Water experts and Bihar leaders on Wednesday stressed the need for sediment management in the Koshi river whose muddy, swirling waters have led to considerable problems for residents of Bihar and neighbouring Nepal.
"No sustainable policies have been formed to tackle the problem due to silt accumulation in rivers. First, we need to make policies for the study of sediment management and then dissemination of information among the masses," Bihar assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary said.
He was speaking at a workshop on 'Sediment Management in the Koshi Basin' here, organised by Kathmandu-based ICIMOD, IIT-Kanpur and Bihar State Disaster Management Authority (BSDMA).
Choudhary said all studies and research so far are concentrated on how to minimise sedimentation but no step and study was on to stop sedimentation.
Bihar Disaster Management Minister Chandrashekhar said sediment management in rivers would enable Bihar to become resilient to disaster. He said apart from Koshi, other major rivers in Bihar are dying due to silt accumulation.
River scientist Rajiv Sinha of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur said the reasons for high sedimentation were multiple. "We need to understand the connections and parameters in totality."
Laxmi Prasad Devkota of Nepal Academy of Science and Technology said dealing with too much sedimentation was a challenge.
He said sediment management study in the Koshi Basin could be used for study and research in other river basins. He advocated networking with institutions and regional countries to deal with and conduct studies in sediment management.
Arun Bhakt Shrestha of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICMOD) said many drivers of Koshi basin, such as climate change, deforestation and erosion are trans-boundary in nature.
He said erosion and sedimentation are connected and need an inter-related approach to solve the problem.
BSDMA Vice-Chairman Anil Kumar Sinha said the research studies needed to be made simpler and in language used by the masses.
The Koshi river flows through Nepal, China and India. In Bihar, over a dozen districts are affected by the river.