(Feature Image: Pillar with flood level marked on the bank of Yamuna river at Old Railway Bridge level forecast site in Delhi. Source:- Sanchit Khanna/HT Photos)
During monsoon season, Centre Water Commission’s (CWC) carries flood monitoring and forecast work through a network of 332 stations[i] covering 20 major river basins. The stations are comprised of Level Forecast (LF), Level Monitoring (LM) and Inflow Forecast (IF) sites. The LF sites have Warning Level (WL), Danger Level (DL), Highest Flood Level (HFL), date of HFL information while LM sites maintain HFL and HFL date records. At IF sites flood level for respective dams/ barrages with inflow, out flow figures are measured and forecast is issued accordingly.
However, there are plenty of concerns plaguing CWC’s flood forecast and monitoring work across country for years. In this 2022 SW monsoon season, the agency has exhibited one more problematic tendency which exhibits not only its careless approach vis-a-vis keeping accurate information of HFL breach events, but it also seems strange that it realises it has giving wrong HFL level and date information mostly only after crossing the HFL now.
Continue reading “Monsoon 2022: CWC Changing HFLs in Ad-hock Manner“
(Feature Image: Karam dam after breach. Source: Patrika)
Every week we get more evidence of the massive Dam safety mess in Madhya Pradesh. The Karam dam disaster that started on the eve of independence day is still unfolding. The inquiry committee report has been submitted, but it has not been made public. This is totally wrong and shocking. Dam Safety is a public interest issue and all information related to dam safety has to be in public domain. The inquiry committee report should be immediately put in public domain. More importantly an independent inquiry should be set up as the inquiry set up earlier was more of an in-house inquiry.
Close on heals of Karam dam disaster comes the news of risks due to unattended Maheshwar dam, a massive dam on Narmada river that remains unfinished and unattended, with one of the gates damaged and story of stolen motors, wires and other spare parts and power cut, which means the hydraulic system for gates is non-functional. Again the report of the NVDA-MWR officials after visit to the dam site should be in out in public domain, as also the reports of the dam safety committee reportedly set up the MP govt for assessing safety of all the dams of MP.
Continue reading “DRP NB 290822: MP’s Dam safety mess: Publish the Karam inquiry report“
(Feature image: Flood water rushing through damaged portion of Lateri stop dam. Source: Hum Samvet)
Portion of a stop dam in Lateri Block of Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh collapsed in morning hours of Monday, August 22, 2022 amidst heavy rains. The earthen dam is located at Islamnagar near Murvas in Lateri block of Vidisha district. The stop dam in Betwa basin is reportedly built a year ago by forest department. The reason behind the collapse is stated to be heavy rainfall.
Continue reading “Madhya Pradesh: Collapse of Lateri Stop Dam in Vidisha“
(Feature Image:- Vimal Bhai with a group of villagers in Uttarakhand. Photo: Matu Jansangathan/ The Wire)
It’s very sad occasion. Vimalbhai, who has been tirelessly active on issues related to dams, rivers and environment in Uttarakhand in particular and India in general, left us on Aug 15, 2022 for his journey beyond this world. He was a remarkably dedicated, committed and yet always smiling, simple man with simple needs. His loss is already being felt. May his soul rest in peace and may his friends and family get the strength to bear the loss.
Continue reading “DRP NB 220822: Salutes to Vimalbhai”
(Feature Image: RMC plants located in active floodplain of Yamuna at Noida More submerged in flood water on Aug. 13, 2022. Image Credit:- Vikrant Tongad, SAFE)
A much awaited flood spell has flowed through Delhi during August 13-14, 2022. It came after more than two months of south west monsoon. Usually by this time, Yamuna river would have witnessed two or three flood spells in national capital lending a fresh lease of life to one of the most polluted rivers of India.
The small scale flood spell in the river has invaded parts of floodplains under abuse and encroachment by government agencies in open defiance of National Green Tribunal (NGT) January 13, 2015 judgement[i]. Apart from this flood, Delhi stretch of the river has witnessed few more abnormal events in this monsoon season so far.
