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River System in Bihar
Ganga Ghaghara Gandak Sone Punpun Kosi Bagmati BudhiGandak Mahananda Falgu


    Rivers are streams of water that flow downwards in channels from higher areas like hills and mountains to lower areas like seas. Most of the rain that falls on the land surface ultimately reaches a river and flows down to the sea. River system in Bihar is the principal resource of surface water other than rain water, which has become indefinite and uncertain now, with several minor sources. One of the most important features of the river system in the state is the dominant role of Ganga, they provide water for day to day use by habitants, for drinking purposes, irrigation, industry, other commercial uses and recharge the underground water.

  River system in Bihar


    The river known as the Ganges is officially and popularly known by its Hindu name, Ganga. It is a snow fed and major river of the Indian subcontinent. The river has its source at Gaumakh in the southern Himalayan Glaciers on the Indian side of the Tibetan border. It crosses the cities: Gangotri Haridwar, Kanpur, Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur in UP and enter in the boundary of Bihar at Chausa, nearBuxar after its confluence with Karmanasa. It is joined by the three great effluents - the Ghaghra, the Gandak, and the Son and their tributaries in patna district. Further Punpun joins it at Fatuha in Patna district, Koshi joins it at khagaria district while the Harohar and the Kiul join it near Surajgarha, Distrct - Lakhisarai. It passes through the cities& towns- Patna, Barh, Mokama, Begusarai, Munger, Khagaria, Bhagalpur, Kahalgaon, Pirpainti, in Bihar and exit to Saheb ganj in Jharkhand and then to West Bengal, where the river begins with the branching away. One branch of the river goes on to form the River Hooghly in West Bengal. Close to the border with Bangladesh, the other enters to Bangladesh and the branch of the Ganges is known as Padma and ultimately all meet to the sea (Bay of Bengal).

    The Ganges river basin is one of the most fertile and densely populated in the world.There are two major dams on the Ganga. One at Haridwar in UP and the other dam is at Farakka in West Bengal.

    Species found in the river are mainly fish and dolphin. Fish are found in all the major rivers of the Ganges basin, and are a vital food source for many people. Many types of birds are founds throughout the basin, such as myna, parrots, crows and partridges. The Ganges River itself supports the mugger crocodile and the gharial. The river's most famed fauna is the freshwater dolphin and the Ganges River dolphin has been recently declared by the central Govt. as India's National Aquatic Animal.

  Tributaries of Ganga River


    Ghaghara is a perennial trans-boundary river, originating from the Tibetan Plateau near Lake Mansarovar in Nepal. It is a major left bank and largest tributary of the Ganges. After meeting with tributaries in UP it enters into Bihar near Guthani of Siwan district and joins Ganga at Revilganj(Chapra) in district Saran. It carries more water than the Ganges before its confluence. Towns of Ghaghra River catchment area are Siwan, Saran (Chapra) and Sonepur in Bihar.


The Gandak river originates from melting of snow, glaciers and from lakes of Himalayan streamsin Nepal and its border with Tibet, which contribute substantially to the lean season flows of the river.It is one of the major left bank tributary of the Ganga and also known as the Narayani, specialy in Nepal. It entersinto Bihar at the Indo-Nepal border Triveni (in Nepal) and Valmikinagar in Baghasub division of District-West Champaran, Bihar. The Gandak flows through West Champaran, East Champaran, Gopalganj, Saran, Muzaffarpur and Vaishali districts. It joins the Ganges near Patna just downstream with one of river bank at near Kaunhara Ghat, Hajipur, District-Vaishali and the another at near Hariharnath Mandir, Sonepur, District-Saran.


    The Sone originates from the hills of Madhya Pradesh near Amarkantak. Its main tributaries are Rihand (Uttar Pradesh) and North Koel (Palamu District, Jharkhand).It also receives over flow of Bansagar Dam, Dist-Rewa, Madhaya Pradesh. After flowing through the states Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand it enters to Bihar, near south of District - Kaimur. It passes through Aurangabad, Dehri – on - son, Rohtas, Daudnagar (Jahanabad), Koilwer, and rural areas of Patna distrct and finally joins the Ganges in downstream of Chapra, nearby Doriganj, Distrct - Saran. The Sone has a steep gradient with quick run-off and ephemeral regimes, becoming a roaring river with the rain-waters in the catchment area butturning quickly into a fordable stream. The Sone, being wide and shallow, leaves disconnected pools of water in the remaining part of the year.


The Punpun River is a tributary of the Ganges. It originates in Palamu district of Jharkhand and flows through Chatra (Jharkhand), Aurangabad, Gaya and Patna districts of Bihar. The river joins the Ganges at Fatuha, 25km downstream of Patna. The river is mostly rain fed and carries little water in the dry season, however, during rains the Punpun often causes heavy flood in the patna area.


