Dam floods

Dam Floods, Failures and Disasters in 2022

This annual overview highlights the dam induced flood disasters, dam failure incidents in India during 2022. This year, the massive floods in Godavari have exposed the flood vulnerability of giant projects like Polavaram and Kaleshwaram. Also there have been multiple dam failures and dam induced floods in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. In absence of coordination and data sharing Hirakud induced floods in Mahanadi basin have affected several villages in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. There have been several instances of unscientific operations of dams and the operators continue to hide behind TINA (There Is No Alternative) excuse. The functioning of CWC as key flood forecasting and management agency has not shown any significant improvement. However, now it has accepted that faulty dam operations can lead to flood in downstream areas. Please see links to our 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 annual compilations on the subject.    

CWC accepts faulty operation of dams can lead to floodsIn 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 Standard Operating Procedures, 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.

The disaster at the Karam dam in Madhya Pradesh that ultimately led to collapse of the dam on Aug 14 2022 night is reminder how problematic is CWC’s and state water resources’ performance in terms of an updated National Register of Large Dams (Karam dam is not listed in the National Register), approving design of each large dam before starting construction and ensuring independent monitoring of construction of each dam as each such dam is a potential source of disaster. All this needs to be brought under the Dam Safety Act passed by the Parliament as the current act does not include all these.  https://sandrp.in/2022/08/15/drp-nb-150822-cwc-accepts-faulty-operation-of-dams-can-lead-to-floods/  (15 Aug. 2022)

MoWR/ CWC informing the Parliament that “faulty operations of reservoirs may sometimes result in flooding of downstream region”. However, they are also admit: “Data on flooding caused due to faulty operations of reservoirs is not maintained centrally.” However, their claim “The Dam Safety Act 2021 very comprehensively provides for surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of the dams for prevention of dam failure related disasters and to provide for institutional mechanism to ensure their safe functioning and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto” is not correct on many counts. Similarly their claim about flood forecasting is far from correct. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1849943 (8 Aug 2022)

CWC As per flood forecasting network of CWC, during the last 3 years, in addition to flood prone States of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, extreme floods were witnessed in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Telangana due to excess rainfall in these States combined with extremely heavy rainfall in short duration. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1848467  (04 Aug. 2022)

Madhya Pradesh: Failure of Kadam, Khedi, Lateri, Garethia Dams & Dams related Flood Disasters

Karam Dam faces disaster after first filling Bharudpura dam (also called Karam dam) on Karam river, a tributary of Narmada river, near Gujari village in Dharampuri Tehsil of Dhar district 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 and stopped traffic on roads close to the dam. 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 earthen dam. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/13/bharudpura-dam-in-mp-faces-disaster-after-first-filling-in-aug-2022/  (13 Aug. 2022)

Dainik Bhaskar, Aug 15 2022 quotes SANDRP on the issue of Karam flood disaster in Madhya Pradesh. Karam Dam demolition cost is Rs 1.5 cr, the cost of repair will be Rs 30 Cr.

Dept and construction agency both failed in planning & execution Ex-chief engineer, MPWRD, NN Gandhi said, “There are well-laid technical parameters as to how to construct such a dam. It appears there was failure on not only the planning part but its execution too.” He said there were several steps which were required to be taken to construct the dam like testing of the soil, its moisture, soil compaction, layers of soil etc. Also, there was a role of monitoring too. If the department saw any flaw in the execution of the planning it should have asked the construction agency to stop the work but apparently it was not done.

– Ex-engineer-in-chief AK Sojatia said this dam was quite a different dam- half made of soil and half concrete. Such a dam was required to be built within a year. “Exceeding the time limit appears to be the only reason behind the dam breach”, he added.

– Ex-chief engineer, MPWRD SP Singh said, “Whenever a dam is completed a spillway is constructed before its use. In the case of Karam dam the spillway was missing, hence a channel had to be created later when there was the breach to drain out the water.” Such dam should be filled only to one third level in first year. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/karam-dam-breach-department-and-construction-agency-both-failed-in-planning-and-execution-say-experts  (19 Aug. 2022)

MP’s Dam safety mess: Publish the Karam inquiry reportEvery 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 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.

