GUWAHATI, Jan 18 � The climate change-induced glacial melt in the Tibetan part of the Brahmaputra is unlikely to affect exceptionally the monsoon discharge of the river at Guwahati. However, there is a possibility of the climate change phenomenon affecting the base flow of the river, provided the climate change projections come true.
The climate change model projections of a European Commission-sponsored international project showed that the Brahmaputra discharge is at a risk of 15 per cent to 25 per cent reduction by the end of the current century.
This was stated by noted hydrology expert Prof Wolfgang-Albert Flugel of the Friedrich-Schiller University, Jena, Germany and Prof Nayan Sarma of the Department of Water Resources Development and Management of the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee. Prof Flugel and Prof Sarma have been working for several European Commission and German Government-sponsored projects on the Brahmaputra basin and several other river basins of the world.
Prof Flugel and Prof Sarma while talking to this correspondent here last evening, said that most of the monsoon discharge of the Brahmaputra is generated from the precipitation taking place in the NE Indian basin of the river. However, the case of the base flow (lean season flow) of the river is dependent on the melt-ice water generated by the source glaciers of the river, they said.
To them, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach is the only viable adaptation measure in sight to face the situation arising out of the phenomenon of the climate change-induced glacial melt.
On the Chinese interference in the Brahmaputra river system in its Tibetan territory, Prof Flugel and Prof Sarma were of the opinion that within the light of trans-boundary IWRM and climate change projections, it is obvious that larger water management infrastructures must be subjected to inter-governmental discussions and agreements as have been done in the case of Danube in Europe and Mekong in South East Asia.
Each river basin has its own demand and potential for IWRM, which is critical for the trans-boundary river basins like the Mekong, the Red River and the Brahmaputra, as the riparian nations concerned have different perspectives and plans to utilize the water resources of these rivers. The phenomenon of climate change has also added to the criticality of the issue, they said.
Prof Flugel and Prof Sarma are in the city in connection with a three-day South East Asia Regional Workshop on best practices in adaptive water governance that began here yesterday. The workshop is held under the European Commission-sponsored Twin 2 Go project. Prof Flugel and Prof Sarma are leading it.
The Twin 2 Go project, which began in November 2009, will be wound up by October 2011. The project is aimed at bringing together the expertise and knowledge from altogether 29 river basins spread over all the continents of the globe in respect of the IWRM approach.
The South East Asia group of another European Commission-sponsored project the Brahmatwin is leading the initiative in South East Asia, besides India, Nepal and Bhutan. The 3 million Euro Brahmatwin project, completed in December 2009, studied for three and half-a-year the Upper Danube river basin in Europe and the Upper Brahmaputra river basin in South Asia, addressing the likely impacts of climate change on the snow and glacier melt driven water and water balance of the river basins.
Prof Flugel and Prof Sarma said that their team in the Twin 2 Go project has already identified IWRM components of importance in different river basins.
Prof Sarma regretted that the IWRM components were �patently ignored� while taking up the river basin projects like the Kopili, Diyung, Ranganadi, Barapani, Karbi Langpi and Lower Subansiri and the Loktak HE project in NE India.