change and dam building along the Brahmaputra River in Northeast India. It examines how the solution to climate change and as a form of sustainable development. LEARNING . population dependent on agricultural livelihoods ( ICC. ), and effort to meet India's growing energy demands, promote economic and. The Brahmaputra is one of the major rivers of Asia, a trans-boundary river which flows through . On the right bank, a second river called the Nyang Qu (Nyang Chu) meets the Tsangpo at Xigazê. . The course of the Brahmaputra River has changed drastically in the past two and a half centuries, moving its river course. Changes in the Ganga river system are likely to have a significant impact to quantify the impacts from a changing climate, population growth.
Brahmaputra river and people – SANDRP
Laupani is almost entirely populated by Nepalis, whose ancestors migrated from their mountain homes to the plains of Assam in search of a better life more than a century ago. Subhakar Subedi, the village chief, says farmers are experimenting with more flood resistant rice strains. Others are turning what land they have left into small tea gardens or vegetable plots. There are pools of stagnant water, left behind by last year's floods. They provide ideal breeding grounds for mosquitoes; malaria, says Subedi, is on the rise.
The government has erected flood defences in some areas. Aaranyaka locally based NGO, has joined forces with the Kathmandu-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development — the only transboundary organisation looking at development issues across the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region — to install a number of flood early warning devices along the Brahmaputra's banks. Subedi says the government in New Delhi should be doing more. The politicians come — especially now, at election time — and say they will help us.
But little happens — it's all wada, wada [promises, promises]. With its tea plantations and plentiful natural resources, including oil and coal, it was once one of the country's richest regions. Now it is one of the poorest.
Many people in the area feel cut off from the rest of India and neglected by central government. The tectonic and climatic context for the large water and sediment discharges in the rivers of Bangladesh was set by the ongoing subsidence in the Bengal Basin, combined with high rates of Himalayan uplift.
The control of uplift and subsidence is, however, clear. The courses of the Jamuna and Ganga Rivers are first-order controls due to the fact that they are most influenced by the uplifted Plcistoccnc[ clarification needed ] terraces of the Barind and Madhupur tracts. The attenuation of river flow due to the melting of snow in the river Brahmaputra basin affects the downstream discharge of the river.
This increase in discharge due to significant retreat of snow gives rise to severe catastrophic problems such as flood and erosion. Hydrology[ edit ] The hydrology of the Brahmaputra River is characterized by its significant rates of sediment discharge, the large and variable flows, along with its rapid channel aggradations and accelerated rates of basin denudation.
Over time, the deepening of the Bengal Basin caused by erosion will results in the increase in hydraulic radius, and hence allowing for the huge accumulation of sediments fed from the Himalayan erosion by efficient sediment transportation. Climatic change plays a crucial role in affecting the basin hydrology.
Throughout the year, there is a significant rise in hydrograph, with a broad peak between July and September. The Brahmaputra River experiences two high-water seasons, one in early summer caused by snow melt in the mountains, and one in late summer caused by runoff from monsoon rains.
The river flow is strongly influenced by snow and ice melting of the glaciers, which are located mainly on the eastern Himalaya regions in the upstream parts of the basin.
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- Brahmaputra River
The increased rates of snow and glacial melt are likely to increase summer flows in some river systems for a few decades, followed by a reduction in flow as the glaciers disappear and snowfall diminishes.
This is particularly true for the dry season when water availability is crucial for the irrigation systems.TWO-MINUTE TALKING POINT - What does population growth mean for climate change? by Laurie Goering
In the past, the floodplain of the old river course had soils which were more properly formed compared to graded sediments on the operating Jamuna river.
This change of river course resulted in modifications to the soil-forming process, which include acidification, breakdown of clays and buildup of organic matter, with the soils showing an increasing amount of biotic homogenization, mottling, coating arounds Peds and maturing soil arrangement, shape and pattern.
In the future, the consequences of local ground subsidence coupled with flood prevention propositions, for instance localised breakwaters, that increase flood-plain water depths outside the water breakers, may alter the water levels of the floodplains.
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Throughout the years, bars, scroll bars and sand dunes are formed at the edge of the flood plain by deposition. The height difference of the channel topography is often not more than 1m-2m.