There is also the news of collapse and damage to more dams including Lateri dam in Vidisha and also some other dams as reported by media. All this requires urgent action to achieve a much more credible and confidence inspiring dam safety situation in MP. https://sandrp.in/2022/08/29/drp-nb-290822-mps-dam-safety-mess-publish-the-karam-inquiry-report/  (29 Aug. 2022)

Karam dam after the breach. Nai Duniya.

Karam Dam: Report raises finger at quality of construction A four-member team constituted to investigate the quality of construction of Karam dam in Dhar district submitted its report to the government on Sunday, according to sources of water resource department (WRD). The WRD officials refused to comment.

– The report states that there has been negligence at the local level in the construction of the dam. Firstly, there was haste in filling water in the dam. As the dam is high, experienced engineers should have been engaged, which was not done. Although the team has pointed out irregularities in the construction work, it is also being said that several disclosures have been made in the report, which are aimed to give a clean chit to contractor and the officials. According to sources, the investigation team has pointed out several flaws in the wall of the dam. The soil of dam was black cotton soil, which was not covered with stone and mud from above. There were pebbles in the soil, which caused erosion in soil when the water was filled. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-water-filled-in-haste-states-report-on-karam-dam-leak-raises-finger-at-quality-of-construction  (21 Aug. 2022)

Seepage from another dam reported in Dhar Amid the ongoing controversy over the Karam dam breach, seepage from another dam in Tirla development block of Dhar district has become a new headache for the administration. Though administrative officials are saying that the seepage in Khedi Dam is not that serious and can be repaired. The dam construction started in 2017 and completed in 2019. It currently irrigates 900 ha. It currently has storage of 5 MCM. https://www.freepressjournal.in/indore/seepage-from-another-dam-reported-in-dhar-district  (19 Aug. 2022) The construction of Khedi Dam of Kua Panchayat of Tirla block started in 2016-17 and still going on. However, big cracks have appeared in some parts of the dam raising questions on its safety. The repeated complaints by villagers remained unaddressed. https://www.patrika.com/bhopal-news/the-danger-of-bursting-khedi-dam-increases-7718329/  (18 Aug. 2022) Within a year of construction, cracks started appearing in the dam. The villagers complained about this several times, which were ignored and the cracks have started increasing. In 2017, the government had sanctioned Rs 29.50 crores for the construction of a pond in Gram Panchayat Khedi, while in 2018 the dam was constructed at a cost of Rs 11.50 crores. https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/dhar-huge-cracks-in-khedi-dam-thousands-of-liters-of-wasted-water-7042919  (19 Sept. 2021)

Vidisha Collapse of Lateri Stop Dam The incident has flooded farming land and damaged crops belonging to seven villages in downstream areas. There are reports of flash flood washing away agricultural equipment, pipes of some farmers. The administration had to evacuate affected villagers to safer places before the deluge. There is no report of any human causality due to the incident.  https://sandrp.in/2022/08/23/madhya-pradesh-collapse-of-lateri-stop-dam-in-vidisha/  (23 Aug. 2022)

Bhopal Garethia dam develops cracks Garethia dam in Dungaria village of Berasia block in Bhopal district, has developed cracks. People fear their villages may be flooded. Cracks developed due to soil erosion as was the condition of Karam dam before its wall collapsed. Bhopal district administration with engineers have swung into action and filled the cracks with black cotton soil.

