Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari Wednesday said his ministry had notified the minimum environmental flows for Ganga river that was to be maintained at various locations on the water body.
Environmental flows are the acceptable flow regimes that are required to maintain a river in the desired environmental state or predetermined state.
Calling this a significant development, Gadkari said the notification of e-flow for the river would go a long way in ensuring its continuous flow.
Reiterating the government's commitment towards a continuous and clean Ganga, he said the draft Ganga Act will be sent to the Cabinet for approval.
"This is a very significant moment. The discussions on notifying e-flow of Ganga have been going on for a long time. We have taken this step to ensure a minimum amount of flow in the river," Gadkari said.
The notification issued by the government Tuesday will ensure that the river has at least the minimum required an environmental flow of water even after its flow gets diverted by projects and structures for purposes like irrigation, hydropower, domestic and industrial use.
This is an important step taken towards maintaining the uninterrupted flow of the river, Gadkari said.
The flow conditions in these river reach will be monitored at hourly intervals from time to time.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) will be the designated authority and the custodian of the data.
It will be responsible for supervision, monitoring, regulation of flows and reporting of necessary information to the appropriate authority as and when required and also take emergent decisions about the water storage norms in case of an emergency.
The project developers or authorities concerned will have to install automatic data acquisition and data transmission facilities at appropriate locations at project sites within six months.
The Centre, through National Mission for Clean Ganga, may direct for the release of additional water in the Ganga river to meet special demand as and when required.
The notification also stipulates that the central and state authorities concerned shall implement demand-side management plans to reduce water withdrawal from the river by adopting good and scientific practices such as an efficient method of irrigation, reuse and recycling of water, including monitoring and regulation of groundwater withdrawals for various purposes.
(With inputs from agencies.)