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Diversion of fresh water from Odisha’s Brahmani river

Context:

Environmentalists expressed concern over the massive diversion of fresh water from the Brahmani river basin, which could pose a grave threat to the famous mangrove vegetation in Odisha.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Conservation), GS-I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Brahmani River
  2. About the concerns diversion of fresh water from Brahmani river

About Brahmani River

  • The Brahmani is a major seasonal river in the state Odisha of eastern India. The Brahmani is formed by the confluence of the Sankh and south Koel. Together with the river Baitarani, it forms a large delta before emptying into the Bay of Bengal at Dhamra.
  • The Brahmani is the second longest river in Odisha after the Mahanadi.
  • Apart from the Rengali dam there also exists a barrage called Samal Barrage. 
  • Near its mouth, the river is also crossed by the Odisha Coast Canal that takes water from it.
  • The Brahmani delta is the site of the Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary, famous for its estuarine crocodiles.

Recently in news: Odisha district only place in India with all 3 crocodile species, Bhitarkanika National Park 

About the concerns diversion of fresh water from Brahmani river

  • Environmentalists expressed concern over the massive diversion of freshwater from the Brahmani river basin, which could pose a grave threat to the famous mangrove vegetation in Odisha.
  • Mangroves grow in brackish water. Proportionate fresh water flow from the Brahmani river basin and the Kharasrota river keep the salinity level of the water along the shore down. The brackish water becomes ideal for the mangroves to grow and stay healthy.
  • Recently, environmental groups had drawn public attention on the excess water allocation for industries, which is likely to reduce fresh water discharge to the sea.
  • Stating that the lack of normal flow of fresh water would increase saline ingression upstream, the WSO secretary also said it would affect the local flora and fauna as well as the livelihoods of the farmers and fishermen dependent upon the Brahmani and the Kharasrota.
  • Besides, there could be a quantum increase in the man–crocodile conflict since the estuarine crocodiles would leave the core sanctuary area and migrate upstream once salinity increases.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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