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Water crisis at 'sangam'

india Updated: May 30, 2010 15:41 IST
K Sandeep Kumar
K Sandeep Kumar
Hindustan Times
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Sangam - the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati revered by millions and the site for historic Mahakumbh held once every 12 years- seems to be under threat.

Ailing due to shortage of water for the past quite some years, the confluence has this year broken its 35-year-old record of lowest water level and recorded an alarming 70.60 metres- a contrast to even the 70.67 metres recorded at Chatnagh in 1975.

Chatnagh is around 500 metres from Sangam and is the closest point where the Central Water Commission (CWC) keeps a record of the river water level in Allahabad. The other two points are at Phaphamau and Naini.

The drop in the water level is a set back for many who despite the constantly falling levels were hopeful of an improvement in the situation owing to melting of ice on the Himalayan glaciers during the summers. However, now it has been established that the scene has not gotten better as expected.

The central monitoring agency- Central Water Commission-that is recording the daily river water levels for the past 35 years too has accepted that such a low water level at Sangam has not been recorded till date. As per the data, the water level at Sangam in 2004 was recorded at 71.04 metres and 71.05 metres in 2008 mainly owing to early rains.

The last year monsoons had itself given indication of tough times to come in future.

Last year, 77.480 metres of water level was recorded at Sangam which itself was one of the lowest of the 'Highest Water Level' recorded during the monsoons.

Superintending Engineer of UP Irrigation Department Umesh Sharma informed that the continuous falling water levels had resulted in the problem at Sangam. He said that owing to the low discharge of water in the Ganga had primarily resulted in the water level falling at Sangam, so much so, that the discharge during the summer months had halved during the past nine years.

This current trend is now leading to fears of Sangam almost becoming extinct with just Yamuna waters remaining where both the Ganga and the Yamuna can be seen flowing together today.