Fed by Dudhatoli forest range, the Ramganga West and Nayaar East and West in Uttarakhand are perennial rivers of immense scenic beauty amid emerging and looming threats. This photo blogs highlights some of the charms and concerns of these non-glacial rivers of the Ganga Basin.
Travelling along Ramganga, from Bhikiyasain-Almora to Mehalchauri-Chamoli (about 90 kms)
Interactive google map of Ramganga river.
Through Nayaar Basin Now: Peethsain to Satpuli via Chaubattakhal (about 130 km)
This is Byasi stream, a tributary of East Nayyar rising from buffer area of Dudhatoli forest. Local people are seen breaking the boulders at the bottom of image. The river stones are used in a wide range of construction activities. A water mill (Gharat) is also visible in operation upstream. There are few other perennial streams supporting watermill running round the year, the only source of grinding grains in the area. The stream in last week of May 2020 saw a flash flood and since then rainfall has been low. (Bhim Singh Rawat/ SANDRP)
On May 28 several parts of #Uttarakhand received heavy rainfall. A video shared by Ranveer S Bisht shows flash flood in a small stream of Byasi village in Thailisain Block, Pouri. The stream feeds E Nyaar & supports a mini hydel seasonally, a water mill visible in video yr round. pic.twitter.com/QUa0ocgsDt
The Ramganga and Nayaar rivers are significant part of National River Ganga. Fed by forest the rivers are rich in scenic beauty and aquatic and riparian biodiversity essentially serving large number of population with drinking, irrigation water, food, fish and minerals. They are among crucial abode for critical Mahseer fish.
The rivers are facing several existing threats while more are emerging including inattention by authorities. They are under pressure from unabated soil erosion primarily happening because of forest degradation, road widening and construction projects throughout the basin.
With changing farming practices and life style the demand for water abstraction from the rivers and streams feeding them is steadily on the rise, while local people share that overall water level in the rivers have declined over the years. The rampant disposal of solid, liquid waste into rivers has been affecting the aquatic life and water quality which needs to be studied and addressed in time bound manner.
Similarly the spread of invasive weeds is posing threats to riparian flora and fauna. The impact of excessive riverbed mining on the river eco-system and livelihood of local people are not yet being looked into or understood. And the climatic threats omnipresent across the basin can no longer be ignored.
Note The Ramganga West and Nayaar East and West rivers originate from Dudhatoli forest range in Uttarakhand from a height of about 2400 metres from mean sea level. The dense forest patch comprises of about 25 km long stretch in the border districts of Pauri and Chamoli Garhwal.
Known as Pamir (paradise) of Uttarakhand, Dudhatoli jungles are also source of many forest-fed perennial streams and seven non-glacial rivers including Ramganga and twin Nayaar rivers. While east and west Nayaar flows from the western side of Dudhatoli, the Ramgnaga (west) rises from the east direction. (The origin of Ramganga East is Namik glacier in Pithoragarh district and merges into Saryu river at Rameshwar near Ghat, Pithoragarh.)
All the three forest rivers flow perennially and feeds the National river Ganga. While about 190 km long Nayaar rivers merge together at Satpuli town in Kotdwar then flowing as single river to join Ganga at Vyas Ghat in Rishikesh, the Ramganga west runs a length of 596 km flowing through Uttarakhand and Bijnor, Moradabad, Rampur districts of Uttar Pradesh finally meeting Ganga in Hardoi district.
To know more about Ramganga West and Nayaar Rivers, please see SANDRP’s earlier blogs: