IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th September, 2023 Geography

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  • The water level of Jhelum and its tributaries have fallen drastically owing to dry weather conditions prevalent since the last month in Kashmir Valley.
  • As of September 12 at 9 p.m., the water level of Jhelum River at Sangam measured minus 0.01 feet, at Ram Munshi Bagh it was flowing at 2.20 feet, and at Asham 1.55 feet.


The Jhelum River:

  • It is a river that runs between India and Pakistan.
  • It is an Indus River tributary.
  • The Jhelum (Vyeth in Kashmiri, Vetesta in Sanskrit, and Hydaspes in Greek) is the valley's principal stream.
  • It is the largest and westernmost of Punjab's five rivers, flowing through the Jhelum District in Pakistan's Punjab province.

Some other facts

  • It begins in the Verinag Spring in Anantnag, at the foot of the Pir Panjal range in the Kashmir Valley.
  • It then passes through Srinagar and Wular Lake before entering Pakistan.
  • On its way to Pakistan, the river carves a steep, tight valley.
  • It merges with the Chenab River at Trimmu in Pakistan.
  • It is approximately 725 kilometers (450 mi) long in total.

Tributaries of Jhelum River

  • The major tributary of the Jhelum is the Kishenganga (Neelum) River, which joins near Muzaffarabad and flows into Pakistan's Punjab province.
  • The Kunhar River is the river's second major tributary, connecting Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Pakistan via the Kohala Bridge of Kanghan Valley.
  • Sandran River, Bringi River, Arapath River, Watlara River, Lidder River, and Veshaw River are also tributaries.

Understanding Jhelum River's Seasonal Fluctuations

  • During the spring season, the Jhelum and its tributaries experience the highest flows as the snow in the upper regions begins to melt due to rising temperatures.
  • This rapid snowmelt typically continues until summer.
  • While occasional monsoon showers may help sustain water levels until September, even excess rainfall during this southwest monsoon season cannot guarantee a stable water supply in the autumn.
  • Autumn is the season when Kashmir witnesses reduced monsoon activity and the impact of Western Disturbances is minimal.
  • Moreover, as temperatures in higher altitudes drop below freezing point, the melt-off from glaciers slows down, further contributing to lower water levels in the Jhelum and its tributaries.

Other Indus River System

The Chenab River

  • Another important tributary of the Indus River System is the Chenab River, also known as Asskini Chandrabhaga.
  • It forms where the Chandra and Bhaga rivers meet in Himachal Pradesh's Western Himalayas.
  • The Baralacha La Pass is the principal source of water for these streams.
  • The Chenab River flows through Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir before joining the Indus.
  • It is the Indus River System's greatest tributary.

The River Ravi

  • Following that is the Ravi River, commonly known as Iravati or "The River of Lahore."
  • The Ravi River rises near the Rohtang Pass in the Himachal Pradesh district of Chamba.
  • It meets the Chenab River in Pakistan after traveling approximately 720 kilometers.
  • Between the Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar Ranges, the Ravi passes through Shahdara Bagh, which includes the tombs of Jahangir and Noor Jahan.

The Beas River

  • The Beas River is an important contributor to the Indus River System.
  • It begins its trip in the Beas Kund in Himachal Pradesh's Rohtang La pass.
  • The Beas River flows for around 470 kilometers before joining the Satluj River in Punjab.
  • As a result, the Beas River flows through Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in India.

The Satluj River

  • The Satluj River is an important tributary of the Indus River.
  • It has the longest course of any tributary in the Indus River System.
  • The Rakkas Lake, sometimes known as Lake Rakshastal, is located in
  • The Satluj River then runs through India's Himachal Pradesh and Punjab states before entering India via the Shipki La Pass and joining the Chenab River.
  • This River is 1,450 kilometers long in total, with 1,050 kilometers located within Indian territory.

The Historical Importance of the Indus River System

  • The Indus River System has a rich historical history, as it was the origin of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world's earliest urban civilizations.
  • This ancient civilization existed along the banks of the Indus and its tributaries approximately 3300 BCE.
  • Archaeological findings have revealed precise town design, advanced drainage systems, and a complex trading network that stretched to Mesopotamia.

The Economic Value of the Indus River System

  • For millennia, the fertile alluvial plains watered by the Indus River System have facilitated cultivation.
  • The river and its tributaries' waters are used for irrigation via a vast network of canals and dams.
  • The region is a key producer of products like rice, wheat, cotton, and sugarcane, which contribute significantly to the economies of the system's member countries.

Hydropower Potential of the Indus River System

  • Aside from its agricultural importance, the Indus River System has significant hydropower potential.
  • Along its path, dams and hydroelectric projects have been built to generate electricity and give energy to industry and households.
  • In Pakistan, projects like the Tarbela Dam and the Mangla Dam are colossal examples of harnessing the river's power for economic growth.

Environmental Issues in the Indus River System

  • Over-extraction, pollution, and habitat deterioration pose severe difficulties to the Indus River System.
  • Rapid population increase, industrialization, and poor waste management techniques all contribute to the contamination of these essential water sources.
  • Balancing economic growth goals with environmental conservation is still a major challenge.

Conflict and International Cooperation on the Indus River System

  • Several tributaries of the Indus River flow through multiple countries, resulting in complex water-sharing arrangements and sometimes disputes.
  • The World Bank-mediated Indus Waters Treaty of 1960 defines the distribution of river waters between India and Pakistan.
  • The achievement of the pact in preserving relative stability in water-sharing illustrates the importance of international cooperation in managing shared resources.

The Impact of Climate Change on the Indus River System

  • Climate change threatens the Indus River System by influencing water supply, glacial melt, and monsoon patterns.
  • Changes in precipitation patterns and retreating glaciers in the Himalayas could upset the delicate balance of water supply, providing problems for water resource management and agricultural sustainability.
  • The Indus River System, which spans millennia and civilizations, is a tribute to the complex interaction that humans have with their environment.
  • It has seen civilizations rise and fall, economies evolve, and the problems of industrialization.
  • As nations deal with development and conservation imperatives, the Indus River System stands as a symbol of resilience, adaptation, and the interconnectivity of all species along its banks.


Dry weather conditions in Kashmir valley have wide-ranging impacts on Socio-Economic life in the valley. Substantiate