Assessment of the cultural flow component of environmental flow requirements for the Bhagirathi.
The environmental flow requirement of a river is that amount and variability of flow that allows the river to carry out its environmental functions. Rivers, and those that depend on it, do not merely need a certain amount of flow, but the right quantity of water also needs to be available at the right time.

But if environmental flows are for the ecosystem, then why do they have a cultural component? This is because humans are now part of the environment of a river basin. Over millennia, human beings have settled by the banks of rivers and established civilizations. The calendar of populations settled in floodplains is in sync with the ebb and flow of the river. Festivals have been created to commemorate these changes in seasons and floods. 
It is necessary to acknowledge the deep connection floodplain communities have with their river. In addition, acknowledging the communities’ flow needs is necessary to include them in the process of developing an environmental flow regime for a river.  More information about environmental flows in India can be read here.

PSI is working on this component on several fronts. In addition to its own independent studies on this issue, it is also a part of the WWF consortium set up to assess the environmental flow requirements of the Ganga.

Developed by: People's Science Institute, Dehra Doon, Uttarakhand, India