Interview

Kosi River Project: Making Positive Impacts at Multiple Levels

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Vishal Mishra

The Kosi River Conservation and Rejuvenation project has made multiple positive impacts in many sectors—social, environmental and economic. With large plantation, there is an increased flow of water and there is an improvement in overall water retaining capacity of the catchment, says Vishal Mishra, a 2018-batch Indian Administrative Services officer who has done his MTech in Water Resources Engineering from IIT Kanpur, is currently undergoing a one-year-long district training in Almora.

As water resources engineer, what is your analysis of the Kosi River Conservation and Rejuvenation project?

After I joined Almora district administration, I came to know that the Kosi River Conservation and Rejuvenation project won the country’s top conservation award. After carefully studying the project, I found three important factors behind its success. The first factor is its comprehensive approach towards rejuvenating the river system, which is not just limited to the plantation of trees. Rather, it focuses on all crucial aspects that are important for reviving a river. For example, creating infiltration trenches, and check dams, etc. The second factor is the composition of the project’s dedicated team that includes all important stakeholders such as communities, NGOs, SHGs, schools, and all relevant departments and research institutes. The third factor is the excellent application of technology, whether it is at the analysis stage or the implementation stage.

In the future, some new technologies such as hydrological mapping, rainfallrunoff modelling, etc, can be utilised to ensure the success of the project.

What kinds of technologies are being used in the Kosi Rejuvenation project?

In this project, technology is being used at every stage—planning, implementation, and monitoring. At the planning stage, using GIS 14 different recharge zones were identified. Professor JS Rawat has done excellent work in this area and has been constantly providing his unwavering support. During the plantation and post-plantation stages, drone cameras are being used to monitor activities. Institutes like G B Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment  and Development are also working with the district administration at every stage of this project.

In the future, what other technological inputs can be used for a greater success of this project?

In the future, some new technologies such as hydrological mapping, rainfallrunoff modelling, etc, can be utilised to ensure the success of the project. In this regard, G B Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development will be procuring an instrument that will help us monitor the impact of efforts made so far in the Kosi project. Also, for monitoring water quality, samples will be taken from different points and analysed so that not just quantity but also quality should be monitored.

In your opinion what impact has this grand initiative made so far?

The project has made multiple positive impacts in many sectors — social, environmental and economic. With large plantation, there is an increased flow of water and there is an improvement in overall water retaining capacity of the catchment. Associated fauna is also getting protected. Communities are participating with great zeal and enthusiasm; as a result, it has become a new socio-environmental movement of Uttarakhand.

As almost everyone is contributing in this socio-environmental movement, what will be your role?

As I have some academic interest in field of water resources, being a part of the district administration I am going to have multiple roles. As part of the administration team, I will be playing an active role in upcoming plantation drives. As a researcher, this project will be the dissertation part of my assignment that will be submitted next year to Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration.

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