Tag Archive for 'Brahmaputra river'

India, China ink key accord on river information

Photo retrieved from: www.ooskanews.com

“The Memorandum of Understanding on trans-border rivers was inked after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the Great Hall of the People here.

According to sources, the agreement is a “major diplomatic achievement” as it is the first time that China has agreed to acknowledge India’s rights as a lower riparian state.

India’s consistent raising of the issue of China’s dam building activities on the Brahmaputra river, known as Yarlang Tsangpo in China, has helped in Beijing becoming more accommodating this time, they said.

This time the agreement takes into account the environmental concerns of India on the Brahmaputra, including the damage to flora and fauna due to China’s dam building upstream. Beijing says its dams are run of the river dams.

According to the agreement, the two sides “recognized that trans-border rivers and related natural resources and the environment are assets of immense value to the socio-economic development of all riparian countries”.

Both sides also agreed to flood-time exchange of hydrological data on 15 more days – from “May 15 instead of June 1 to Oct 15th”.

Advancing the date by 15 days, at a time when the melted glacier ice of the Tibetan plateau begins to flow downstream, is also a major achievement, the sources said.

“The two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation on trans-border rivers, cooperate through the existing Expert Level Mechanism on provision of flood-season hydrological data and emergency management, and exchange views on other issues of mutual interest,” the agreement states.

Read more: Daily News


The slow death of India’s Majuli Island

Photo retrieved from: www.aljazeera.com

“But for five decades, the river has been gnawing at the edges of this quaint island, slowly but steadily shrinking it from 1,250 square kilometers to one-third of its original size.

The river swells every monsoon, swallowing large chunks of land.

“I can never forget how hungry the river was that night. It swept away the entire village,” Mahanta says. She could only salvage some age-worn prayer books, tin roofs, bamboo poles and copper plates.

That was June 6, 2011. Since then, the Mahantas have been living in a community hall in an inland village; cane sheets and cloth are used to separate the sitting area, kitchen and bedroom.

Before his death at the age of 74, Tirtha Mahanta said: ”I am a broken man. The legacy of my forefathers disappeared in front of my eyes.” He wanted to rebuild the island and requested the government for land. “No one listens,” he said then.

Cultural hotspot

Majuli is located 350 kilometres from Guwahati, the capital of the northeastern Indian state of Assam. The island, with its many paddy fields, hyacinth-filled ponds, horse-drawn ploughs, migratory birds and cotton trees, is also the seat of neo-Vaishnavite culture, a monotheistic offshoot of Hinduism.”

Read more: Aljazeera


Regions where water disputes are fuelling tensions

Photo retrieved from: www.globalvoicesonline.org

“Disputes over water are common around the world, exacerbated by climate change, growing populations, rapid urbanisation, increased irrigation and a rising demand for alternative energy sources such as hydroelectricity.

Following are a few of the regions where competition for water from major rivers systems is fuelling tension.


India is home to three major river systems — the Ganges, Brahmaputra and the Indus — which support 700 million people. As an upstream nation, it controls water flows to Bangladesh to the east and Pakistan to the west. The Indus supplies some 80 percent of Pakistan’s irrigated land.

India and Pakistan are both building hydropower dams in disputed Kashmir along Kishanganga river. Pakistan fears India’s dams will disrupt water flows.

India, for its part, is concerned that China is building dams along the Tsangpo river, which runs into India as the Brahmaputra.”

Read more: Reuters


Concerns over India rivers order


Photo retrieved from: www.bbc.co.uk

“A supreme court order in India asking the government to link more than 30 rivers and divert waters to parched areas has sparked concerns in neighbouring countries.

Bangladesh says it would be hardest hit because it is a downstream country to two major rivers that flow from India.

New Delhi is yet to respond to the neighbouring countries’ reactions.

The multi-billion-dollar project was announced by the Indian government in 2002 but had since remained on paper.

Experts in Nepal say the country’s unstable political situation could open the door for India to build dams and reservoirs in Nepalese territory for the inter-linking project – known as the ILR.”

Read more: BBC


US Intelligence Report: Expect Water Wars Soon

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“A report released today on global water security from the Defense Intelligence Agency assesses that in next 10 years, water instability will be likely in “nations important to the United States”, and says that in the next decades, the use of water as a weapon will become more likely.

The report, which focused on the Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, Mekong, Jordan, Indus, Brahmaputra, and Amu Darya water basins, states that the availability of potable water will not keep up with demand without better water management.

While environmentalists have pointed to agroecology, food sovereignty and viewing water as part of the commons as a path towards responsible water management, the intelligence report sees biotechnology, agricultural exports and virtual water trade as the way forward.

Today, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who requested the report, commented on the report in a speech at the State Department, saying, “As the world’s population continues to grow, demand for water will go up but our fresh water supplies will not keep pace.” “These difficulties will all increase the risk of instability within and between states,” she said.”

