Project Report on Rivers Rejuvenation

Project Report on Rivers Rejuvenation

News: Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change released Rs. 19,000–crore Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) on rejuvenation of 13 major rivers through forestry interventions.These 13 rivers are Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej, Yamuna, Brahmaputra, Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, Cauvery, and Luni.

Background:
• It is modelled on the lines of the work done as part of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in 2015-16 for the river and acknowledging that the growing water crisis is on account of degradation of river ecosystems,The project adopted a multi-scale, multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary and holistic approach so as to accomplish broad objectives of ‘Aviral Dhara’ (uninterrupted flow), ‘Nirmal Dhara’ (clean water), and ecological rejuvenation.

Details:
• The 13 rivers collectively cover a total basin area of 18,90,110 square kilometres that represents 57.45% of the geographical area of the country.The length of 13 rivers, including 202 tributaries within the delineated riverscapes, is 42,830 km.The Brahmaputra Riverscape incorporated the highest number of tributaries (30) and 1,54,456 sq km area, respectively.The documents propose many kinds of afforestation for the rivers. They include timber species, medicinal plants, grasses, shrubs and fuel fodder and fruit trees.
• The DPRs recognise the merit of adopting a holistic riverscape approach for forestry interventions in three types of landscapes viz., natural, agriculture, and urban within the vast expanse of a riverscape besides conservation interventions including soil and moisture conservation measures, riverine and riparian wildlife management, and wetland management.
• These are done with supporting activities such as policy level interventions, strategic and adaptive research, capacity development, awareness creation, project management and participatory monitoring & evaluation).

Benefits:
• It is expected to increase the cumulative forest cover of 7,417.36 sq km across 13 riverscapes.
• Proposed interventions would help in sequestration of CO2 to the extent of 50.21 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 10-year-old plantations while the value of estimated CO2 sequestered in 20-year-old plantations would be 74.76 million tonnes of CO2.
• They would help recharge groundwater, reduce sedimentation, generate Rs. 449.01 crore from non-timber and other forest produce.
• They are also expected to make a significant contribution towards employment generation by way of nearly 344 million man-days of work.
• These efforts would help India meet its international climate commitments of:
o Creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 -3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030 under the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),
o Restore 26 million hectares of degraded lands by 2030 and
o Halt biodiversity loss by 2030 under Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Sustainable Development Goals.
• At the COP26 meeting, India promised to reduce its projected carbon emission by one billion tonnes by 2030, meet 50% of energy requirements with renewable energy by 2030, enhance non–fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatt by 2030, reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by 45% by 2030 and achieve net zero emission by 2070.Under the Bonn Challenge, India had also pledged in 2015 to restore five million hectares of degraded land by 2030.

Challenges:
• Growing water crisis on account of depleting fresh water resources especially due to shrinking and degradation of river ecosystems is a major impediment to achieving national goals pertaining to environment, conservation, climate change and sustainable development.
• The success of the project hinges on several factors, including the correct method of plantation and changes in climate. 

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