Hyderabad: Climate change could seriously affect the water
quality and quantity in the Indian rivers due to extreme events like
floods and droughts, seawater intrusion and anthropogenic
contamination, warn city scientists.
They feel that there is an urgent need of generation of new data and
aquifer modeling of river basins in India for proper understanding of
the effects of climate change on large water bodies. As part of the
drive, eminent earth and water scientists from around the world will
soon converge on the city-based National Geophysical Research
Institute (CSIR-NGRI) where they will gain a better understanding of
the evolution of these river systems, both in recent and geological
According to NGRI senior scientist Dr S Masood Ahmad, “potential
effects of climate change on river basins indicate that construction
of dams or anthropogenic contamination on large river basins like
Godavari will require significant management intervention to protect
ecosystems and people, who are mainly dependent on these river basins.”
Stating that as many as 135 million people inhabit in the river basins
of Godavari and Krishna, Dr Masood Ahmad said the Krishna-Godavari
(K-G) and Kaveri basins present very fascinating examples of
hydrogeological and ecological settings. The process of precipitation,
recharge and storage as well as hydrodynamics of water flow of these
rivers remain quite ambiguous and require detailed investigations due
to the changing climate.
“Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri have experienced dramatic changes in
flow due to the construction of dams, anthropogenic contamination and
other development activities. However, the impact of climate change on
south Indian rivers is relatively less compared to the Himalayan
rivers like Ganges. Water discharge in south Indian rivers is
dependent on monsoon rainfall, whereas Himalayan rivers have
significant contribution from the melting of snow,” he added.
Global warming therefore has more influence on Himalayan rivers with
frequent floods and droughts than South Indian (Peninsular) rivers.
Climate change is expected to reduce the discharge of snow and ice
melt water in Himalayan large rivers (like Ganges, Brahmaputra, Indus
and Yangtze), which is very essential for food security of millions of
people in Asia.
He said it has been demonstrated by recent studies that the world will
experience changes in the river discharge with some major rivers will
have significant increases in flood flows, while other river basins
may experience drastic reduction in water flow.
“We plan to conduct a group effort to use sedimentary archives, both
onshore and offshore, to trace the evolutionary history of Asian big
river systems,” Dr Masood Ahmad said.
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