Country : India
State : Uttar Pradesh
City : Varanasi; Banaras; Benaras; Kashi
Area : 2,535 km2 (2011 census)
Population : 3,676,841 (2011 census)
[excluding a daily floating population of approximately 2-3 Lakhs]
Sex ratio : 913 per 1000
Literacy Rate : 75.60%
Average yearly rainfall : 1113 m
River : Ganga
Stretch of Ganga in Varanasi : 6.5 km
1450 km in Uttar Pradesh, with an additional 110 km in the boundary between Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
[of a total of 2,525 km stretch in India]
Number of Ghats/Riverfront Areas : 86
A riverfront is the zone of interaction between an urban settlement and a river. The
riverfront area is, in essence, the river bank(s) on or near which the city/town is located.
The city of Varanasi is located in the middle Ganga valley of North India, in the Eastern part of Uttar
Pradesh, along the left crescent-shaped bank of Ganga.
The riverfront forms the eastern edge of the city. Ganga flows northerly in a crescent shape for
about 7 km and the city has grown on the left bank in a circular form around it. The area along the
right side is a flood plain, preserving the natural ecosystem.
The average height of the city
from mean sea level is 77 m –
around 72 m in the south along
the Assi stream, and 83 m at the
high ground near the confluence
of the Varana to the Ganga in the
north (known as Rajghat
The city proper is built on a high
ridge of kankar (lime concretion)
that forms the left bank of Ganga
for a distance of 5 km, being
quite above normal flood level.
The holy curve
The Ganga is especially sacred in Varanasi where
its course towards the Bay of Bengal suddenly
This unique directional change of the river
course led to the development of the ancient
city of Kashi, on the west bank of the river,
facing the rising sun.
Only in Varanasi does the Ganga flow in a
crescent shape meander from south to north
This peculiar shape is a result of fluvial process through which the coarser sediments get
deposited on its western bank between Rajghat in the north and Samne ghat in the south.
Between these two points a hillock-like geological feature, called natural levée, has formed. It is
a 60 m bed of clay with coarse-grained sand, limestone concretion (kankar) and gravel. This
peculiar geological formation changes the flow of Ganga in a half-circular shape.
This sharp-bend meander is only observed in Varanasi throughout Ganga’s course
→ symbolically described as the crescent moon on the forehead of Lord Shiva.
Riverfront Heritage Zone, Core Heritage Zone = densely populated (above 500 persons/ha)
Eastern bank = a wide sand belt
Beyond the sand belt is a protected green belt of trees within which lies a reserved area
for turtle breeding. The sand is utilized for construction purposes and during winters, a
portion of the sand belt is used for vegetable and melon farming.
Uttar Pradesh Jal Nigam Reports
1. Status of Varanasi Urban water supply as on 01/04/2005
Note: mld = million litre per day
Production of waste water (mld) – 309.0
No. of STPs constructed – 3
Total capacity of STPs (mld) – 101.8
% of waste water treated – 33
No. of drains – 27
Discharge of drains (mld) – 309.80
Sewage diverted (mld) – 125.00
STPs proposed under GAP Phase II – 4; capacity (mld) – 208.00
2. Status of non-core activities (proposed and completed) under river action plan phase I
Low cost sanitation – 3
Crematoria – 1
Development of Ghats – 4
3. Financial status of river action plan
Schemes completed under phase I – 13; cost – 36.81 crore
Schemes proposed under phase II – 5; Approved schemes – 4; cost – 43.92 crore
Uttar Pradesh State Ganga River Conservation Agency (UPSGRCA)
Progress Report, July 2014
1. JICA Assisted GAP II, Varanasi:
construction of 1 STP of 140 MLD capacity
2 Sewage pumping station
205 community toilets
10 dhobi ghats
laying of 18 km sewer line
Total cost of project – 496.90 crore
Sanctioned by GOI on 14/JUL/2010
Scheduled date of completion – JUL 2015
2. Development of Area around Assi Ghat, Varanasi:
Riverfront development works at Assi Ghat which improve construction of –
11 toilet blocks
7 urinal blocks
6 change rooms
4 drinking water fountains
2 wash towers
10 food and crafts stalls
Total cost of project – 27.28 crore
Sanctioned by GOI on 29/MAR/2011
Scheduled date of completion – MAR 2013
The mode of waste water disposal in Varanasi occurs mainly through irrigation and through
the Assi Nallah than opens into the river Ganga.
