Jaisalmer: In a momentous study done on the Thar Desert of the state, a 100-km long palaeochannel area is found in the Bhaniyana region of Jaisalmer district.
The study was conducted by Jai Narain Vyas University’s associate professor of Geology department- Dr. S R Jakhar. He stated that based on the conclusions found by studying diverse parameter, existence of a number of palaeochannels in the desert has become evident.
As per the study, the extinct link river was a tributary of Luni river that flows in the Pachpadra region of Barmer district. It was due to the lack of rain in the desert the river got desiccated. Moving sand dunes that obstructed the path of the river can also be attributed for its extinction.
Why the study is important?
In August 2006, flash floods have wrecked inexpressible havoc in the drought-prone areas of Barmer. Similar situations arose in 2010 in the district and may again arise if proper precautionary steps are not taken.
This study that proves the existence of palaeochannels in the region clears up a lot of misconceptions about the area. It can also help to find a tenable solution of the aforementioned problem.
Dr. S R Jakhar, under whose guidance the study was concluded, said that the floods are the results of encroachment of human habitation in the area of abandoned channel of the link river. After each heavy rainfall, the area near the palaeochannels turns itself into huge pool of water to accommodate excessive water discharge.
Although heavy rainfalls occur only rarely in these areas, the threat of destruction of human settlements is too great to be taken lightly. With detailed survey of the river beds, measures may be adopted to shift the population to a safer place. Furthermore, if proper steps are taken, extension of the area of desert too can be checked.
He advised to plant maximum tree in the area that may have a supportable level of underground water. These trees, through transpiration, will increase the levels of water vapor in the atmosphere, which in-turn will manage the healthy volume of rainfall in the surrounding areas. All this will lead to the prevention of Desert’s expansion.
National Water Development Agency of India has also proposed to launch the project for river interlinking. The project would be mega-scale and will involve lots of financial, engineering resources. But once the project gets completed the link of 30 rivers that would then be formed would eradicate the water shortage of western India to quite an extent.