Tackling recurrent flooding
Floods in Assam and other north-eastern States in recent years caused devastation of life and property, which is an annual problem in the region.
Published Date - 24 March 2021, 05:28 PM
Floods have been recurrent phenomenon in many parts of India, causing loss of lives and public property and bringing untold misery to the people, especially those in the rural areas. There is also a larger economic impact, as they derail economic activities, thus affecting growth. Indian continent has peculiar climatic conditions since it has floods in some parts whereas drought in other parts. Read more about what causes frequent flooding and methods to deal the phenomenon.
Floods in Assam and other north-eastern States in recent years caused devastation of life and property, which is an annual problem in the region. However, floods are not restricted to North-eastern India, rather it affects many other areas in the country. India is highly vulnerable, as most of its geographical area is prone to annual flooding.
Factors behind increase in floods
- Climate Change: According to the International Panel for Climate Change, the rainfall intensity, duration and frequency are going to increase in the future.
- Trans-National Rivers: The fact that some of the rivers like Brahmaputra, many tributaries of Ganga are causing damage in India originate in neighboring countries, adds another complex dimension to the problem.
- Earthquakes: About 56% area of India is vulnerable to moderate to major earthquakes. As many of the river basins in India lie in earthquake-prone areas, the course of the river is not stable and amounts to flooding.
- Unplanned Development: Unplanned development, encroachments in riparian zones, failure of flood control structures, unplanned reservoir operations, poor drainage infrastructure, deforestation, land use change and sedimentation in river beds are exacerbating floods.
- Urban Flooding: Flooding in the cities and the towns is a recent phenomenon caused by increasing incidence of heavy rainfall in a short period of time.
- Many reservoirs and Hydro-electric plants do not have enough gauging stations for measurement of flood level, which is the principal component for flood prediction and forecast.
Disaster Preparedness Plan: A comprehensive flood management plan is needed to include Disaster preparedness. This may require strengthening of the following:
- Flood Hotspot Mapping at local and regional scale.
- River flood modelling to prepare for incidences like reservoir breach and emergency water release from dams.
- Advanced techniques such as mapping based on satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems will help in development of flood early warning systems.
- Hard Solutions: It involves civil engineering construction such as dams, culverts and dykes, widening and deepening of river channels and diversion channels to store and divert water to increase the lag time of water reaching downstream.
- Ecological Soft Solutions: The solutions such as restoration and management of riparian zones, afforestation along the river channels which led to retention of rainwater and reduces the river discharge.
- Focusing on Urban Flood Management: The subject of urban flooding needs exclusive attention and the proper implementation of NDMA guidelines on Urban Flooding 2016, is the need of the hour.
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