Mansarovar or Gaumukh: Which is the source of the Ganga?

News this week
Bhagirathi river at its source, Gaumukh (Source: IWP Flickr Photo) Bhagirathi river at its source, Gaumukh (Source: IWP Flickr Photo)

NIH scientists to probe if Mansarovar is the source of Ganga

The Water Resources Ministry has asked scientists from the Roorkee-based National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) to investigate if the origin of the Ganga river is the Mansarovar lake in Kailash instead of Gaumukh near Gangotri. The possibility of Mansarovar Lake being the source of Ganga has arisen based on Hindu mythology which says that the Ganga descended from the locks of Shiva and therefore, has a connection with Kailash Mansarovar. NIH scientists will use water isotopes tracer technology to track the river's source.

After a dam on Brahmaputra, China wants to exploit its source in the Himalayan glaciers

Tibet has released its 10 year plan to encourage the massive expansion of the bottled water industry in the ecologically fragile region. By 2020, the Tibet Government is aiming to build 5 million cubic metres of bottled water production capacity as against its current production of 153,000 cubic metres of water. The region is not only an important source of water for China but also Southeast and South Asia. Asia's ten major rivers arise from the region including the Brahmaputra.

HP's newly built Kol dam found damaged

The plunge pool of the 800 MW Kol Dam hydel project in Himachal's Mandi district has been found damaged within a month of its commissioning. The blame is on the poor quality of construction and faulty design. However, officials of the project have claimed that the damage to the plunge pool was anticipated, and have ruled out the poor quality of construction.

Seven districts in Andhra are drought-hit

Andhra Pradesh, following Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha, becomes the fifth state in the country to declare drought. It has identified 196 mandals across seven districts as drought-hit. However, in a report, SANDRP has observed discrepancies between IMD and the State Government's data on rainfall for drought-hit districts. Per IMD figures, only two of the districts in the State can be declared as drought-hit.

Mumbai's wetland birds added to the Red list

The three commonly seen birds on the Sewri mudflats--Curlew Sandpiper, Eurasian Oystercatcher and Bar-tailed Godwit--have been added to the 2015 list of endangered birds released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In total, eight birds from India have been added to the list this year, making the total number of Indian birds on the Red List 180. Per ornithologists, habitat loss poses the main threat to birds and primarily, these habitats are being destroyed due to unsustainable developmental activities.

This is a roundup of important news updates from October 27 - November 1, 2015. Also read last week's policy matters update.


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