River length: 3848 km
Basin area: 194,000 sq km (in India)
Population in basin: 17.7 million (in India, 2001)
States in basin: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Sikkim & West Bengal
Major cities using water
Guwahati (pop: 957,352), Siliguri (pop:705,600), Dibrugarh (pop:154,019), Shillong (pop:143,229), Tezpur (pop:102,505)
- Dry season drought risk: Low to Medium
- Monsoon flood risk: Extremely high
- Total tree cover loss: 78%
- Seasonal variability of water levels: High
Economic & Environmental Significance
- The Brahmaputra basin has an installed hydropower capacity of 2120 MW, with another 3000 MW under construction.
- The forests around the Brahmaputra and its tributaries are of immense environmental significance and our biodiversity hotspots. The Kaziranga National Park, one of the last refuges of the endangered Indian rhinoceros is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Manas National Park, along the Manas river – a Brahmaputra tributary – is another UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is home to India’s only species of ape, the hoolock gibbon. It is also home to four big cats – the tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard.
Deforestation in the Brahmaputra basin has resulted in increased siltation levels in the river, flash floods and soil erosion. Massive flooding causes huge losses to crops, life, and property.
Spiritual & Cultural Significance
The Brahmaputra basin is dotted with a number of ancient temples as well as other sacred artifacts. The Kamakhya temple, one of the Shakti Peethas, is along its banks.
The Gurdwara Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib is located along the river’s banks in Dhubri, Assam. Guru Nanak visited this area in 1505, and the Gurudwara was built about 160 years later by Guru Teg Bahadur.
Most rivers in India are considered feminine. The Brahmaputra is one of the few rivers that is considered masculine.
- Photo Credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/40/Homeward_bound.jpg