Skip to content Skip to navigation

Brahmaputra Basin: A neglected basin in India

Brahmaputra basin encompassing North East Region of India is one among the water rich basins in the world. Annual available surface water potential of the region (Brahmaputra-Barak basin) is 585.60 km3, which is 31.33% of the national potential. Surface water potential of Brahmaputra basin is highest of all the river basins in the country (11.54% more than that of Ganga basin). Annual groundwater potential of the region is 26.55 km3, which is 6.15% of the National potential. With geographical area of 7.3% of the total area of India, The basin houses 4.2% population. Annual available water resource of the basin is 31.33% of national potential. Per capita water availability in the Brahmaputra basin is 16589 cum per year, in comparison to national per capita availability is 2208 cum per year. The region has 751% of per capita availability of National average. Erosion potential is very high in the region because the basin is highly undulating and also experiences heavy annual rainfall of about 5100mm to 6400mm in Arunachal Hills and 2500mm to 5400 mm in Brahmaputra plains. As surface water flow through the region, it carries vast amount of sediment also, which is estimated as 735 MTon/year which is equivalent to 2.01 Million Tonnes of sediment everyday.


This vast amount of water is mostly unutilized and cause of flood during monsoon. For decades, hundreds of crores are spent on various plans and programmes for reducing the flood, which have very unfortunately proven to be not effective. One might wonder why all these effort are not functional properly. One of the root causes may be lack of proper hydro-meteorological data and other relevant catchment information while planning all the flood reduction (or control) works. Perhaps it would have been more effective if we had prepared flood reduction or control plans on catchment basis, which is not followed for some unknown reasons. All our plans are curative measures rather than preventive ones. A deeper analysis of the problem might lead us to the fact that there is lack of water resource inventory at catchment level for tributaries of Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. It is noteworthy to mention that these tributaries are responsible for majority of flood, which have their catchments in upper reaches in hills.


Another dimension of water resource related problem in the basin is mono cropping in agriculture. Most of the farmers in entire North East Region can not grow second crop due to non availability of water during winter months and depletion of ground water level. It is perplexing that having so vast amount of water farmers can not grow second crop. This is one of the most challenging task for water resource engineers of the region.


All these could be possible with efforts from R&D, academics, Govt. departments with proper and sufficient infrastructure for ground data collection and basic compilation for all necessary hydrological, meteorological and other relevant parameters. Central Water Commission (CWC) and India Meteorological Department (IMD) have great roles to play in this context. However, very unfortunately proposed restructuring of CWC has given least importance on the Brahmaputra-Barak Basin.


The proposed restructuring gives highest importance on Ganga and Krishna-Godavari basins as shown in the Tables below. Though Brahmaputra-Barak basin is richest in terms of surface water there are 129 hydrological stations whereas there are 360 stations in Ganga basin and 158 stations in Krishna-Godavari basin (32.22% of surface water potential of Brahmaputra-Barak basin) (Table2). Numbers of hydrological stations may suitably be increased in Brahmaputra-Barak basin so that all the tributaries are gauged in proper locations. It is also worthwhile to mention that Brahmaputra river has about 150 numbers of tributaries. These tributaries are not of stream order 1 but orders are up to 5-6. Therefore the number of stations may suitably increased. Owing to high rainfall and highly undulating terrain, stream frequency and drainage density are also very high in comparison to other basins of the country.


Proposed basin wise manpower allocation may also kindly be reviewed. It is observed that manpower proposal for Ganga basin is 2715, which is 273% higher than that for Brahmaputra-Barak basin. Manpower proposal for Krishna-Godavari basin is also 34.6% higher than that for Brahmaputra-Barak basin (Table3).


Financial implications for restructuring has also reflected similar picture. Proposals for Ganga, Brahmaputra-Barak and Krishna-Godavari are 10813.628, 2870.664 and 10417.388 Lakhs respectively (Table4).


Proposed number of basin offices for Ganga, Brahmaputra-Barak and Krishna-Godavari are 859, 259 and 684 respectively (Table5).


It would be scientific and logical if allocations of facilities, manpower and other resources are made proportionate to water resource potential. This will help in making inventory of water resources of hydro-meteorologically rich and sensitive North Eastern Region of India. Understanding hydro-meteorological characteristics of catchments of the tributaries will lead to plans for reducing flood and increasing water use efficiency.