– Sarpanch of Dungaria village panchayat Gangaram Prajapati said he informed water resources department engineers about it but when the latter did not take it seriously, he complained to SDO of the department. As a result, department’s senior officials reached the spot immediately and found cracks in Garethia reservoir, which were about 15 to 20 feet deep. Though villagers filled it with soil, they said that the cracks were so big and deep that a major accident could happen anytime. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/now-garethia-dam-develops-cracks-soil-used-to-fill-cracks-says-sdm  (28 Aug. 2022)

15 villages flooded as sluice gates of 3 dams open Eleven sluice gates of Bhadbhada dam, nine sluice gates of Kaliasot dam and four sluice gates of Kolar Dam were opened on Sunday (July 24) leading to flood like situation in 15 villages in Kolar belt. With the opening of 11 sluice gates of Bhadbhada dam, water from Upper Lake was released into Kaliasot river. The sluice gates of Kaliasot dam were opened as it attained full tank level on Sunday (July 24). As many as 15 villages received 4 feet water after nine gates of Kaliasot dam were opened on Sunday. The people were not evacuated as water drained out. Alert was sounded in villages before gates were opened. https://www.freepressjournal.in/bhopal/bhopal-15-villages-flooded-as-sluice-gates-of-3-dams-open  (24 July 2022)

Rs. 529 cr bridge collapses This bridge located in Mandideep of Raisen district, adjacent to the capital Bhopal, could not withstand the strong current of the Kaliasot river and one side of it collapsed on the intervening night of July 24-25 affecting vehicular traffic. The bridge was constructed recently. https://www.livehindustan.com/madhya-pradesh/story-a-part-of-the-bridge-between-bhopal-narmadapuram-collapsed-due-to-heavy-rains-video-6840836.html  (25 July 2022)

Seoni Bhimgarh dam releases washed away bridge, floods residents Udha a 150 meter long bridge on the Wainganga river on the Bhimgarh-Sunwara road under PMGSY at a cost of Rs 3 crore was washed away by floods after heavy rains on Aug. 28-29 and water released from Bhimgarh Dam. The bridge was completed a month ago on Barbaspur Harduli to Sunwara road. The construction work of the bridge started two years ago, which was yet to be inaugurated. After the dam release, water started flowing up to 10 feet above the bridge and it could not withstand the tremendous velocity. The slab of the bridge was washed away and T guards erected were also destroyed in the flood.

Udha bridge damaged by Bhimgarh dam floods. Image source: Nai Duniya

Hundreds of houses in low lying Kevalari area in Bhimgarh township were flooded. About 500 meters concrete road from Bhimgarh to the colony was washed away.

Alleging corruption in the construction, villagers said that the contractor had got the construction work done without quality monitoring or assurance. The contract was given to a Bhopal based contractor at a cost of Rs 306.80 lakh. https://www.naidunia.com/madhya-pradesh/seoni-bridge-collapse-in-mp-bridge-destroyed-in-flood-water-before-inauguration-in-seoni-district-6280921  (31 Aug. 2020)

Hoshangabad A newly constructed bridge between Narmadapuram-Betul in Sukhatwa village in Narmadapuram district was washed away after opening of Tawa dam gates resulting in closure of Bhopal-Nagpur highway. Following heavy rainfall in the catchment area of the dam, all the 13 gates wer opened and about 2.4 lakh cusecs of water was released. The old bridge was already in damaged condition there and a temporary bridge was built in a hurry.  This was the second time that the water was released by opening the gates of the dam.  https://hindi.news18.com/news/madhya-pradesh/hoshangabad-breaking-news-due-to-heavy-rain-narmadapuram-betul-bridge-broken-bhopal-nagpur-highway-closed-mpsg-4400556.html  (18 July 2022)

Maheshwar Dam on Narmada river is standing unattended for six years since 2016 when last inspection was done. One gate of the 27 spillway gates have already fallen down.

