Do river deltas in east India retreat?: a case of the Krishna Delta
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Gamage, Nilantha; Smakhtin, Vladimir. 2009. Do river deltas in east India retreat?: a case of the Krishna Delta. Geomorphology, 103(4):533-540. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geomorph.2008.07.022
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/40606
The construction of multiple dams and barrages in many Indian River basins over the last few decades significantly reduced river flow to the sea and affected the sediment regime. More reservoir construction is planned through the proposed National River Linking Project (NRLP), which will transfer massive amounts of water from the North to the South of India. The impacts of these developments on fertile and ecologically sensitive deltaic environments are poorly understood and quantified at present. In this paper an attempt is made to identify, locate and quantify coastal erosion and deposition processes in one of the major river basins in India?the Krishna?using a time series of Landsat images for 1977, 1990 and 2001 with a spatial resolution ranging from 57.0 m to 28.5 m. The dynamics of these processes are analyzed together with the time series of river flow, sediment discharge and sediment storage in the basin. Comparisons are made with similar processes identified and quantified earlier in the delta of a neighboring similarly large river basin?the Godavari. The results suggest that coastal erosion in the Krishna Delta progressed over the last 25 years at the average rate of 77.6 ha yr- 1, dominating the entire delta coastline and exceeding the deposition rate threefold. The retreat of the Krishna Delta may be explained primarily by the reduced river inflow to the delta (which is three times less at present than 50 years ago) and the associated reduction of sediment load. Both are invariably related to upstream reservoir storage development.