The Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system from Allahabad to Haldia for a length of 1620 km in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal has been declared as National Waterway (NW-1) in 1986.
This waterway is an alluvial river which has typical characteristics of large variation in water flow during monsoon and summer months, along with braiding & meandering of its course and heavy sediment load. Therefore while the waterway has enough depth during monsoon months on its entire length for mechanized navigation, the depth during summer months becomes significantly less at certain locations especially in its upper reaches. To keep the waterway navigable all year round, it is necessary to develop and maintain optimum depth in various stretches of the waterway according to its hydro/morphological characteristics.
Inland Waterway Authority of India (IWAI) undertakes river conservancy measures every year to develop and maintain targeted depth in different reaches. These include erection and maintenance of bandals and/or dredging in shallow areas, regular hydrographic surveys, navigational aids for day and night navigation etc. to facilitate navigation by inland vessels. Besides, IWAI has also established fixed and floating terminals at many locations to facilitate berthing and loading/unloading of vessels.
Dredging Today Staff, August 17, 2012