Each gate weighs 225 tons, needs hydraulic power operated lift to operate them, but there is no electric supply and lot of motors, wires, other parts have been stolen and continues to be stolen. If more gates fall, there is risk of submergence in the upstream and then overflow. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/mp/bhopal/news/people-trapped-in-floods-living-on-mountains-shifted-9000-people-from-60-villages-of-bhind-morena-130234107.html  (26 Aug 2022)

Omkarshwar: An Example of Dam floods killing people? “The deceased have been identified as Darshana (45) and six-year-old boy Lakshya. Eleven others onboard were rescued with the help of divers. The incident took place at 5pm, when water from Omkareshwar Dam was released into the river,” he (a police official) said. https://www.ptinews.com/news/west/mp-two-dead-11-rescued-as-boat-capsizes-in-narmada-river-in-omkareshwar/451415.html  (03 Nov. 2022)

Andhra Pradesh, Telangana: Polavaram; Kaleshwaram, Kadam Dams Flooded

Polavaram, Kaleshwaram projects damaged, Kadam dam overflowed One of the noteworthy features of the floods in ongoing on monsoon so far has been what is happening around large dam projects, particularly in Central India, Eastern India and Southern India. The Polavaram dam on Godavari river, the largest under construction dam in India, again suffered damage this monsoon as confessed by the Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Ambati Rambabu after his frequent visits to the dam. The dam had suffered damage in 2019 floods and it is still not clear what is way forward and the dam has again suffered damage. This will make the unviable project even more unviable, but the government will continue to sink good money after the massive sunk funds.

The Kaleshwaram project in Godavari basin, the largest lift irrigation projects of India has also faced damages with at least two pump houses with large number of massive capacity pumps getting submerged, and third one partially flooded. The full impact of this damage will only be known after assessment once the floods recede.

In the same Godavari basin in the northern Telangana district of Adilabad, Kadam irrigation project received such unprecedented quantities of inflows that the water level went above the Full Reservoir Level, even after opening all the gates, as per reports. This posed such a risk to the structure, and it also led to evacuation of several villages. It is not clear if the dam operation was as per the rule curve or if it has an updated rule curve. Why was the dam full so early in the monsoon? Was advance action taken to release the excess water?

Further south in Krishna basin, Tungabhadra dam was so full that for several days it has been releasing over a lakh cusecs of water also submerging the UNESCO designated heritage site at Hampi in the downstream of the dam, upstream from two bridges that are also reportedly acting as bottle necks. Again the question arise if the Tungabhadra dam followed rule curve, if it took advance action to ensure that water was released so that it does not have to release large quantities of water into flooded downstream areas. No answers are forthcoming.

All these episodes (and there are many more) raise the questions about the structural and operational safety of India’s dams particularly in monsoon and also shows the abysmal performance of CWC and other dam authorities. It also shows how inadequate is the dam safety act recently passed by the parliament. https://sandrp.in/2022/07/18/drp-nb-180722-polavaram-kaleshwaram-projects-damaged-kadam-dam-overflowed/  (18 July 2022)

Telangana Floods damage Kaleshwaram pumping stations Two Massive pump houses of Kaleshwaram LIS submerged and a third one partially damaged in Godavari floods.

– “The present flood of 28.46 lakh cusecs (as on July 14) is the highest since August 19, 1986 which was 28.18 lakh cusecs .Before that the last highest recorded flood was recorded at 30.03 lakh cusecs on August 19, 1953,” an irrigation official said.

Unprecedented flood in Godavari leave massive trail of loss to Kaleshwaram project with three key pump houses of the project submerged. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement/The Hindu

– According to irrigation department officials, the Kannepalli pump house at Medigadda village of Mahadevpur block in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district was completely flooded by Thursday evening. The pump house comprising of 17 giant motor pumps — popularly referred to as “Baahubali motors” — has the capacity to lift three thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) of water every day. Each motor pump weighs 2,376 metric tonnes and has 139 megawatts capacity.

– Similarly, another mega pump house at Annaram in the upstream of Godavari river near Peddapalli district, was also completely flooded. This pump house comprises of 12 such gigantic pump houses.

