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Ecological impacts of altered environmental flow on Indus Deltaic ecosystem, Pakistan: a review

Authors:

M Amanullah ,

University of Sindh, Jamshoro, 76080, PK
About M
Centre for Environmental Sciences
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A Ahmed,

Aalborg University, Aalborg East, DK
About A
Department of Development & Planning
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G W Ali

Sindh Irrigation & Drainage Authority, Left Bank, Barrage Colony, Hyderabad, Sindh,, PK
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Abstract

The Indus River Delta plays a central role in the lives of the people, economy, environment, and ecological well-being of the region. Indus River originates from Mansarovar Lake in Tibet, India at an elevation of about 5182 m. The River Indus flows for about 2880 km down into the Arabian Sea through the Indus Delta. Indus Delta is situated in Keti Bunder, a coastal town in district Thatta, Sindh, Pakistan 180 km away from Karachi City. There are 17 major creeks making up the Delta. Waters of the River Indus have been dammed or diverted upstream. Only a fraction of water and most of the times no water is released to the Delta region and this resulted in drastic ecological disaster at Indus Delta. The Delta land is reduced and its biodiversity, ecosystem, and its resources are under threat. The objective of this paper is to make an analysis of various documents and works carried out by the environmental organizations on Indus Delta in relation to declined water flows. Reports show that the frequency and intensity of cyclones has increased in the last 30 years. Other environmental changes have only served to increase the vulnerability of the region. Beginning in the mid-19th century a huge irrigation infrastructure was developed upstream drawing water from the Indus River and its tributaries, and since then a series of barrages and dams have been built leading to over-extraction of water for agriculture. Reports show that river flows into the delta have decreased as much as 90% from the 1990s. The result is a reduced flow of nutrient rich silt, and growing sea intrusion destroying mangrove ecosystems and causing land erosion. Community livelihoods have been negatively affected by a decline in agriculture, shortage of drinking water and population displacement. This review attempted to present an overview of the impacts on the Indus Delta resulting from various driving forcing that has brought the Delta to the brink of death and destruction.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/jepsl.v3i1.7310

Journal of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka, Vol. 3 No. 1 2014, 11-21

How to Cite: Amanullah, M., Ahmed, A. & Ali, G.W., (2014). Ecological impacts of altered environmental flow on Indus Deltaic ecosystem, Pakistan: a review. Journal of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka. 3(1), pp.11–21. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/jepsl.v3i1.7310
Published on 20 Aug 2014.
Peer Reviewed

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