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Glacial Lake Atlas of Ganga River Basin Released

Published: 5th Jul, 2021

The Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR, RD & GR) released the Glacial Lake Atlas of Ganga Basin.


The Department of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR, RD & GR) released the Glacial Lake Atlas of Ganga Basin.

  • The NHP –Bhuvan portal was also launched.


About the Glacial Lake Atlas

  • The present glacial lake atlas is based on the inventoried glacial lakes in part of Ganga River basin from its origin to foothills of Himalayas covering a catchment area of 2,47,109 sq. km.
  • The study portion of Ganga River basin covers part of India and transboundary region.
  • The Ganga River Basin Atlas is brought out under the National Hydrology Project (NHP).
  • The atlas is prepared with the efforts of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO under the National Hydrology Project (NHP).

National Hydrogen Project (NHP)

  • National Hydrogen Project (NHP) is a Central Sector Scheme implemented by the Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (DOWR, RD & GR).
  • Funding: It is funded by the Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (DoWR, RD&GR), Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India.
  • Objective: To improve the extent, quality and accessibility of water resources information and to strengthen the capacity of targeted water resources management institutions in India.

NHP-Bhuvan Portal

  • The NHP –Bhuvan portal is launched by the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC).       
  • NHP-Bhuvan Portal is a repository of information on the initiatives undertaken by NRSC under NHP with a facility to download the reports and knowledge products being developed by NRSC. 

 About Ganga Basin

  • The Ganges River originates in the Himalaya Mountains at Gomukh, the terminus of the Gongotri Glacier.
    • When the ice of this glacier melts, it forms the clear waters of the Bhagirathi River.
    • As the Bhagirathi River flows down the Himalayas, it joins the Alaknanda River, officially forming the Ganges River.
  • The Ganges River Basin is sometimes considered part of a larger river basin consisting of the nearby Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers.
  • Known as the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) River Basin, it is one of the largest river systems in the world.

River Basin

  • A river basin is a region that is drained by a river, such as the Ganges, and any of its tributaries.
  • This means that surface water and rainwater in the basin area flow into the nearby rivers.

Utilization of the Atlas

  • The atlas provides a comprehensive and systematic glacial lake database for Ganga River basin with size > 0.25 ha.
  • The atlas also provides authentic database for regular or periodic monitoring changes in spatial extent (expansion/shrinkage), and formation of new lakes.
  • The atlas can also be used in conjunction with glacier information for their retreat and climate impact studies.
  • Central and State Disaster Management Authorities can make use of the atlas for disaster mitigation planning and related program.

Glacial Lakes and Glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF)

  • The lakes receiving melting water from glaciers are generally known as glacial lakes.
    • A glacial lake is defined as water mass existing in a sufficient amount and extending with a free surface in, under, beside, and/or in front of a glacier and originating from glacier activities and/or retreating processes of a glacier.
  •  As glaciers retreat, the formation of glacial lakes takes place behind moraine or ice ‘dam’.
  • These damming materials are generally weak and can breach suddenly due to various triggering factors, leading to catastrophic floods.
  • Such outburst floods are known as GLOF.

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