Continue reading “August 2022: Yamuna flood reclaims encroached floodplains in Delhi“
(Feature image: Video grab of artificial lake on Chenab river. Source Weatherman Shubham @shubhamtorres09, Twitter, Aug. 16, 2022)
Debris brought by flash flood in Jahlma nullah blocked[i] the flows of Chenab (Chandrabhaga) river for about 6 hours in Udaipur tehsil of Lahual and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh forming a huge lake. The incident occurred following heavy rainfall on August 15, 2022 night.
Continue reading “August 2022: Flash flood debris block Chenab flow in Lahual, Himachal Pradesh“
(Feature Image:- Cauvery water flows to the brim at the Amma Mandapam padithurai in Srirangam, after discharge of waters from the Mettur dam at Tiruchi on Friday Aug. 05, 2022. Photos: M. Moorthy/@THChennai)
In a major development, the Union Jal Shakti Minister and Central Water Commission (CWC) has accepted that faulty operation of dams can lead to floods. SANDRP has been at the forefront of pointing this reality for more than a decade and a half and authorities were in denial till recently. So this acknowledgement that came through a statement in Parliament by Union Minister of state for Jal Shakti on Aug 8, 2022, as reported by PIB (Press Information Bureau) Press Release. One hopes this is only the first step that will ultimately ensure that dams are operated in a optimal, completely transparent way to reduce the flood risks in the downstream area to the maximum possible extent and where this does not happen, there is accountability.
Unfortunately, as the same PR noted, no data on flooding caused by faulty operations of reservoirs are maintained centrally. In fact such data is not available with any official agencies anywhere in India. This needs to be corrected urgently. It is also necessary to define the norms of safe operation of dams and to ensure that all the relevant information in this regard is put up in public domain on daily basis for each dam in India. Similarly for each dam, rule curves should be updated and put in public domain so that everyone can see if the dam is operating according to rule curve or not. At the end of each monsoon, a credible independent review should be undertaken to see where we have faltered, who are responsible and what corrective measures are required.
Continue reading “DRP NB 150822: CWC accepts faulty operation of dams can lead to floods“
Bharudpura dam (also called Karam dam) on Karam river, a tributary of Narmada river, near Gujari village in Dharampuri Tehsil of Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh faced major disaster after the very first filling in August 2022 when there was seepage from and massive erosion of the dam wall starting from Aug 11, 2022. The disaster at the Rs 304.44 crore project whose construction started in 2018 created a major turbulence in Madhya Pradesh with allegations of sub-standard work, corruption and attempts to hush up the safety issues. As a precaution, the administration has on Aug 12, 2022 vacated 12 downstream villages in Dhar district and 6 in Khargone district[i] and stopped traffic on roads close to the dam[ii]. Dhar Collector also said that the efforts to stop the seepage were not successful and that possible reason for erosion is the use of black rather than red soil in the construction of the earthn dam.
Continue reading “Bharudpura Dam in MP faces disaster after first filling in Aug 2022“
For July 2022, an analysis of the daily district wise rainfall data from India Meteorological Department (IMD) shows that there were 809 (717 in July 2021) instances when district rainfall of a day was above 50 mm. [Considering that the normal monthly rainfall of India July is 285.3 mm, the average daily rainfall in this month is about 9.2 mm.] Such high rainfall instances included 663 (595 in July 2021) instances when rainfall was 50-100 mm, 107 (98 in July 2021) instances when it was 100-150 mm, 28 (17 in July 2021) times it was 150-200 mm and 16 (7 in July 2021) times above 200 mm. Interestingly, in June 2022[i] there were twenty seven instances when rainfall was above 200 mm, when the rainfall is supposed to be much below July rainfall. As noted in detailed article[ii], the July 2022 rainfall all over India was 16.8% above normal.
Continue reading “High Rainfall days in India’s districts in July 2022“
On the August 7 2022, more than 1500 Punekars made their way to the Hills of the city and came together to protect “Tekdi” from multiple shortsighted developmental pressures. Hills of Pune are the last bastions for urban wild spaces and are also the watersheds for several streams flowing in the city, now bundled under the misnomer of Nallas or drains.
Continue reading “Celebrating 30 years of protecting a Spring in a City”