Ganges

Length 2,507 Km
Basin size 1,016,124 Km2
Population roughly 200 million people
Population density average 401 people/ Km2
Key economic activity Agriculture
Threats Water extraction, 14 proposed large dams, climate change
Importance
The cultural and economic significance of the Ganges is enormous. The river is a centre of social and religious tradition and is particularly sacred in Hinduism.

Location
The Ganges river basin runs from the central Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, and covers parts of Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh. The Ganges flows through northeastern India to the Bangladesh border, east-southeast 212 Km to its confluence with Brahmaputra, and continues as the Padma River for another 100 Km to its confluence with the Meghna River at Chandpur.

People
The basin occupies 30% of the land area of India and is heavily populated, increasing in population density downstream to Bangladesh, the most densely populated country in the world. Approximately 1 in 12 people in the world (8%) live in its catchment area.

Species
The Ganges river basin contains high biodiversity. There are over 140 fish species, the richest freshwater fish fauna in India, 90 amphibian species, and 5 areas supporting birds found nowhere else in the world.

The basin is home to 5 species of freshwater cetaceans including the endangered Ganges River Dolphin which faces an annual mortality rate of 10% and the rare freshwater shark, Glyphis gangeticus.

The unique Sundarbans delta mangroves are found where the Brahmaputra River and Meghna River converge in the Bengal basin and support over 289 terrestrial, 219 aquatic, 315 bird, 176 fish and 31 crustacean species. There are also 35 reptile and 42 mammal species, including the world’s last population of the mangrove-inhabiting tigers, Panthera tigris.

Together the Brahmaputra and Ganges watersheds span 10 biomes and contain the widest diversity of all large river systems.


For references please download the pdf of the report
 / ©: WWF
Map of the Ganges River. Click on the map to enlarge.
© WWF
 / ©: WWF
Threat to the River: Over-extraction of water
© WWF
Plataniste or Ganges river dolphin (<i>Platanista gangética</i>), Karnaphuli river, ... / ©: WWF-Canon / François  Xavier PELLETIER
Plataniste or Ganges river dolphin (Platanista gangética), Karnaphuli river, Bangladesh.
© WWF-Canon / François Xavier PELLETIER

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