Cumulative Impact Assessment on River Ganga from Hardiwar to Garhmukteshwar with Focus on Point Source Discharges

Research Paper (postgraduate) 2014 10 Pages

Environmental Sciences


Abstract: There has been necessary to assess the cumulative effects of pollution sources on the river rather only assessment of each human activity and project in isolation.Based on availability of data and time constraint, study of three valued environmental components river water quality, river flow and fluid plain was carried out. This study aims for assessing the cumulative impacts of point source discharges in river Ganga catchment from Haridwar to Garhmukteshwar (160 km) on these valued environmental components by using different methods such as for water quality, water quality modeling software QUAL2K, and for river flow, modified Tennat and Flow Duration Curve Shifting methods for the assessment of environmental flow in river stretch. While for flood plain valued environmental componentVEC, qualitative method (matrix method) have been used for assessment of cumulative impact of various activities on flood plain . The result shown that QUAL2Kmodel simulation for future prediction during non-monsoon period River stretch will be affected due to severe degradation of water quality at various sites. Environmental flow assessment using hydrological methods (modified Tennat Method and Flow Duration Curve Shifting Method) revealed that in months of lean flow river flows do not meet the requirement of minimal flow required to maintain the river environment in desirable state. Impacts on flood plain valued ecosystem component as another VEC shows that river flood plain was also severely affected.

Keywords: environmental component, river Ganga, cumulative impacts, VEC, QUAL2K.


The three major Indian rivers namely the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra originate from Himalayas of which Ganga basin covers the largest catchment areain India, the basin lies between East longitudes 73° 30’ and 89° 0’ and North latitudes of 22° 30’ to 31° 30’India (Status Paper, 200 9). It constitute 26% of the country's land mass (8, 61,404 Sq. km) and support about 43% of its population or 448.3 million (Census, 2001). Cumulative impacts are “impacts on the environment which results from the incremental impact of the action when added to other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions regardless of what agency (federal or non-federal) or person undertake such other actions” ( Council of Environmental Quality, 1997). Cumulative impacts can result from individually minor, but collectively significant, action taking place over a period of time.”Incremental impact of the action refers to the direct and indirect effects (impacts) of the proposed the action on resources, ecosystems, and human communities; also inferred is that such incremental effects from considering alternatives should also be addressed (Power, 1996). Cumulative effects can occur in various ways: physical-chemical transport, nibbling loss, spatial and temporal crowding, andgrowth-inducing potential etc.Valued Ecosystem Component (VEC) is an important component in CEs which meansany component or resource of the environment that is considered important by the proponent, public, scientists and government involved in the assessment process like indicator and thresholds values of Indicators (Canter and Atkinson, 2009). A cumulative effect assessment requires large number of variables and qualitative analysis mainly but has greater uncertainty associated with it. Due to rapid urbanization and faster industrialization, the abstraction of water from surface as well as ground together with waste water disposed in the river treated as well as untreated leads to the serious problem of pollution in the river Ganga. Though the individual impact of cities and industries are seen immediately near the stretch of river Ganga, their cumulative impacts needs to be studied and analyses. A number of studies regarding pollution aspects of river Ganga and its tributaries have been carried out by different workers from, Wildlife Institute of India (2012), Kota, S.K., 2012, Prasanta, K., 2013 etc.


Ganga River from Bhimgauda barrage (Haridwar) to Garhmukteshwar has been considered for the study .This study catchment has catchment area of 5690 sq. km. The study stretch lies between East Longitude 78° 10’ to 78°08 ’ North Latitudes 29° 57’ to 28° 46’. The length of stretch is 160 km. Barrage in study stretch are Bhimgauda barrage and Bijnor barrage. The Distance from Bhimgauda to Bijnor barrage is 82 km. The Population of stretch is 37.6 lakh (approx.).The figure 1 is the LULC Image of Study Catchmentunder study.

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Fig: 1 LULC Image of Study Catchment (source: own fig.)


Every development project or activity has impact on a number of parameters of environment. Some impact may be cumulative in nature and some may have only localized impact. This study includes assessment of cumulative impacts on river Ganga from Haridwar to Garhmukteshwar. Identified environmental components for present study are water quality, river flow, and flood plain environmental component. Basically there are two approaches for cumulative impact assessment project level approach and regional level approach. At project level we assessed the cumulative impacts of proposed projects on various valued environmental components. In regional level cumulative impact assessment we assessed cumulative impact of any activity or project on any environmental component at watershed level. Present study uses using regional level approach.The methodology adopted for present study consists of following steps:



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Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee – IIT Roorkee
cumulative impact assessment river ganga hardiwar garhmukteshwar focus point source discharges



Title: Cumulative Impact Assessment on River Ganga from Hardiwar to Garhmukteshwar with Focus on Point Source Discharges