The Indus Delta-Catchment, River, Coast, and People

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© 2019 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.. The River Indus is one of the oldest documented rivers, formed by the collision of the Indian and Eurasian Plates more than 45. million years ago. The river runs 2900. km through four countries (Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, and China). It runs the entire length of Pakistan, and the River Indus basin forms 65% of the total country, with smaller rivers joining the course. The riverbanks have altered over geological times, and the delta has shifted westward. Before 1870, the river flowed with 17 branches into the Arabian Sea, which were blocked during the colonial times for the construction of irrigation canals and flood levees. Today there is only one functional channel (Khobar Creek). The freshwater and sediment flows have been reduced with the construction of large dams and man-made structures, and water is consumed to support agriculture production in the catchment area, nevertheless, the water use efficiency is very low. The scarcity of fresh water during the dry season results in the sea moving upstream, reaching several kilometers up the river, thus affecting the position of the estuary and the riverine, deltaic ecosystem.This chapter discusses the political geography, the people historically to the present, and the peoples' connectivity with the river and the adjacent land. Pre-and postindependence water distribution, transboundary (internal and external) water agreements, and their current relevance are also discussed. Also discussed are natural and anthropogenic factors that the river and its people have to live through. In addition, the complicated politics and socioeconomics of the River Indus and its catchment are presented with a brief overview of the interests and conflicts that surround each. © 2019 Copyright

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Coasts and Estuaries: The Future

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