Assessment of river ecosystems and human-induced stress on hydrological regime – a case study of Gomti River Basin, India.

Friday 3 july 2015

12:45 - 12:48h at North America (level 0)

Themes: (T) Hydro-environment, (ST) Ecohydraulics and ecohydrology, Poster pitches

Parallel session: Poster pitches: 15F. Environment - Ecohydraulic

River and its floodplain offer multiple ecosystem services and deserve an integrated approach for their conservation and restoration. Conservation and protection of ecologically intact river-floodplain systems is extremely important and urgently needs integrated planning and management. This paper has adopted a, integrated approach to study the integrity of river ecosystems and the potential pressures on them. In the present study an attempt has been made to evaluate the potential impact of human-induced intervention on hydrological regimes of Gomti River, one of the important tributaries of the Ganga Alluvial Plain (GAP) in India aiming at an overall assessment of the status quo. LANDSAT satellite data of 1978 and IRS-1C/LISS-III satellite data of 2008 are compared to study the changes that have had happened in the basin resulting in increase in built up areas, decrease in forest and plantation cover and inland water bodies. Flow data from 1978 to 2012 is analysed to study the patterns of flow regime in the different segments of the river. Water quality assessment is done to study the quality of the water. The paper shows that over the years, the water source in the tributaries feeding the river Gomti has shrunk, reducing the flow in the river. A steady increase in developed land area due to rapid urban sprawl has occurred in recent decades, due to which forest cover and wetlands are decreasing, the river and floodplains are getting fragmented, the hydromorphology changed considerably and several tributaries are getting dried as a result of indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater. There is no flow in the initial 57 km stretch of the river with wide encroachment in active floodplains. Groundwater over-extraction to meet the demands of increasing population and intensive agriculture has led to reduction in base-flows and in some reaches even negative. Extensive land use changes in the GRB severely impact the river and floodplain connectivity, the impacts are already evident as several tributaries are getting dried during the non-monsoon months. Keywords: Gomti River Basin, floodplain, land use, water quality, river ecosystems

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