Temporal assessment using WQI of River Henwal, a Tributary of River Ganga in Himalayan Region

Matta, Gagan; Kumar, Avinash; Uniyal, D. P.; Singh, Prashant; Kumar, Amit; Dhingra, Gulshan K.; Ajendra Kumar; Naik, Pradeep K. and Shrivastva, Naresh Gopal

Limnological study plays a vital role in determining the seasonal water quality in terms of the physico-chemical parameters, heavy metals, the density, diversity and occurrence of planktons at four different sites of an aquatic ecosystem. The present study is conducted to assess the relationship between physicochemical parameters and different groups of plankton through statistical approaches to assess the quality of Henwal river. Different kind of indices (CPI, Simpson’s diversity index (D), Shannon-Weaver index (H) and Taxon Evenness (E) are used to depict the water quality of Henwal river. CPI was used by considering eleven physicochemical parameters and eight heavy metals. The range of CPI was found to be 2.07-8.83 (CPI > 2), which is an indication of severely polluted water of Henwal river. Control site was slightly polluted but moderately in monsoon as CPI 1.61-3.24. Jajal shows the highest CPI values which indicates that it is severely polluted. Nagni had the highest diversity index (D = 4.69, H = 1.58) of the four sites in the monsoon season and the Khadi had the lowest diversity index (D = 3.84, H = 1.48) in the winter season.

Keywords: River Henwal | River Ganga Tributary | CPI | Simpson’s index (D) | Shannon-Weaver index (H) | Phytoplankton | Zooplankton | Uttarakhand | Chamba | Freshwater ecosystem


In India, 14 major river systems shares about 83% of the drainage basin. The Himalayas are the source of freshwater rivers so they can be called “the cradle of major rivers” that supports the life of many ecosystems(Matta, Gagan, 2010; Cherian and Matta, 2010; Prachi, et al., 2011; Singh, et al., 2011). The Himalayan Rivers receive about 20-30 % of their water from melted snow during the summer and monsoon seasons and are also important in a geopolitically context which has been realized and attracted the attention of country’s planners towards the developmental activities of this mountain region (Matta, et al., 2015c; Matta, et al., 2015d; Matta, et al., 2016; Matta and Gjyli, 2016).
Garhwal region in Uttarakhand state lying between the latitude of 29° 26’ – 31° 28’ N and longitude 77° 99’ – 80° 6’ E with an area of 30,000 km (approx) has vast source of fresh water bodies are present in the form of rivers, rivulets, tributaries, and springs, fulfilling the freshwater requirement of the population (Khanna and Matta, 2009; Singh, et al., 2010; Matta, et al., 2011; Tewari, et al., 2010). Along with a large number of snow-fed rivers and streams such as Alaknanda, Bhagirathi, Mandakini Dhauliganga, Pindar and Ganga River, there are so many springs fed rivers such as Bhilangna, Nayar, Gular, Song, Suswa, Henwal and hundreds of rivulets (Matta, et al., 2014; Matta and Kumar, 2015; Matta, Gagan, 2015a; Matta, et al., 2015a; Matta, Gagan, 2015b; Matta, et al., 2015b).
River Henwal is spring fed river. It originates from Kaddukhal (Near Surkanda Devi Temple, Chamba, Uttaranchal) and its length is near about 38 kilometers. This river can be divided into three different ecological sections, viz., the upper, the middle and the lower section. River substratum is stony, rocky and pebbly and finally, it is sandy, when it meets the River Ganga (Bhadauriya, et al., 2011; Matta, Gagan, 2014a; Matta, Gagan, 2014b). Due to the great variation in the velocity and temperature of the water, the biodiversity may also vary.
The present study is to assess the influence of anthropogenic activities on water quality in terms of limnological characters of spring fed River Henwal, a tributary of River Ganga. Henwal River is originating from Surkanda hills (2900 msl) in the greater Himalayas and merges into River Ganga at Shivpuri. The present study has been carried out by considering the importance of aquatic ecosystems of Himalayas with special reference to Garhwal region.