed on sustainable navigation development. She also outlined the Arth Ganga programme chalked out byWII with NMCG for revenue generation through Ganga conservation. Sri SK Gangwar, Member (Technical) IWIA said that the lean season flow depth in Ganga between Benarasand Patna are presently inadequate for navigation. This stretch of Ganga also needs flood control and de-silting.
The lively discussions above threw up an eclectic collection of issues and ideas that inform the challenging task of synchronising navigation development and flood management with river conservation.
After the Plenary Session, the Summit continued its subsequent deliberations on Innovative Environmental Technology presentations and Water Sector Finance.