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All major rivers of India originate from one
of the three main watersheds:
1. The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges.
2.Vindhya and Satpura ranges and
Chotanagpur plateau in central India.
3.Sahyadri or Western Ghats in western India.
There are several rivers in India such
ishna, Kaveri,Tapti etc.
Let’s see about some important
Ganga rises in the western himalayas
The story of the Ganges, from her
source to the sea, from old times to
new, is the story of India's civilization
and culture, of the rise and fall of
empires, of great and proud cities, of
adventures of man…
Originating in the frozen heights of
the Himalayas, the river travels 1,600
miles across the teeming plains of the
subcontinent before flowing east into
Bangladesh and from there it spills
into the Bay of Bengal.
The River Ganges or
“Mother Ganga” as
people of the region
call it, is located in
the northeastern part
of the sub continent
The river emerges
fashion from an ice
cave under the
which is receding
by hundreds of feet
The Ganges River
India's longest river, the Ganges flows eastward from
its source in the snow-capped western Himalayas
across the plains of northern India until it empties into
the Bay of Bengal. During its 1,554 mile journey, the
Ganges passes through the Indian states of
Uttarakhand, home to the sacred city of Haridwar;
Uttar Pradesh, where the holy cities of Allahabad and
Varanasi (Benares) are located; Bihar; and Bengal,
home to India's cultural Calcutta (Kolkata). The
Ganges plain has been the birthplace of several
empires, including the Gupta Empire.
The Ganges River has always been known
as a religious icon in the world.
The Ganges River is over 1557 miles long
passing through Bangladesh and most of
The River is known as a spiritual center
because the people of India rely on the
river for most life functions in the area. .
Uses of the Ganges River
The uses in India for the river are
nearly endless; the main functions
of the river are Agricultural use,
Industry, as an energy source,
transportation, Drinking, bathing,
The river is one of the only sources
of water for the people of India who
can’t afford running clean water.
Dams on the Ganga
Dam diverting Himalayan snowmelt to Upper
Farakka Barrage diverts water from Ganges
into the Bhagirathi River
Caused dispute between Bangladesh and India
Ganges Water Treaty of 1996
Availability at Farakka Share of India Share of Bangladesh
70,000 cucecs or less 50% 50%
70,000-75,000 cusecs Balance of flow 35,000 cucecs
75,000 cusecs or more 40,000 cusecs Balance of flow
*Subject to the condition that India and Bangladesh each shall receive guaranteed 35,000 cusecs
of water in alternate three 10-day periods during the period March 1 to May 10.
The water from the Ganges River and the
surrounding soil are very good for
agricultural uses. The flooding of the river
greatly enriches the nutrient content in
Along the river there are also many
industries such as textiles, paper, leather.
They use the water for power, cleaning,
etc. Power, which is used by industries, is
also used by the common population.
Because India is very undeveloped and
does not have all the technology to
maximize the rivers electrical capacity,
the country of India only uses 20% of the
rivers potential capacity.
How Polluted is it?
The Pollution of
Sheer volume of waste - estimated at
nearly 1 billion liters per day - of
mostly untreated raw sewage - is a
significant factor. Also,
inadequate cremation procedures
contributes to a large number of
partially burnt or unburnt corpses
floating down the Ganga, not to
mention livestock corpses, at about
one every two hours at the Ganga in
It is used as a mass-bathing hole,
over 10 million people bathe in the
river daily, these people who have
diseases and very poor hygiene
cause for the pollution of this river.
This river is also used a baptizing
sanctuary, and burial hole. Babies
are baptized in the river because
they believe it cleanses the child.
They say it “cleanses the
When a person dies and is cremated
their remains are released into the river
for the same reason, because they
believe it cleanses the soul.
The Ganges is considered sacred, the terrestrial
home of the goddess Ganga, and has held a
vaunted place within the faith for centuries.
Hindus from all over the subcontinent make
annual pilgrimages to the many temples and
shrines located along its shores and believe it is
auspicious to drink, bathe, and, after death, have
their ashes scattered in the river.
Bathing in the Ganges is a purifying ritual that
is thought to wash away a penitent's sins, and
spreading one's ashes in the water upon death
may improve one's karma.
Where is it safe?
In Bollywood the waters of the
Ganges are clear and filled with fish,
but as they move on they become
polluted. By the time they pass the
industrial city of Kanpur, the waters
are oily and dead, fouled by industrial
byproducts and raw waste.
Middle Class Indians white water raft
down the Ganges
Saving the Ganges
Alarmed by the rising level of
pollution, the Indian authorities
launched an ambitious Ganga Action
Plan in 1986 to clean the river.
Narora nuclear power plant
discharges its waters into the Lower
Economy vs. Ecology:
That is the Question
· The Indian government has spent close to $140 million in
cleaning the Ganges, but environmentalists say there has
been no significant improvement in the quality of the water
in the river
· Indian officials in charge of the Ganges cleanup said the
Dutch aid would help complete the cleansing of the Ganges
to a point where the pollution would become negligible.
· Meanwhile treatment plants have been set up to ensure
industrial waste goes into the river only after being treated.
· One plant with the capacity to treat 5 million liters of water
daily is functioning while another with a capacity to treat 36
million liters will become operational soon.
However, the experts say the level of
pollution in the river has been
contained, even if it has not been
Meanwhile, the government is
planning to build more than 50 dams
and barrages to regulate the river-
flow, supply water and generate
power. The largest of them near Tehri
has already attracted controversy
amid concerns about safety and the