Spatial Assessment of Shrinking Deltas

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The Project

Indian deltas are sinking at a faster rate due to uncontrolled anthropogenic activities by humans. Proliferation of large dams, illegal and non-strategic mining of river sand and over extraction of ground water aggravate the stress to the delta by minimizing the sediment flow from upstream to the coastal zone resulting in sediment starve delta environment. Many studies on these delta systems have been reported on various aspects by both national and international researches. The outcome of all such researchers indicates a depletion of deltas especially at the coastal end, termed as delta sinking. Most of the research is on sea level rise aspect and few on human activities. This research will emphasize on an integrated approach of both anthropogenic activities along with climate change factors with model simulations. Remote sensing and GIS along with coastal sediment models will be utilized to the best of their potential. The research will highlight key factors responsible for the deprivation of sediment and the delta environment, which can be taken up by coastal policy makers to regulate norms for sustainability of these delta systems along the coast alike coastal regulation norms.


  • To demarcate the change pattern in the morphology, land use/cover, Topography and coastal status of the deltas in the last five decades

  • Significant parameters responsible for the instability of deltas

  • Identify the level of depletion and the stability of the delta.

  • To catalogue the stressed factors in the deltaic systems.

Pilot Study

Cauvery delta, Tamil Nadu

Key Findings

  • Major geomorphic features of the delta

  • Land utilisations within the delta environment
  • Topography of the Cauvery delta

  • Prevailing anthropogenic activities in the delta
  • Annual soil loss in the delta

  • Upstream damping activities
  • Coastal Issues of the delta


  • Temporal morphology and land uses of the delta
  • Topography of the delta
  • Soil loss hotspots in the delta
  • Coastal erosion/accretion of the delta

Field Survey Sites

DEM survey from Cuddalore to Thiruvarur (Cauvery Delta), Tamil Nadu