Furthermore, flooding over history of the river has caused the formation of river levees due to deposition from overbank flow. The height difference between the levee top and the surrounding floodplains is typically 1m along small channels and m along major channels. Crevasse splay, a sedimentary fluvial deposit which forms when a stream breaks its natural or artificial levees and deposits sediment on a floodplain, are often formed due to a breach in levee, forming a lobe of sediments which progrades onto the adjacent floodplain.
Lastly, flood basins are often formed between the levees of adjacent rivers.
Flooding[ edit ] Flooded villages along the Brahmaputra During the monsoon season June—Octoberfloods are a very common occurrence. Deforestation in the Brahmaputra watershed has resulted in increased siltation levels, flash floods, and soil erosion in critical downstream habitat, such as the Kaziranga National Park in middle Assam.
India's Brahmaputra river: 'The flood waters are eating away at our land'
Occasionally, massive flooding causes huge losses to crops, life, and property. Periodic flooding is a natural phenomenon which is ecologically important because it helps maintain the lowland grasslands and associated wildlife. Periodic floods also deposit fresh alluvium, replenishing the fertile soil of the Brahmaputra River Valley. Thus flooding, agriculture, and agricultural practices are closely connected. Flood-control measures are taken by water resource department and the Brahmaputra Board, but until now the flood problem remains unsolved.
At least a third of the land of Majuli island has been eroded by the river. Recently, it is suggested that a highway protected by concrete mat along the river bank and excavation of the river bed can curb this menace. In fact flood control was one of the pretexts for hydro-development in the northeastern region. But the idea that multipurpose dams can lead to flood control along with hydro-power generation is actually contradictory and unviable as seen from experience of such projects.
Studies done on some of the biggest multi-purpose river valley projects of independent India, e. A number of these dams have actually created avoidable flood disasters in the downstream areas due to wrong operation of the dams .
In case of the mightly Brahmaputra river, this is likely to prove even greater disastrous considering its characteristics described above.
Today Brahmaputra valley is witnessing severe opposition against hydro-power dams. The struggle against the Lower Subansiri hydro-electric project can be regarded as milestone. In the Brahmaputra valley the hydropower projects have been opposed also because of the impacts which it will going to have in the downstream as well as on the biodiversity, seismicity, society and culture of one of the most ecological sensitive areas.
Even though this independent board was established to better manage the flood and erosion problem of the two river basins, but its activities have come under severe public criticism.
Recently international funding agency Asian Development Bank ADB has come to be associated with flood and erosion control in the Assam but from the experiences of Bangladesh, the advent such agencies must be dealt with precaution. Brahmaputra Valley as the Point of Confluence for People and Cultures The Brahmaputra is a dynamic river whose dynamism is not only limited to its physical characters or features of the river, but immersed in social, political, economic and cultural aspects.
The Brahmaputra valley has been the space of assimilation for people from different races and the one can find large variety of languages and dialects being spoken in this valley. The northeastern region falls under the Brahmaputra and Barak River basin  which is home for more than separate tribes, scheduled tribes and over other tribal and sub-tribal communities and groups, speaking a wide range of languages Climate Change in India: In this region one can find languages belonging to three language families — Indo-Aryan, Sino-Tibetan and Austric.
Bogibeel, the fourth bridge on Brahmaputra is under construction between Dhemaji and Dibrugarh district. People of Assam have faced difficult times when the river has come to its full strength. But this river is also the source of strength for the people of Assam. For another legendary cultural icon, Dr. This blog is a small step to document the various aspects of the river Brahmaputra.
It is the need of the hour since a flood of dams are proposed to submerge the Brahmaputra valley. Chinese plans of dam construction is not very much in the public domain but the impacts of dam construction of in the upstream Tibet will have severe impacts on the Brahmaputra river. Besides, the bogey of Chinese threat to divert the waters of Siang is used by the Indian government to push for rapid dam construction sidelining all the social, environmental, safety, sustainability, climate change concerns and impacts on the river ecosystem.
The government very shamelessly has also put aside all the democratic processes to push for rapid dam construction. Though there is no proposal for a dam on the Brahmaputra in Assam, there are proposals to dam its major upstream tributaries.