– The third major pump house under the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation scheme (KLIS) at Sundilla also suffered partial damage, but the irrigation engineers have ensured that the water did not enter the pumps. “But at Medigadda and Annaram, the pump houses are submerged at least 10 metre deep and it will be a gigantic task to drain out the water,” said a senior irrigation engineer working on the Medigadda site, on the condition of anonymity. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/floods-damage-kaleshwaram-pumping-stations-in-telangana-101657910825389.html  (16 July 2022)

Kaleshwaram under water: Learn lessons to move forward Biksham Gujja The benefits of this project are still to be seen and so far it provided no significant irrigation, water for domestic use or for Industry. Before that the project has run into several unexpected problems. Damage due to flooding in July 2022 to equipment and safety of structures, crops, private properties may run into thousands of crores. It is important to mention here that the water discharges are much higher during the 1986 floods. So, the current water discharges of Godavari is not the highest recorded. Imagine the damage, if 1986 level of water discharge occurs. Why the pumps are submerged? Last year too water entered pumping stations.

– Independent review of the project is the only way forward. https://www.siasat.com/kaleshwaram-under-water-learn-lessons-to-move-forward-2372618/ (19 July 2022)

Union govt cannot pretend to be shocked Biksham Gujja Government bodies gave clearances and praised the project, while government-run financial institutions extended hefty loans to the very expensive effort. To claim that the Telangana government is singularly responsible for it is wrong.

Indeed, the Kaleshwaram project is very controversial and its cost and benefits, and that fact that its pumps are submerged in water were extensively reported. The two Union ministers appear to now be accepting what civil society in Telangana had been articulating all along – even before the project work stared. https://thewire.in/political-economy/kaleshwaram-lift-irrigation-project-nirmala-sitharaman-shekhawat  (14 Sept. 2022)

Kadam dam suffered damages The heavy inflows were at danger level at Kadam project since Wednesday (July 13, 2022) morning, touched 705 ft as against the dam’s full reservoir level (FRL) of 700 ft by late evening. Officials of Irrigation department deny the reports with videos that Kadem project suffered damage due to heavy inflows. “We have not received any such information from our engineers from the dam site,” a senior official said. He however said the situation was definitely beyond human control and 300 mm rainfall was reported in the catchment areas of Kadam project. “This is 500 years frequency flood” the official added. He said the Kadam project was receiving five lakh cusecs of water and as much as three lakh cusecs of water released downstream. https://telanganatoday.com/kadem-project-water-level-reaches-705-ft-as-against-700-ft-frl  (13 July 2022)

Kadem project water level reaches 705 ft as against 700 ft FRL. Telangana Today

The Kumuram Bheem, Satnala, and Yellampalli irrigation projects also received a heavy water flow. One gate of the Kadam project has also been opened. Meanwhile, heavy rains inundated the agricultural fields of Adilabad. Village roads and connecting roads were heavily flooded, affecting connectivity to other regions. Animals were washed away in multiple instances, while people were also caught in the floodwaters as officials released water from a few irrigation projects without prior warnings. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/070722/villages-on-banks-of-godavari-warned-of-flash-floods.html  (07 July 2022)

Govt yet to take steps to protect Kadem dam The government’s proposal to add five more crest gates to the Kadem project in Nirmal district to protect the dam in case of heavy flooding, still remains on paper. Though the technical team has submitted its report, the State government has not taken any initiative towards implementing the suggestions. In the last week of July, 2022, flood water flowed over the dam owing to inflow of over 5 lakh cusecs of water into the project following heavy rains.

– Officials heaved a sigh of relief as the dam withstood the gushing floodwater. A breach in the dam came as a blessing in disguise as it opened up an outlet for floodwater, easing pressure on the project. People in several villages downstream of the project spent sleepless nights and hundreds were evacuated to safety as they feared that the dam would be washed away. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/dec/14/telangana-govt-yet-to-take-steps-to-protect-kadem-dam-2527979.html  (14 Dec. 2022)

