Rivers in India – UPSC GS1

What do you understand by river regime? Explain the differences between river regimes of peninsular rivers and the Himalayan rivers. (200 Words)

The pattern of the seasonal flow of water in a river channel over a year is known as river regime.
There are striking differences between HR and PR river regimes as listed below:
  1. Origin/Source : The HR are fed by both glaciers and rainfall and are thus perennial in nature. The peninsular rivers are fed by rainfall only and thus rain dependent.
  2. Catchment Area and Max. flow: Large catchment areas of HRs ensure the maximum flow during the rainy seasons and their maximum flow is far greater than that of the PRs.
  3. Variations: Owning to the huge variations in the rainfall in the peninsular plateau, the regimes of different PRs vary widely whereas almost all HRs maintain a sizeable flow.
  4. Gradual increase/decrease in flow : Ganga (HR) has a minimum flow during Jan/June and max. flow during Aug/Sept. and gradual steady fall afterwards, whereas Narmada (PR) has very low flow from Jan-July and a sharp rise in August and again a sudden fall in October.
What are the major differences between Peninsular rivers and the Himalayan rivers of India? Do you think linking of peninsular rivers with the Himalayan rivers is a feasible idea? Examine. (200 Words)
The Himalayan Rivers rise at high elevations and are fed by the eternal snow of the Himalayan glaciers. The Deccan Rivers rise at much lower heights in the Western Ghats
and other mountain ranges and are rainfed.
The Himalayan rivers flow through young topography, and as they emanate from great heights, their erosive power is more. They frequently change course and are
continuously shaping the valleys through which they flow. The peninsular rivers flow through comparatively more stable land and channels through which they flow have
already reached base levels.
Linking Rivers:
India has 18% of world population, and only 4% of water resources. The river is an integral part of human settlements, their lives, landscape, society, culture, history and
Merits of Linking:
  1. Large water resources are unevenly distributed so waters can be managed.
  2. Flood Control by creating dams, reservoirs, etc. possible
  3. Power generation is possible, by mini – hydro plants and Solar plants floating of surface waters.
  4. Employment generation, growth in Inland waterways.
  1. By spending 50 % of GDP it can take 10 – 15 years in completion, so it will make water more costly.
  2. Loss of Flora and Fauna
  3. Thousands of acres land acquisition is practically impossible, it can create human resettlement issues, and loss of cultural habitats.
So, though Supreme Court has ordered to inter-link rivers, and government is showing interest in it, I shall suggest taking enhanced water conservation measures instead of going forward with river – linking project.


Write a critical note on river pollution in India and the measures taken by the Union government to clean polluted rivers. (200 Words)
Rivers, often termed as the arteries of the countries are important source of Livelihood , habitat to different people organism. However pollution levels has caused the havoc on life of rivers
Ways of River pollution
  • run off from the farms/agri fields, Such contains the Fertilisers causes the Eutrophication
  • Increased level of Chemical also enters the living organism and multiplies causing bio magnification
  • Various fertilisers which enter the rivers get disturbed by the Deep river fishing , causing the articles to move up and causes decreased level of transparency , thus death of many organism at the bottom
  • increased pollution also affect the Health of marine lives
  • Namami Ganga , Ganga action plan , Maile Yamuna Plan
  • Swachh bharat kosh to be exempted from 80G IT 1961
  • Removing/penalising the tanneries ,distilleries , who do not follow the water disposal procedures
  • New EMLA,NEMA,SEMA which will replace Air ,water act which had various hard provisions/punishment for polluters seldom used/awarded
  • DBT will ensure fund directly to farmer rather fertiliser subsidy , which will be efficiently reduced lowering the surface run off
  • Various Codes in plantation like PPC by tea board to ensure safe chemical to be used in activities of cultivation
  • Use of Solar Powered Insecticides which kill the pests rather fumigating them on plants ultimately gets mixed to the soil, water->> river.
Arteries shall not be blocked with dumped water as it may cause heart attack to the centre


Examine the advantages and disadvantages of erosion, transportation and deposition process of rivers  from a human point of view. (200 Words)
Rivers transport the eroded material downstream. It is a natural process.
  1. formation of alluvial plains. These plains add prosperity to the regions.
  2. Energy fields were formed due to deposition of organic material over a long run (formation of coal fields in river valleys, shale gas fields at river mouths can be example for this).
  3. Rejuvenation of rivers. Rivers are thus immune from pollution.
  4. Scenery and tourism- things like great canyon are formed due to this natural process.
  5. Natural washes out of soil salinity and alkalinity from the river basin region.
  1. erosion in the upper course of the stream- this makes mountain regions increasingly infertile. Laterite soils are thus formed on the top of mountains.
  2. Health problems- goitre is hence common in mountain top regions due to iodine deficiency.
  3. Soil erosion
  4. Deposition of mud at dams hampering the process of electricity generation.
  5. River bank erosion may adversely affect human settlements



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