Table1. Basin wise water Resource: (Km3/Yr)

































Basin



Ganga





Brahmaputra & Barak



Krishna



Godavari



Krishna & Godavari



Mahanadi



Surface Water



525.02



585.60



78.12



110.54



188.66



66.88



Ground Water



170.99



26.55



26.41



40.65



67.06



16.46



Table2. Basin wise hydrological stations:
























Basin



Ganga




Brahmaputra & Barak



Krishna



Godavari



Krishna & Godavari



Mahanadi



No of stations



360



129



73



83



156



34



Table3. Basin wise Manpower










































Basin



Upper Ganga



Lower Ganga



Ganga Total



Brahmaputra & Barak



Krishna & Godavari



Mahanadi & Eastern Rivers



Existing manpower



732



1334



2066



612



445



189



Required


manpower



1651



2408



4059



980



2252



868



Proposed manpower



1059



1656



2715



728



980



442



Table4. Financial implications for restructuring: (Rs. In Lakhs)






















Upper Ganga



Lower Ganga



Ganga Total



Brahmaputra & Barak



Krishna & Godavari



Mahanadi & Eastern Rivers



5396.144



5417.484



10813.628



2870.664



10417.388



5767.876



Table5. Basin offices after restructuring

































Upper Ganga



Lower Ganga



Ganga Total



Brahmaputra & Barak



Krishna & Godavari



Mahanadi & Eastern Rivers



Existing



174



111



285



163



125



73



Proposed



429



430



859



259



684



335



Data source for Tables2-5: Restructuring of Central Water Commission, (Volume: I &II), Published by Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India, New Delhi, May, 2011.

Author info

Benjamin Kaman's picture

Comments

Benjamin Kaman's picture

Suggestions/comments are invited on the proposal of "Restructuring of CWC", from various stakeholders so that their concerns can be taken care while finalizing the proposal. All are requested by CWC to send their views/suggestions in this respect by 30.9.2011 at the following email address (tcodte@nic.in)

Pages

Add new comment

Random Stories

Three NDFB militants arrested

22 Dec 2010 - 8:42pm | editor
Altogether 3 hardcore NDFB militants were arrested by the police in East Kameng district bordering Assam on Wednesday. The trio are suspected to be involved in the murder of eight Arunachal Pradesh...

Unauthorised collection of money prohibited in admissions

23 Jun 2016 - 4:48pm | Shajid Khan
The Udalguri DC Sadhana Hojai has prohibited any kind of extra or unauthorised collection of money from the newly enrolled students of HS and TDC 1st semester courses of Tangla College vide Order no...

Boost to Assam’s claim over Langpih; Courtesy Gauhati HC

15 Jun 2008 - 5:45pm | editor
The Assam Government’s claim over Langpih gets more teeth as the Gauhati High Court has asked the Meghalaya government to a compensate an amount of Rs 1 lakh each to three residents of the area...

JFA condemns scribe’s murder in Gujarat

24 Aug 2016 - 10:29am | AT News
Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA) strongly condemns the murder of a senior journalist based in Junagadh of Gujarat and asked the authority to nab the perpetrators and deliver justice to the victim...

