A senior official said the center plans to set minimum flow limits for water in various tributaries of the Ganges such as the Yamuna for continuous flow, ensuring its cleanliness. In 2018, the National Ganga Clean-up Mission (NMCG) issued a Notice of Electronic Flow for Ganga, which indicates the quality, quantity and timing of water flows required to maintain the components, functions, processes and resilience of river ecosystems that provide goods and services to people. Along the same lines, NMCG is now planning to set minimum water flow limits in various tributaries of the Ganges like Yamuna to have a continuous flow to ensure its cleanliness, said NMCG Director General Rajiv Ranjan Mishra.

“Determining the minimum flow of water has helped us to maintain the continuous flow of the Ganges. Furthermore, to maintain a minimum flow of tributaries of the Ganges such as the Yamuna and other rivers, the NMCG is in the planning stage to provide technical and analytical support by carrying out a detailed assessment based on Evidence for environmental fluxes, where a significant modification of the flux regime occurred after human interventions”. Mishra said the planned intervention is in the proposal development stage for a study to assess ecological flows in critical tributaries of small rivers and tributaries of the Ganga river system.

He also said that the NMCG is working on enumerating the floodplains within 10 km of the Ganges by creating inventories and developing an integrated basin management plan to promote the recharge of groundwater and other water bodies, which will ultimately contribute to the clean-up and maintenance of the continuous flow of the Ganga River. Wetlands are an intrinsic part of the Ganges Basin and it is important to protect, preserve and rejuvenate them for the overall development of the Ganga River. Wetlands act as a natural treatment system, which removes toxic materials to discharge into the river system, besides, they act as a carbon sink, home to biodiversity and aquatic life, and keep rivers flowing, keeping them alive. “Within the NMCG program, wetlands are treated by distinguishing them into two categories, i.e. floodplain wetlands and urban wetlands. Floodplain wetlands are those located near rivers and urban wetlands are those in cities or urban areas. Urban wetlands are usually at greater risk due to the encroachment and construction that takes place on wetland sites.”

He said that for urban wetland management, the NMCG collaborated with the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) to develop a toolkit for local stakeholders – “Urban Areas: Wetland Management Guidelines.” The toolkit presented the Bhagalpur Wetland case of lost bodies of water over the decades and how they relate to other rivers such as the Champa River. He added that the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has circulated the Urban Managers Guidance Toolkit to all cities and rivers located on the banks of rivers or lakes. Mishra said NMCG is working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to expand organic farming and agroforestry in Ganga states to boost farmers’ income, improve water use and diversify crops. “Actions have been taken to cover organic farming, horticulture, agroforestry, and water conservation in an area of ​​five kilometers along the Ganges basin, which is scheduled to cover approximately two hectares of hectares in the next five years.” In the first phase, the total land area covered for organic farming across the basin states amounted to 23,840 hectares, and increased to 1,03,780 hectares. In the second phase, the organic farming interventions are expected to benefit more than 18 farmers in the states of the Ganga Basin.”

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