Read more: Common Dreams


Encroaching Deserts Threaten Life Along Tibet’s Longest River

Photo retrieved from: www.trust.org

“Rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and excessive numbers of grazing animals are worsening desertification and drying up grasslands in western Tibet, says a Chinese geologist who has explored one of the region’s uncharted rivers.

Yang Yong said he had observed desertification in parts of the upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, and believes this could be caused by climate change as well as human activity.

The Yarlung Zangbo (also called the Yarlung Tsangpo) is Tibet’s largest river, originating in the west of the region. Along its 2,057 km (1,286 mile) length, it passes through India, where it is known as the Dihang and the Brahmaputra, and Bangladesh, where it is called the Jamuna.”

Read more: AlertNet


Will China’s designs on the Brahmaputra leave India parched?

“With climate change leading to the decreased inflow of water into the Himalayan rivers, water disputes among the countries sharing waters of the Himalayan rivers is expected to assume serious proportions in the years ahead.

Not long back, Sardar Asef Ali, an adviser to the Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, had remarked that the sharing of river water is a sensitive issue and it could trigger a war between India and Pakistan. Without mincing words, he said, “India will have to stop stealing Pakistan’s water as the latter will not hesitate to wage a war”. He also said that the Indus water treaty was a proper forum for resolving the water dispute between the two countries.

Against this backdrop, the most recent Chinese plan to diver the water of Brahmaputra to its Xinjiang provinces which is water deficient is a matter of concern for India. For an overwhelming proportion of the population in north eastern India is dependent on this river for its very survival.

Following a mounting concern in the political circles over the Chinese move, India’s External Affairs Minister SM Krishna informed the Indian Parliament in June that India will take up the issue with China after getting proper feedback on the Chinese plan on the Brahmaputra diversion project.”

Read more: DNA



Catastrophe looms unless China signs water-sharing agreement with India

Photo retrieved from: www.leftfootforward.org

“The new plans involve the diversion of water from the Brahmaputra to the upper reaches of the north-western Chinese province of Xinjiang which has recently experienced serious droughts.

The plans follow the announcement in 2010 that China is building a hydroelectric project near the ‘great bend’ in the Yarlung Tsangpo, as the Brahmaputra is called in Tibet. The hydroelectric dam is the biggest in the world and will have an electrical capacity almost half that of the UK National Grid.

The Brahmaputra originates in south-western Tibet and flows through southern Tibet, breaking through the Himalayas and into Arunachal Pradesh in India. It flows south-west through the Assam Valley then South through Bangladesh. It merges with the Padma River in the Ganges Delta, before emptying into the Bay of Bengal.

The river is hugely important for irrigation and transportation in the region, and is highly susceptible to channel migration. The lower reaches are sacred to Hindus.

The level of apprehension in India is particularly high because of China’s level of secrecy regarding water flows. China refuses to enter into any water-sharing agreement with its neighbours and in the past major dam building and diversionary projects have only become public when spotted on satellite pictures of the region.”

Read more: Left Foot Forward


KMSS declares crusade against construction of Subansiri dam

Protests at Subansiri Dam project. Retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org

“The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samity (KMSS) on Sunday declared a statewide crusade against Congress government’s decision to continue construction of the Lower Subansiri National Hydel Power project at any cost.

The announcement came after chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday talked about bringing back the barges carrying the turbines of the mega dam which were sent back by KMSS on their way to Gerukamukh.

Asking every individual of the state and organization to come under one roof to fight against construction of the the mega dam, KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi asked the Centre to declare the Brahmaputra river stretch as “neutral river zone” for the sake of protecting the riverine rights of the state and its bio-diversity.”

Read more: Times of India

INDIA – CHINA – TIBET The difficult relationship between India and China over the Brahmaputra River

Photo retrieved from: www.circleofblue.org

“China and India are facing growing needs for water,” Rev Nishant said. “Both these nations have limited water resources. However, the increasing use of water in agriculture and industry has lead to a tussle for water. The two neighbouring countries are entering a phase when water is scarce and if the water deficit grows at the same frantic pace, the economic growth of both countries may suffer.”

“China and India, the exporters of food, would become largely importers of food – an unfortunate turn that would add to the global food crisis. India has more agricultural land than China (160.5 million hectares against 137.1 million hectares), but most of the large Indian rivers have their source in Tibet. All major rivers of Asia originate from the Tibetan plateau, except the Ganges.”

“China now wants to implement projects to redirect water from rivers that flow from the Tibetan plateau. This would affect the flow of trans-boundary rivers into India and in other neighbouring countries. Dams, canals and irrigation systems can make water a political weapon. Even the refusal to share hydrological data at this juncture of crucial importance is equivalent to using water as a political weapon.”

Read more: Spero