Water quality and function of Mandakini River ecosystem of Central Himalaya

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Research Paper 01/06/2018
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Water quality and function of Mandakini River ecosystem of Central Himalaya

Gunjan Goswami, Deepak Singh
Int. J. Biosci.12( 6), 102-116, June 2018.
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Mandakini river is one of the important sources of drinking water for the rural and urban population of Rudraprayag district (Uttarakhand). It also harbours a variety of flora and fauna. A major flash flood occurred during June 16-17, 2013 which resulted into mass mortality of aquatic flora, fauna in addition to huge loss of human life and property. The main aim of this study is to evaluate the quality of water, function of river ecosystem and reestablishment of aquatic communities after this major ecodisaster. 13 physico-chemical parameters and some biological parameters forming the river ecosystem were analysed for the period of two years. A rich floral and faunal diversity encompassing 35 genera of phytoplankton, 47 genera of periphyton, 18 species of macrophytes, 8 genera of zooplankton, 38 genera of macroinvertebrates and 19 species of fish were recorded from the Mandakini river. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA) revealed total alkalinity water temperature, water velocity, turbidity, nitrates, phosphates dissolved oxygen and free carbon dioxide to be the most important physico-chemical parameters playing their role in ecosystem function. The range of physico-chemical parameters did not exceed the limit set by WHO and FAO for drinking water which also proved its suitability for aquatic biota and human consumption. The river ecosystem recovered, aquatic communities re-established themselves and ecosystem started functioning normal some months after the major flash flood.


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