Rivers of Uttarakhand

This report was commissioned for India Rivers Week 2016.  Its a short description and detail report of the same can be seen here Uttrakhand Rivers Profile

About Uttarakhand 

Geographical Location- North India largely mountainous with two plains and two partly mountain districts in  the south; Area- 53483 sqkm; Population- 10.12 million; River basins- 4 River basins (R. Ganga‘s basin is subdivided in the map below into R. Bhagirathi, R, Alaknanda and R. Ganga sub-basins); Districts-13Climate- Sub-tropical to tundra 

About Uttarakhand Rivers

The water quality of Uttarakhand‘s rivers is basically good, especially in the upper reaches. Downstream of some large settlements and in the lower reaches in the Himalayan foot hills the water quality suffers due to the release of untreated sewage and industrial effluents. But the state‘s ambitious program to build 450 hydro power projects threatens the survival of the river ecosystems and the lives and livelihoods of people who live  in these river valleys.

UK river map

  • Yamuna [Tons, Rupin, Aglar, Asan, Assi Ganga, Kamal Ganga]. Rivers Yamuna, Tons, and Rupin are threatened by a series of dams and barrages. The lower middle stretch of the Tons is already RED due to two large dams. The release of untreated industrial waste waters threatens the Asan. 
  • Bhagirathi [Jadh Ganga, Assi Ganga, Jalkur and Bhilangana]. The free flow of R. Bhagirathi is destroyed by a series of dams and barrages over a 100 km stretch. R. Bhilangana has two medium size dams on it and the lower reach is submerged by the Tehri dam.Jadh Ganga and Assi Ganga are threatened by proposed dams and barrages. 
  • Alaknanda [Dhauliganga (W)Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini]. The free flow of R. Alaknanda is affected below the Vishnuprayag barrage (25 km) and u/s of the Srinagar dam (25 km). Under construction HEPs threaten about 50% of the Dhauliganga (W) length. The Singoli-Bhatwari HEP affects 17 km length of the Mandakini. A few dams and barrages are to be built on the Pindar and the Nandakini.
  • Ganga Nayar, Song, Suswa]. R, Ganga‘s free flow is threatened by the Kotli-Bhel II project and the river is polluted d/s of Rishikesh. Nayar is drying up and Suswa and Song are threatened by pollution problems.
  • Ramganga (W) [GagasKosi]. R. Ramganga (W) is a healthy river above the Kalagarh dam just 3 km u/s from where it exits Uttarakhand. Gagas and Kosi rivers are drying due to reduced base flows and heavy extraction. 
  • Kaliganga [Dhauliganga (E)GorigangaRamganga (E)SaryuLadhiya]. R. Dhauliganga (E) and Goriganga will mostly dry up if all the proposed HEPs on them are built. The water quality of the Saryu is already threatened. 

A report by Ravi Chopra (rachop@gmail.com) & Aprajita Singh 


  • This report was commissioned for India Rivers Week 2016. 
  • The Uttarakhand  Drainage map has been put together by a WWF Team led by G Areendran, the names of the rivers have been provided by an INTACH Team led by Dr. Manu Bhatnagar.
  • The names in bracket represent the Key tributaries; RED color is for (Critical) status; BLUE is for (Safe) status and rest are PINK (Threatened) status.
  • Its a short description, for detail report kindly explore the link Uttarakhand Rivers Profile
  • You may also like to see rivers profiles for Rajasthan, West BengalNorth-East IndiaMaharashtra, Haryana States 
  • The same report can also be seen on SANDRP Blog 

One thought on “Rivers of Uttarakhand

  1. In addition to pollution the Song is a severely regulated river.
    The northern and southern Hinyul/Henwal must also be included. Despite free flow the Henwal is highly stressed at Shivpuri due to river rafting and camping.
    Impoundments besides preventing the free flow regulate flows daily for power generation resulting in varied hydrology below power house. Everyday for some hours there is dewatering followed by flooding which is erratic for biodiversity as their life-cycles are adapted to seasonal variations (not daily) in hydrology.


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