Writing about the Kosi water rejuvenation campaign, Dr Kapil Nayal, Lecturer, Government Inter College Hawalbagh, Almora, describes the measures being taken to restore the river. The campaign, which is being monitored and guided by the district administration Almora, headed by District Magistrate Almora N.S .Bhadauria, is aided by the team of specialists, headed by Professor J.S. Rawat , nodal officers of recharge zones, district level officers and teachers. Community mobilisation being carried out by the district administration to involve the local communities is a hallmark of this iconic project.
In India water from ponds, rivers and ground is used for domestic and agricultural purposes. Kosi River originates from Pinath near Kausani and flows to Someshwar. At Someshwar, Dhoni Gad and Bhutagaon Gad meet Kosi. Masterstreams Sim Gad, Patia Gad and Khul Gad join the river near Kosi town. The river then flows to Kwarab where another master stream Suyal joins it. From here, Kosi moves to Khairna, Simalkha, Baitalghat and then to Ramnagar in Nainital district. With 40 percent of Kosi bank area under cultivation, the river’s valleys are home to thousands of people and in recent years have become the subject of maximum anthropogenic exploitation.
The awareness campaign and mass mobilisation seem to be working successful as all stakeholders are working to the best of their capacity for river rejuvenation campaign. People have understood the value of water.
In recent times, the problems of Kosi have aggravated due to falling water level and degrading water quality. To address these issues, the district administration of Almora, with the help of specialists, has planned a detailed project for rejuvenation of the river.
Kosi River Rejuvenation Campaign
According to the plan, 14 recharge zones have been identified with one nodal office in each zone. Infiltration holes, trenches and check dams are being constructed at mass level with the help of local people of the area. Forestation is being carried at a large scale with the help of students, Eco Task Force, ITBP personnel, village people and various NGOs.
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Mass mobilisation programmes are being organised by district level officials, school teachers and administrators. Rallies, Kosi oath ceremony, chart and poster competitions are being organised at schools, block and district level regularly. Social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook are also being used for the awareness campaign.
The plan also takes into account taking measures for improvement of water quality. A study done in four sampling stations at Pinath, Kosi, Someshwar and Quarab showed a well-marked seasonal fluctuations in temperature of water .The pH of water from all sampling stations was within the recommended threshold limits. Monsoon season recorded the maximum amount of total dissolved solids and Toal suspended solids and total solids, the values are within the prescribed limits suggested by WHO.
High concentration of magnesium ions is recorded in the water. This is due to the presence of dolomite, magnesite and olivine in the catchment area. Hardness values differ significantly in different seasons. Water quality status and extent of pollution in Kosi is studied through an integrated effects of the concentration of the relevant water quality variables.
The awareness campaign and mass mobilisation seem to be working successful as all stakeholders are working to the best of their capacity for river rejuvenation campaign. People have understood the value of water. All recharge zones are being covered with dense forestation, infiltration holes and trenches. The success of the campaign has been underscored by other districts also taking river rejuvenation works on the same lines. We hope the coming generations in Almora would not face scarcity of water and the Kosi River will be rejuvenated to nurture life.