Under the Ganga Action Plan Phase 1 (GAP-1), 1985, Sewage Treatment Plants (STP) that were
constructed and are functioning in Varanasi -
Varanasi-Bhagwanpur STP [Bhgwanpur abbreviated henceforth as BHU]
Varanasi-SPT-DLW STP [DLW = Diesel Locomotive Works; SPT = Sompeta]
These Sewage Treatment Plants are all of the Activated Sludge Process (ASP) treatment
The performance of the STPs at DLW and Bhagwanpur were found satisfactory with almost all
the units in operation. The Dinapur and Bhagwanpur STPs are overloaded, while the STP at
DLW is under loaded.
Performance of these 3 Sewage Treatment Plants
COD = Chemical Oxygen Demand
BOD = Biochemical Oxygen Demand
TSS = Total Suspended Solids
STP Raw Waste Water (mg/L) Treated Waste Water (mg/L)
COD BOD TSS COD BOD TSS
147 42 132 53 19 43
275 120 304 94 28 72
90 28 86 40 10.5 60
Percent (%) Reduction of COD, BOD and TSS in each STP -
STP Type COD BOD TSS
Varanasi-BHU ASP 66 77 76
Varanasi-Dinapur ASP 64 55 67.5
Varanasi-DLW ASP 56 64 30
Factors that need to be taken into account while planning and managing a
1) Land side issues – site preservation, orientation, scenic views, vegetation,
drainage, runoff control systems, limiting non-point pollution sources, solid
waste management, etc.
2) Technical and Financial Assistance - agencies and Grant Programs, community
development blocks, growth management implementation, NGOs, etc.
3) Water quality assessment and management – sewage treatment plants, waste
water disposal mechanisms, solid waste disposal, grey water management,
green water harvesting, etc.
4) Environmental considerations – point and non-point pollution sources, natural
water bodies, aquifers, ecosystems, etc.
5) Cultural and Religious aspect – ascribed holiness, national standing in terms of
piety, significance in Hindu life, potentialWorld Heritage site, etc.
6) Legal systems and existing customary rules and rights, public access, etc.
7) Climate, topography, etc.
Conditions of Working STPs in Varanasi
Dinapur STP (1994)
• Location :- North-east of Varanasi.
• Capacity:- 80 millions litres per day (MLD).
• Waste water:- Both industrial and sewage water is taken to the STP.
• Treated waste water is used for irrigation downstream, which is highly toxic in nature.
• During power failure untreated water is directly used for irrigation.
• It is running at 1/3 of its capacity.
Bhagwanpur STP condition:
• Location:- south of Varanasi.
• Capacity:- 70 millions litres per day (MLD).
• Both sewage and storm water is taken to the STP.
• During monsoons all sewage pipe lines over flow
• many pipelines have become choked.
Problems (elements that can be stated responsible )
1. Governance problem
2. Infrastructure problems (like ageing infrastructure, chocked sewage pipe
line etc. )
3. Electrical power supply
4. Cultural and Religious aspect
5. Involvement of different stakeholders
6. Old technologies
7. The underground sewerage system was established in 1917.
Factors to be considered in river front management
1. Land side uses:-
• River bank development (like Ghats infrastructure, soil erosion, illegal mining etc. )
Technical and Financial Assistance
1. Advanced IntegratedWastewater Oxidation Pond System (AIWPS).
• Fecal coliform bacteria removal mechanisms.
• Based on operational simplicity, low cost and high removal efficiencies (99% BOD5,
suspended solids and coliform bacteria removal).
• very important advantages such as very low energy and land requirements.
2. Ghat Interceptor Sewer.
• This will collect sewage from outflows that are currently going into Gangaji and
convey this by gravity to an AIWPS sewage treatment plant.
1. Without the river and its floodplains the riverfront reserves would not exist.
2. It provides habitat and food resource for a freshwater fauna including fish, turtles,
water birds and etc.
3. The flood plain is host to a large no. of native plants species and provide breeding
and nursery area.
4. A healthy and diverse assemble of native plants and animals ensure a functioning
ecosystem and contribute to good water quality and healthy soils.
Floodplain Management Strategies
• Because floodplains have attracted people and industry, a substantial portion
of this country’s development is now subject to flooding.
• Restoring and preserving the natural resources and functions of flood-plains.
• Development and redevelopment policies on the design and location of
public services, utilities and critical facilities.
• Develop projects that control floodwater.
Cultural and Religious aspect
• It has been realised that the cultural and natural heritages are increasingly threatened
by destruction not only due to the traditional causes of decay, but also by changing
social and economic conditions.
• Religious by-products (like waste products of puja, bathing soaps, opposing views and
Varanasi’s way forward
Better STP technology designs
Better maintenance of pipelines, drain covers etc.
More vigilant and effective monitoring, assessment and research
Improvement of the urban sewerage system (ageing infrastructure)
Involvement of various stakeholders at different levels
Ghats development while upholding religious sentiments; striving to attain for
Varanasi the deserved status of World Heritage site.