Water-sheds in India
The life is very much dependent on water. Our agricultural, municipal,
industrial, environmental and aesthetic well being depends on water. A
watershed or basin of a river is a landform with highpoints that are
connected by ridgelines that descend into lower elevations and stream
A watershed carries water after rainfall or melting of
snow from the land which gets accumulated into soils, as groundwaters,
in creeks, and streams, which later forms larger rivers and eventually
the sea. The word “Water-shed” is used only for basin of a river of an
area of 2000sq. Km.
There are mainly three water-sheds in India;
- Himalayan range with its Karakoram branch-North
- Vindhyan and Satpura ranges- Central India
- Sahyadri or Western Ghats- West Coast
All the major rivers of India originate in one or the other of these watersheds.
The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges
Himalayan range is covered with snow hence rivers arising from the
Himalayas are snow-fed and flows continously throughout the year. The
flow of networks of rivers is dependant on the monsoons and shrinks
into streams during the dry season.
Major twelve India's rivers
cover the total catchment area of 2,528,000 km² (976,000 mile²). The
rivers Indus, Beas, Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, and Jhelum originated from
Himalayas flow westward into Pakistan.
The Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghana system has the largest catchment area of 1,100,000 km² (424,700 mile²).
river Ganga originates from the Gangotri Glacier in Uttaranchal and
flows in south east to Bangladesh. Western Himalayas is the home of
Yamuna and Gomti rivers and merge with the Ganges in the plains. A
tributary of Ganges, Brahmaputra, originates in Tibet and enters India
in Arunachal Pradesh from the east proceeding towards west and meets
Ganges in Bangladesh.
Vindhya Range in central India divides The Indian subcontinent into
northern India i.e., the Indo-Gangetic plain and Southern India.
western end of the range rises in eastern Gujarat state, running via
Madhya Pradesh in the east and north to the Ganges River at Mirzapur.
The southern slopes of the range gives rise to Narmada River, which
flows westward to the Arabian Sea between the Vindhya Range and Satpura
Range. The northern slopes of the range are drained by tributaries of
the Ganges, namely the Kali Sindh, Parbati, Betwa, and Ken. The Son, a
tributary of the Ganges, runs out of the southern slopes of the range
Another tributary of the Ganga, Chambal, springs up
from the Vindhya-Satpura watershed and flows towards east. Tapti river
from this watershed also flows towards west drains into the Arabian Sea
in Gujarat. Ten percent of total outflow is contributed by rivers
flowing from east towards west.
Western Ghats or Sahyadri Mountains, is a mountain range in western
India. It runs from north towards western edge of the Deccan Plateau in
the south, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain along
the Arabian Sea. Western Ghats starts from the Gujarat-Maharashtra
border. About sixty percent of the Western Ghats are located in the
state of Karnataka.
The Western Ghats are the source of all
Deccan rivers. Major rivers originated from the Deccan are Mahanadi,
Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri River, these all fall into the Bay of
Bengal. Twenty percent of total outflow in India is contributed by
rivers flowing from this watershed.