Rainfall, subsurface flows and snow melt from glaciers are the main sources of water in river Ganga.
Surface water resources of Ganga have been assessed at 525 billion cubic meter (BCM). Out of its 17 main tributaries Yamuna,
Sone, Ghagra and Kosi contribute over half of the annual water yield of the Ganga. These tributaries meet the Ganga at
Allahabad and further downstream. The river has a problem of low flows between the Haridwar - Allahabad stretch. December
to May are the months of lean flow in the Ganga.
On an average, each square km of the Ganga basin receives a million
cubic meter (MCM) of water as rainfall. 30% of this is lost as evaporation, 20% seeps to the subsurface and the remaining 50% is available
as surface runoff. The deep channel of the river bounded by high banks facilitates the passage of ground water as base flow. Annual flooding
is the characteristic of all rivers in the Ganga basin. The Ganga rises during the monsoon but the high banks restrict the flood water from
spreading. The flood plain is usually 0.5 to 2 km wide. This active flood plain is flooded every year. In addition to this the existing structures on the
Ganga Basin also affect its discharge.