Change in Water Colour of Siang River Causes Concern in Lakhimpur, Assam

Siang River
Representative image

Metre-high waves in Siang


LAKHIMPUR: After the abrupt rise in turbidity during the months of October and November last year, the water of Siang river has been disturbed by metre-high waves at Ranaghat in Pachighat in Arunachal Pradesh. The phenomenon seen in the river during the past 10-15 days has become a cause of concern for the people living along the bank of the river. The reason behind the phenomenon has not been detected as yet.

The abrupt rise of turbidity in Siang river, that originates in Tibet as Yarloung Tsangpo and meets two others in Assam to flow as the Brahmaputra, has drawn the attention to people across the globe. The river water suddenly and unnaturally turned muddy. With the high turbidity and iron level in the usually crystal-clear Siang, the people of Arunachal Pradesh faced a crisis as fishes died and the river seemed polluted during the months of October and November last year. Up to ten inches of sediment accumulated in some stretches of the riverbed and fishes were lying dead. The State Water Testing Laboratory (SWTL), under PHE and WS Department, Government of Arunachal Pradesh, declared the water unfit for human consumption. The Nephelomatric Turbidity Unit (NTU) content of the water sample was 482 while the iron content was recorded at 1.65mg/litre, beyond permissible limits.

The sudden change in water colour and receding water level of Siang have become a cause of concern and led to much speculation. Ruling out any Chinese interference, the Union Minister of State for Water Resources, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that an earthquake in Tibet caused the turbidity in the Siang river which originates in southern Tibet and becomes the Brahmaputra upon entering through Arunachal Pradesh.

“If that is the reason for the turbidity, why has the river water not become clear by now?” wondered the worried people. Similarly, metre-high waves in the river have also wreaked havoc at Ranaghat in Pashighat. Now muddy water is seen in the Brahmaputra at Dhalpur in Lakhimpur district. Most of the animals of the area have become unhealthy after consuming the water of the mighty river.