Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Fears of China damming the Brahmaputra and depriving India of its water seem totally unfounded. Several reasons:
1. Surprising as it may sound,India does not use Brahmaputra water at all. There are no barrages on Brahmaputra or any of its tributaries to divert water for irrigation. The huge volume of water flows through Assam unchecked into Bangladesh, where it becomes Jamuna and breaks off into a maze of distributaries. These distributaries create a high water table in Bangladesh and flood the fields in the monsoon and are otherwise diverted through canals for irrigation. Thus if China really diverts water (which does not seem possible, see 3 below), then it is Bangladesh which will be affected, not India -- not just for irrigation but also quite seriously for navigation.

2. Only one of the three rivers constituting the Brahmaputra, namely Siang, known as Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet/China, originates in that country. The others, namely Dibang and Lohit originate in India. Most of its great tributaries, such as Subansiri, Jiabhoroli, Aie, Beki, Manas, Sankosh, Raidak, Jaldhaka, Tista etc originate in India or Bhutan.

3. It seems impossible that considering the terrain through which the Yarlung Tsangpo flows in Tibet/China, China will be able to build a barrage to divert water. They may build a dam for storage and hydro-electricity which will not affect the quantity of water going downstream into India or Bangladesh

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