Artificial Neural Network to tame Brahmaputra

“The network is prepared after systematic analysis of footprints of the big river in a way to tackle the furry of the river,”. Dr Sharma said.

Dr Sharma, a professor of IIT, Roorkee, is also a consultant to the world’s oldest tea manufacturer, The Assam Company Limited, a company which has lost several square kilometres of prime tea estates in the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.

The ANN, as proposed by the river scientist, would basically be a databank on all aspects of as many rivers of the northeast. “The information gathered in this databank would bound to be of great help to those involved in river-related works for forcast,” he said.

“The water velocity from the Brahmaputra’s northern tributaries like Pagladiya, Jia Bhoroli, Subansiri, Debang is affecting large patches of the river’s southern bank, causing erosion. In the trijunction of the Debang, Lohit and Dibru near Haugnun, upstream of the Dibru Saikhowa national park, a barely 40-metre wide river channel has now become 1.5 km wide, which is posing a serious threat to the existence of the national park as well as hundreds of villages and tea gardens upstream of Dibrugarh,” he said.
Without an integrated protection plan, the Brahmaputra would irreversibly denude large parts of the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts.

Considering the river’s mega-energy environment, timeliness of action is a decisive factor in shaping the degree of success of the protection measures,” he further said.

“A huge water volume and enormous sediment load is carried by the river.It is necessary of a watershed management of the entire Brahmaputra system by going in for a massive afforestation drive in the catchment areas, and building dams or reservoirs at the tributaries to check further sedimentation and regulate water flow into the parent river”, he viewed.

“It is no use building a dyke here and a spur there... these are palliative measures which just guarantees periodic devastation by the river,” the river expert said.

A channel improvement programme of the complex Brahmaputra system has to be undertaken in concert with parallel management work in different specialities like climatology, geomorphology and hydrology. He informed that the Yangtze river system in China was tamed by such a concerted management protocol.

All major river systems of the world like Mississippi, Nile, Mekong have watershed and flow simulation models. These are long-term measures, said Prof Sharma. “There is the need for cost-effective bank protection measures to face the myriad challenges thrown in by the Brahmaputra. The use of hexapod spurs and revetments, submerged vanes, board fencing with hexapod scour protection and newly introduced soil-nailing techniques,” he said adding, “The bank erosion by the Brahmaputra causes about 18 square kilometres of landmass to be lost to the river every year, from Dholla to Dhubri”.

By KS Pradeep/DIBRUGARH