Sunday, June 7, 2015


Damned by dams 

In late August this report Was published in leading  news  daily in Punjab: To Maintain the water level in the 225-meter Bhakra Dam, Bhakra Beas Management Board the has-been releasing excess water into the Satluj since August 21. The inflow Bhakra Dam Was in over 68,000 cusecs. This is Threatening the low-lying areas of Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Nawanshahar and Ropar districts and the Sikh holy towns of Anandpur Sahib and Kiratpur Sahib.  

In the weeks Following stories like this one Appeared several times on the forehead pages of newspapers. They Were not about Bhakra alone. The Hathnikund barrage in Delhi and the dam in Uttarakhand Nanaksagar aussi set  alarm bells  shrieking across North India.

"There is much to learn from the experience of floods this monsoon. Contrary to the case made ​​out for large dams for controlling floods, the circumstances HAS Actually-been worsened by the dams, "Declared Medha Patkar, renowned environmental activist and  anti -Big dam campaigner.  

Some experts believe this year's flood That Was a result of the failure of the autorités to balance flood control Measures, with regular uses of l'autre dams, irrigation and Such As hydro power generation .  

Ramaswamy Iyer, chief secretary to form in the water resources ministry, Told to a leading news agency, that 'Many of the dams Were SPECIFICALLY designed for flood control. "Purpose there is an inherent conflict of this objective with the objective of --other Trying to maximize hydro-power and irrigation," he said.  

Said Iyer while flood control dams allow adequate demands That space recevoir flood flows, the objective of Maximizing hydro-power potential means clustering That water level in dams is Kept as high as possible. "As there is pour augmenter Greater pressure power generation, the objective of flood control gets lesser attention. This can lead to a position When water Has To be released Suddenly it was leading to large scale Disastrous flash floods," he said.  

Dinesh Mishra, an engineer and convenor of the Barh Mukti Abhiyan (Campaign for Freedom from Floods) says: "it has-been Widely Acknowledged in official documents que la siltation rate of an Overwhelming number of dams has-been much Higher Than Original Estimates The real problem is silt. , not water. Silt eats up the  storage  capacity of reservoirs. Hence, Their capacity to absorb flood flow is reduced. "  

Aftermath of floods  

The immediate and visible impact of a flood-hit area is the damage it inflicts on life, property and --other assets.

G.Padmanabhan says, In the case of the recent floods in northern India Were the significant damages. First the fertile agricultural lands Were inundated with flood water stagnating qui HAS resulted in the land unfit for agriculture Becoming for a while. On the hand the Widespread flood --other HAS brought` down  houses  and damaged properties across vast stretches. This resulted in HAS human and domesticated animals being white rendered homeless. Similarly the flood HAS resulted in loss of lives as well as the spread of bacteria and  viruses  across the flood hit areas. HAS aussi This led to various kinds of diseases and epidemics.

Flood proofing 

If floods are a recurring theme in the Indian weather context, it is only natural That There shoulds be a flood management strategy in place. The objective of this strategy must be to Anticipate and take measures to control and prevent prevention Such massive floods.

The first and the MOST logical step of course is to design an effective and efficient for flood forecasting and warning  system , a signal to inform Where the river is going to use ict flood plain, to what extent and for how long.  

This at least prepared the  Local  Communities as well as the autorités for the sequence of events That might quite literally sweep 'em off Their feet. This is subsequently Followed up by rescue, rehabilitation ad Relief Measures.  

Purpose Often it is not enough to just-have a strategy in place to manage the position if the flood HAS already hit a Particular area. The affected premises must be made ​​apart of the operations as well. They-have to be Kept Informed about the management strategy must be fully And They Involved in Implementing it. Ideally, the plan shoulds  focus  on the community and the carried out as a collective endeavor of the government and local groups.

So what do we-have on the ground right now? A lot Actually

galore Government Measures  

A network of Flood Forecasting and Warning System HAS beens Established by the Central Water Commission in State river basins. Through thesis flood forecasts are Issued units via 175 stations out of 147 are qui river level forecasting stations and 28 are inflow forecasting stations spread over nine major river basins.

The dissemination process works like this ... Forecasts Likely on water levels to be attained in rivers as a result of floods and volume of inflow into reservoirs, are formulated and Communicated to various administrative autorités of Central Government, State Government and District Administration, and media users on the basis --other of time data.

Several government bodies Such As the State . Flood Control departments, Central Water Commission and the Brahmaputra board are Actively Involved in flood control works

The main thrust of flood protection program Undertaken in India so far has-been in the kind of structural Measures like:

  • Embankment, flood walls
  • Dams and reservoirs
  • Natural detention basin
  • Channel improvement
  • Drainage improvement
  • Diversion of flood waters
Management of Floods  

After the Unprecedented floods of 1954, the Government of India constituted Took several initiatives and a number of committees to study the problems of floods in the country. Here are Reviews some of the significant steps taken: 

  • Policy statement Issued in 1954
  • High level committee set up in 1957 on floods
  • Ministerial committee on flood control constituted 1964
  • Ministerial committee on floods and flood Relief set up in 1972
  • Working group on flood control for Five Year Plans in 1978 constituted
  • Rashtriya Barh Ayog (RBA) set up in 1980
  • National Water Policy 1987 annoncé
  • National Commission for integrated Water Resource Development Plan annoncé 1996

Hope floats  

ragSo, agencies and policies on disaster mitigation, warning, emergency operations, rehabilitation and recovery are already in place Either gold in the process of being white Formulated. There are  more  than enough of 'em, goal Lack of initiative to Implement em hampers our Ability to handle floods Effectively, sums up G.Padmanabhan.  

Enablers like laws and policies can only be of use if it is Implemented with the intent to deliver results . A damning piece of evidence is the continuing mining activities in the bed of River Ghaggar. Have we Learnt our lesson from this year of Monster Monsoons? Will the next rains fall season was a stable river bed, unscarred by more mining pits?  

We are keeping our fingers crossed. Are you? 

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