Dr. Nitish Priyadarshi
Fig.1 In year 2009 the origin source was emitting full of water. Fig.2. In year 2011 source is completely dried.
Fig.3. In year 2009 area near the source well was filled with water and vegetation.
Few days ago I with my three friends decided to visit the origin place of the famous Subarnarekha (Swarnrekha) River of Jharkhand State in India. This was my third visit. My friends were more curious to see how Subarnarekha originates from the place. This place is 30 kms form the Ranchi city, the capital of Jharkhand State. My friends were imagining that area must be full of greeneries and water. As we were approaching the area our excitement was mounting up. Our car stopped few hundred meters before the spot. We came out of the car and looked around in the clean atmosphere. But what we saw was only dry soils and rocks with very less surface water which was also contaminated with iron. Iron contamination was seen the form of thin oil film on the surface water. Source of iron to the water is from the laterite rocks of that area. Laterite rocks contain high amount of iron which is visible in the form of red colors of the rocks.
My friends were more depressed to see the area as it was just opposite to their imagination. No green luster, no water only desert. Two years ago when I visited the area, different origin spots were emitting clean water and vast area was under flowing water. Today except one or two spots all were dried up.
From last two years Jharkhand is not receiving sufficient rainfall which has adversely affected the river flow and its source. The rain water percolates downwards to recharge the groundwater in the catchment areas of Subarnarekha river. Due to lack of rain water the area has gone dry affecting the flow.
The basin of the Subarnarekha is smaller amongst the mutli-state river basins in India. The rain-fed river covers a drainage area of 1.93 million hectares.
After originating near Piska/ Nagri, near Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, the Subarnarekha traverses a long distance through Ranchi, Seraikela, Kharsawan and East Singhbhum districts in the state. Thereafter it flows for shorter distances through Paschim Medinipur district in West Bengal for 83 kilometres (52 mi) and Balasore district of Orissa. There it flows for 79 kilometres and joins the Bay of Bengal near Talsari. The total length of the river is 470 kilometres.
The name Subarnarekha means “the thread of gold” and the sands of the river and some of its tributaries are auriferous, but without any prospect.
The largest river in Jharkhand, the Subarnarekha flows eastward upto Muri, galloping down the Hirni, Dasam, Johna and Hundru falls. It then takes a sharp turn to the south and flows into the gap between the Ajodya (Bhagmundi) hills on the east and the Ranchi uplands in the west.
The prominent tributaries of the Subarnarekha are Kharkai, Raru, Kanchi, Damra, Karru, Chinguru, Karakari, Gurma, Garra, Singaduba, Kodia, Dulunga and Khaijori.The Kharkai meets the Subarnarekha at Sonari(Domuhani), a neighbourhood of Jamshedpur.
If this river really goes dry it is not only going to affect the different falls but also two big dams Hatia and Rukka. These two dams are used to quench the thirst of half of the population of Ranchi district. These two dams are already under threat of depleting water level.
The declining water levels in major rivers of Jharkhand State much ahead of the dry season is lowering the underground water levels and also affecting cultivation in State. Environmentalists fear negative changes in overall climate will make the region more prone to calamities.
The adverse impacts of global climate changes (CC) have forced the Subarnarekha River to dry up abnormally much ahead of the dry season now like every year in recent times.
Reduced run-off is increasing the pressure on freshwater resources in much of the state, especially with more demand for water as population increases. Freshwater being a vital resource, the downward trends are a great concern.