Other Contents by Author

Community paddy transplantation is an age old practice in Assam, which has depleted to a great extent in the last few years. To counter this, all the 120 farm families of Majpara village of Goalpara district of Assam are continuing the tradition of community paddy transplantation in community land. This year it was done on morning hours of 3rd August, where both men and women of all the families participated in different activities of uprooting from seedbed, carrying to field and transplantation in a festive mood.
Gibbon is the only ape species found in Indian subcontinent. The uniqueness of Hoolock Gibbon is that it is found in only three countries in the world- South West China, North East India and East Bangladesh. Western Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock hoolock) and Eastern Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock leuconedys) are the two representatives of gibbons found in India. The third species Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon (Hoolock tianxing) is confined to South-Western China. Their distribution is restricted to the south bank of the Brahmaputra and East of Dibang river system in the northeast India. The western hoolock gibbon has the wider distribution of the two, occurring in seven states of the Northeast region, namely...
Krishi Vigyan Kendra Goalpara observed "World Soil Health Day 2016" at its office premises today on 5th December 2016 in technical collaboration with District Agriculture Office, Goalpara. Er. Tankeswar Rabha, Chief Executive Councillor, Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council and Mr. Dipak Kumar Rabha, MLA, 36 Dudhnoi LAC and the officers addressed the gathering farmers on various aspects of soil health.  
A district-level Art Exhibition in Jana Mandir, Dudhnoi is being held from October 8-11. Organsied by RTL Events, this is the first of its kind in the Goalpara distric, where fifteen artists from various parts of the district and over three hundred students of various schools have participated. A 3 Dimensional art of Goddess Durga was specially painted for the occasion. The event brought together fifteen artists to a common platform including Ghanakanta Rabha, Himdpita Kakati, Bandana Borthakur, Dhiraj Rabha, Ashim Roy, Debajit Guha, Kulen Khaklari, Gaurav Kumar Nath, Nitish Bhakat Brahma, Priyanka Tara Rabha, Hitesh Rajbongshi, Karan Khaklari, Disa Roy, Kangkana Das, and Chinmoy Das. The...
Chitrangkon Academy an Art School in Dudhnoi, Goalpara had conducted Summer Art and Craft Workshop in July 2014. 3D Art, a new form of art was introduced for the first time in Assam in this workshop by Mr. Ghanakanta Rabha an alumnus of Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan. 3D art was performed again in this years edition of the same workshop on 22nd July 2015. This years theme was "SAVE TREES TO SAVE THE EARTH". Co-artists included Himdipta Kakati, Dhiraj Rabha, Samudra Rabha, John Rabha. Deputy Commissioner of Goalpara district JVN Subramanyam, IAS, also attended the workshop and appreciated the noble works of the artists and encouraged the young participants. The 3D art was a part of a...
Agriculture is one of the earliest vocations for livelihood. Through ages, agriculture has gone through many changes and improvements. However, the transfer and adoption of advancements in agriculture and allied sectors in our region is far below National average. It is also important to note that agriculture and allied sectors employ major share of population (60% of India’s rural population in 2013-14) and therefore its modernization is the best possible way for sustainable socio-economic upliftment and also to create mass employment opportunities.  Today, agriculture is no more confined just to farm activities but has become an enterprise requiring lot of educated manpower for...
Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR, Dr. S Ayyappan inaugurates Administrative Building of KVK Goalpara in presence of Dr. S N Puri, VC, CAU; Dr. K M L Pathak, DDG, ICAR; Dr S V Ngachan, Director, ICAR RC for NEH Region; Dr. D K Sarma, Director NRC on Pig, Dr A K Gogoi, ZPD, Zone III, ICAR; staff, invitees and farmers on 26th March 2014 at Dudhnoi.
A field day was organised in Madang village, Dhanubhanga, Goalpara under the Front Line Demonstration (FLD) “Pitcher Drip Irrigation in Banana” by Krishi Vigyan Kendra Goalpara. One hundred and ten farmers from Madang and neighbouring villages gathered on the occasion. The programme began with a talk by Er. Benjamin Kaman on the pitcher drip irrigation technology. He stressed on irrigating Banana plants during winter months for enhancing production and the need of adopting drip for best use of water. This was followed by a talk on Banana cultivation technology by Mr. Biswajit Dey, SMS (Horticulture). He stressed on quality sapling selection, proper spacing and timely monitoring of the crop...
A three day long summer art workshop was organised by a leading art school, Chitrangkon Academy at Dudhnoi during  July 15-17, attended by nearly 80 students. Several artists from Goalpara district were resource persons in the programme covering various aspects of fine art. The programme was first of its kind in Dudhnoi and students are asking for more such programmes in future.
World Environment Day was observed Madang village in Dhanubhanga, Goalpara by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Goalpara with active participation of the farmers of the village. The day long programme consisted of a training on “Soil and Water Conservation”, a discussion on “World Environment Day”, a procession from the village to the crop field and finally ended with planting of 160 trees in the farmers field along the Deosila River.At the beginning of the session, Er. Benjamin Kaman discussed various aspects of soil and water conservation. He also discussed on maintaining ecological balance and need of the trees in the crop fields for supporting various birds which feed on insects. Dr. Hitu Choudhury...