    The Kosi is a trans-boundary river flowing through Nepaland India. In Nepal it emerges from the mountains with other tributaries and becomes the Koshi. After flowing through Birat nagar & other places in Nepal it enters into Bihar near Bhimnagar, district Supaul and after flowing approx. 260 km joins the Ganges near Kursela, district Katihar.

    It is a river of unstable nature and shift its course frequently. The river, which flowed near Purnea in the earlier, now flows west of Saharsa. Its unstable nature has been attributed to the heavy silt carried during the monsoon season. Koshi has been the main responsible river for extreme flooding in Bihar. For this reason, the Koshi River is known as “The Sorrow of Bihar” as it has been causing huge damage of lives and property through flooding and very frequent changes in course. The worst flood affected districts includes Supaul, Araria, Saharsa, Madhepura, Purnea, Katihar, parts of Khagaria and northern parts of Bhagalpur, as well as adjoing regions of Nepal also.


    The Bagmati originates from Shivapuri Hills about fewkmsfrom Kathmandu in Nepal. It is a rain fed river and passes the center of Kathmandu, Tarai then enters into India near Dheng, district Sitamarhi, Bihar.It flows across Sitamarhi, Sheohar,Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga districts.Main tributaries of this river are Manusmar, Lakhandei and KamlaBalan.It finally joins BudhiGandak near Hayaghat,District-Darbhanga.This river is also causing flood in northern Bihar which results damage of lives and property.


    The BudhiGandak originates from ChautarwaChaur near Bisambharpur, West Champaran, Bihar. It is a rain fed river and flows through West Champaran, East Champaran, Muzaffarpur,Samastipur,Begusarai and ultimately flows in to the Gangesin Khagaria. This river initially known as Sikrahana RiveruptoLalbagiaGhat,EastChamparan.From its downwards journey it is known as BudhiGandak.The main tributaries of this river are Ramrekha,Harboura,Kohra,Sirisia and Bagmati.


    Mahananda River is one of the tributaries of the Ganga. The origin of this mighty Mahananda River is hills of Darjeeling, West Bengal.The Mahananda River flows through siliguri, then enters to Thakurganj,District-Kishanganj,Bihar and flows through the fertile agricultural area of Purnea & Katihar and then leaves to West Bengal.The Mahananda River is mainly rain fed in the monsoon and floodalso occurby this river. It has a low water level during the summer or winter.


    Falgu River has historical importance as Gaya is located on the bank of this river.Falgu is not a separate river.It finds its existence by combination of Niranjana and Mohana rivers.Niranjana originates from Simaria region of western Hazaribagh District of Jharkhand.Mohana River also originates from Shila village region of Hazaribagh District.Mohana is also known as Mahanadi and Saraswati.Niranjana joins Mohana river in down stream of Bodh Gaya and known as Falgu River in its downwards journey.It is rain fed river and almost find dry in summer season.The river is simply a vast stretch of sand dunes, wide, flat and generally dry. But the mass of water is available below the sand dunes. If one digs even a meter, the water seeps out and a small crater full of water is formed. But in some places, water flows are also available.


    For More Tributaries click
    River Basin, Dams and Various Reservoirs Situated in Bihar
    More about RIVER GANGA
    Ganga River Water Quality Trend in Bihar by CPCB
    Issues Related to Ganga River Dolphin
    Article_ on_ Ganga_ Dolphin
   Ganges River Dolphin


    Groundwater is the water that occurs below the surface of earth. It occupies all spaces of soils and rocks. It is also called subsurface water to distinguish from the surface water.Both surface and subsurface water are related with one another through hydrological cycle.

    Most of the groundwater comes from the precipitation.The precipitation percolates down below the ground surface into the soil zone.When the soil becomes saturated, the water percolates down into the gaps or interstices. A zone of saturation occurs where all interstices are filled with water.There is also a zone of aeration where the interstices are occupied partially by air and partially by water.The grounwater continues to descend down until it merges into a zone of dense rock below which water cannot descend.Groundwater is always in motion but at a very slow speed as compared to the surface water.Sometimes natural outflows also occur in the form of springs.It is formed when the pressure of groundwater is higher than the atmospheric pressure.Internal circulation of groundwater is fast in the upper part or near the water table.The average cycling time of groundwater is less than a year.But in the deep aquifers it may be thousand years or more.The process of precipitation replenishing the groundwater supply is known as recharge.Normally, the recharge occurs only during the rainy season.As per estimates,around 10% to 20% precipitation enters the water bearing strata or aquifers.Growing of grasses,shurbs and trees(Afforestation) enhance the grounwater charging because they hold the soil and prevent it from eroding.Trees play a major role in groundwater recharging.State’s ground water demand at present is dominated by Agriculture. Domestic and Industrial need.

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