No info from China on Pareechu river flow, water commission seeks MEA help
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No info from China on Pareechu river flow, water commission seeks MEA help

China stopped sharing information about the tributary’s flow last year, saying the water monitoring site across the border is damaged.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2018 14:23 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Shimla, Hindustan Times
Pareechu river,Water flow,River flow
A damaged road due to the flood in the Sutlej in Kinnaur district in 2005. (Photo courtesy: HP government)

It’s been a year since China shared information on the flow of the Pareechu, a tributary of the Sutlej river originating from the Tibetan Autonomous Region, raising concerns in the Central Water Commission that has now sought the external affairs ministry’s help to assess its hydrology.

Commission regional director AK Gupta said, “We wrote to the ministry 10 days ago. China stopped sharing information about the tributary’s flow last year. They said that the water monitoring site across the border is damaged.”

The commission has two monitoring stations -- one at Chumar near Leh and the second at Sumdoh in Lahaul and Spiti district, at the confluence of the Sutlej and its main tributary, the Spiti river. The flow is also monitored at Khab where the Sutlej has been dammed to generate 1,500 MW of power for the Nathpa-Jhakri hydel project.

The Himachal Pradesh government constantly monitors the flow in the Pareechu through its department of science and technology. The lakes formed in the catchment areas of rivers originating from Tibet are monitored using satellite imaging.

Surging threat

Pareechu wreaked havoc on June 26, 2005, when a glacial lake was formed after its course breached. The lake, the size of 20 football grounds, burst, flooding the Sutlej. The water washed away the strategic Hindustan Tibet road or National Highway 22 at a number of places. Ten bridges and 11 ropeways were swept away. Fifteen bridges were damaged on the 10-km stretch of the highway between Wangtoo and Samdoh alone.

Though no loss of life was reported, 5,000 people were evacuated under the army’s Operation Varuna. The total loss due to flooding was Rs 800 crore.

Pareechu originates in India and meanders through China-occupied Tibet before merging into the Sutlej at Sumdoh.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 14:23 IST