Drying up of Geruwa river affects irrigation, wildlifeSilt deposit in the river caused by floods has stopped the water flow in Geruwa, causing a decline in the level of water.
Around 5,000 hectares of agricultural land in Rajapur, Bardiya, is parched this winter. The Karnali River Management Project could not supply water to the area because of a sharp decline in the Geruwa river’s water flow.
The project is unable to supply water in the villages of Manau, Khairichanpur, Patabhar and Pashupatinagar. The water flow in the Geruwa, an offshoot of the Karnali river a few kilometres downstream from Chisapani, has gradually declined as the Karnali changed its course because of silt formation.
According to Kedar Shrestha, chief of the Karnali River Management Project, around 90 percent of the river water now flows to the western side in Kailali district and just 10 percent flows into the Geruwa river.
“The silt should be removed to enhance the Geruwa river’s water flow and run the irrigation project smoothly,” said Shrestha. “We will take the necessary initiative to resolve the problem.”
The Karnali river in the past decade has been gradually changing its course towards the western offshoot. Water flow in the Geruwa sharply declined in the past couple of years, as the floods deposited too much silt at Lalmatiya, blocking the river.
Kamal Regi, a farmer in Geruwa Rural Municipality Ward No. 5, said farmers in Rajapur and Geruwa have been facing irrigation problems in the winter due to the sharp decline of water flow in the river. He urged the authorities concerned to clear the siltation.
The Geruwa river flows through the Bardiya National Park. The wildlife in the protected area has been hugely affected because of the declining water flow in the river. According to Sandesh Paudel, a ranger at the park, animals struggle for water in the dry season. The area near the Geruwa river is the habitat of wild animals like tiger, rhino, deer and elephant, among others, conservationists say.
The Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation had allowed the park to remove the silt in the Geruwa river last year.
“It was not possible for us alone to remove the huge piles of stones, pebbles and sand. We need help from a third party to resolve this problem,” said Paudel.