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Event: One-day workshop on the Launch of the Partners’ Forum of the Koshi Basin Programme

Venue: A.N. Sinha Institute of Social Studies, Patna, Bihar, India

Time: 10:30  am – 5:15 pm

Panelists:

February 19, 2014 10:30AM

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The Bhutahi Balan, a tributary of the Kosi may be a small river but it has caused immense devastation. Dinesh Mishra says that embankments aren't the answer to this problem.

It's been years since Bhutahi Balan, a small tributary of the Kosi river in Madhubani, North Bihar, has been causing devastation on both its banks. Dinesh Mishra in his book 'Story of a ghost river and engineering witchcraft' objectively analyses the failure of embankments, which are raised banks to contain the river's flooding.

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Climate change is manifesting itself through modified rainfall patterns, extreme events and temperature fluctuations. What effect will these have on water, sanitation and health in India?

We sat in a plush climate-controlled room and deliberated climate change as the outside world collapsed around us.. It could have been a scene straight out of Michael Crichton's book, 'State of Fear', where a group of renegade environmentalists engineer massive 'natural' disasters to secure funding for climate change. Only this time, the disaster was frightening and frustratingly real.

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HICAP

Organiser details

The Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme (HICAP)

About the grant programme

June 25, 2013 12:00AM

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This booklet by Dinesh Kumar Mishra deals with the plight of the refugees of the Kosi embankment

Kosi, one of the most vibrant rivers of North Bihar begins its journey at a height of about 7000 m in the Himalayan range. After entering the plains, the bed of the Kosi widens drastically and it spreads over 6 to 10 km.

In 1953 the Government of India gave formal approval to the Kosi project, which led to the construction of 125 km long embankment on the eastern bank of the Kosi, from Birpur to Kopadia and 126 km long embankment from Bhardah in Nepal to Ghonghepur in Saharsa, on the western bank. The work was almost fully completed by 1959.

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Hello,

Could you upload the river discharge and flood related data of Kosi river in Bihar

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This is the Bengali translation of Anupam Mishra’s book “Tairne wala samaj doob raha hai” written in the context of the floods in the Kosi river in Bihar in 2004.

cover page

 The second edition of the book came out in 2008 just after the devastating Bihar floods in the year when the river thundered down from the Himalayas on its way to the sea sweeping half of Bihar.

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The fifth lecture in the ten-part series titled "Living Rivers, Dying Rivers" was delivered by Dr. Ajaya Dixit and Dr. Dipak Gyawali.

Bagmati river in Kathmandu: From holy river to unthinkable flowing filth

Bagmati river, Nepal (Source:Bagmati Action Plan 2009-2014)

Ajaya Dixit initiated his presentation with a general account of how rivers shape the landscape and how riverine ecosystems have nurtured society and kept civilisations vibrant, cultured and creative. Dixit went on to discuss the basin characteristics of the Bagmati, a tributary of the Kosi that rises in the Shivapuri hills, north of the Kathmandu valley. Around fifteen percent of the basin area (3700 sqkm) lies in Nepal, while the remaining is in India. The average annual rainfall in the basin is 1400 mm and is more than 2000 mm in the hills. Bagmati is a seasonal river with rainfall and springs as its main source. Its mean flow is 15.6 cubic metre/second and low flow is 0.15 cubic metre/second in April.

Kathmandu lies in the Upper Bagmati basin and studies suggest that an ancient lake called the Paleo-Kathmandu lay within the Kathmandu valley as a lacustrine formation. Early settlers lived in lower slopes and used springs and river in the upper reaches. When they moved to the valley floor, they built dongia dharas, which are stone water spouts fed by the unconfined aquifers and delivered water through surface channels. Even today, dongia dharas dated back to 1500 years exist. The state built canals (raj kulo) tapped the upper stretches of the rivers close to the mountains. Rivers and irrigation helped recharge aquifers and ponds.

However, rising urbanisation has damaged these ancient artifacts. Over the last sixty years Kathmandu has expanded massively and its population has increased from 0.41 million in 1951 to 2.6 million in 2011. The city has a huge transient population aside from this, reducing it to a concrete nightmare. Seismologists suggest that Kathmandu is a rubble city in the making. Though the Bagmati river flow has not changed significantly in the last seventy years, the character of the river has been transformed significantly during the period 1970 to 1990. The river has been canalised while the dumping of the city’s garbage into it continues. Dixit identified a plethora of problems faced by the river such as upstream water diversion for drinking water needs, disposal of untreated liquid waste, disposal of solid waste, river jacketing for roads and commercial activities, sand mining and physical encroachment.

The state of the river is an outcome of the current approach to waste management particularly liquid waste management. Three types of waste water namely yellow water flux, grey water and yellow black flux are being generated and flowing water is being used as a vehicle to dispose these. The idea of a water based disposal system e.g. flush toilet embedded in Victorian engineering has led to a technological lock-in with the result that the notion of a natural hydrological cycle has undergone a fundamental transformation.

All the same, the bulk of the load in the river is biological though there are some factories releasing effluents. In the last 20 years some of them have been closed or relocated and the river now stands a chance of being salvaged.

  

 

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Nature's abundance vanishes; the once amply resourced Bihar tackles the rapid depletion, the emerging water scarcity and quality.

This presentation  highlights the grave water situation in Bihar in the context of the emerging water quality and quantity issues that the world and especially developing countries will be facing in the near future.

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