Kadem Dam Flood 2019:- Incessant rainfall on Saturday (Aug. 3, 2019) resulted in Kadem stream being in spate and it breached its banks at Kupti and inundated agriculture fields. The exact extent of fields in which water has entered will be known only after the rain stops, according to officials. The Kadem in spate also brought heavy inflows into the Kadem dam located downstream in Nirmal district which forced release of water into the Godavari by lifting five gates for most part of the day. The maximum inflow of over 1 lakh cusecs was recorded at 3 a.m. when 83,399 cusecs of flood water was released. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/kadem-breaches-banks-enters-farms/article28809634.ece  (03 Aug. 2019)

Lower Manair Dam gates’ iron cables needs replacement Lower Manair Dam (LMD) authorities have proposed the replacement of iron cables of the floodgates as a precautionary measure. The dam safety committee informed authorities that frequent flooding has weakened the iron ropes. However, Superintended Engineer P Shiva Prasad told Express that the dam gates and bund were safe. “For the safety of the dam, we have recommended that the iron cables be replaced,” he said. Notably, the recent floods damaged the gates of the Kadam dam, which made the LMD authorities seek sanction for the maintenance work on a priority basis as the proposal was postponed until after the monsoon. Irrigation Department officials said they were monitoring the dam’s safety. They added that the department would replace the cables of another 10 gates before the next monsoon. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/telangana/2022/aug/12/telanganas-lower-manair-damgates-iron-cables-needs-replacement-2486748.html  (12 Aug. 2022)

26 gates of Nagarjuna Sagar Project lifted to discharge heavy flood All the 26 crest gates of Nagarjuna Sagar Project were lifted for the second day on Friday (Aug. 12) due to heavy inflow from Srisailam reservoir to the project. The inflow to the project was recorded as 4,14,014 cusecs and combined outflow/discharge from all gates was 4,22,292 cusecs. The full water level in the project touched 587.50 feet against full reservoir level of 590 feet. Current water storage in the project was recorded at 305.8030 tmcs against full water storage of 312 tmcs. In 2009 and 2019, when the Krishna River experienced unprecedented floods, all the crest gates were lifted. https://www.indiatoday.in/cities/hyderabad/story/hyderabad-news-sagar-gates-nagarjuna-sagar-project-heavy-flood-water-discharge-1987241-2022-08-12  (12 Aug. 2022)

Farmers injured at Mallannasagar when water gushed In a shocking incident some farmers were reportedly injured when huge quantity of water was released from Mallannasagar in Toguta mandal in Siddipet district. The incident took place on Friday (Aug. 26) afternoon and the injured were shifted to a hospital at Hyderabad. According to sources, Rytu Bandhu Samithi president and MLC Palla Rajeshwar Reddy arranged a visit for about 75 farmers of various states. They were taken to Mallannasagar by Telangana Tourism Development Corporation buses.

The irrigation department Engineer in Chief B. Hari Ram explained to the farmers the Kaleshwaram project and other reservoirs. They were taken to pump house and, as water was released from the delivery channel, water gushed with heavy force, resulting in injuries to some farmers. Some farmers were recording videos while water was coming from the pump and then all of a sudden there was a huge force. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/farmers-injured-at-mallannasagar-when-water-gushed/article65815473.ece  (26 Aug. 2022)

Hyderabad Activist questions release of water from twin reservoirs Well known activist and Founder of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) Lubna Sarwat has opposed release of water from the twin reservoirs of Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar before they are filled up to the Full Tank Level. Through a public statement released on Tuesday (July 26), Ms. Sarwat said the release of water was “unauthorised, illegal, and immoral” and disputed the official claims of FTLs, 1,790 feet for Osman Sagar and 1,763.5 feet for Himayat Sagar.

The present FTL was a result of huge shrinkage in the area and storage capacity as there were encroachments within the reservoirs which was admitted by officials, she said. No action had been taken to remove the encroachments despite repeated representations, she lamented. Citing a fact-finding tour, she said there were constructions, compound walls, fencings and vast land stretches inside the FTL boundaries of the lakes. FTL pillars of HMWS&SB had been found uprooted, she said.

Questioning why the FTL boundary map of the reservoirs had not been kept in public domain, Ms. Sarwat furnished pictures of a sports village encroaching on to the lake bed of Osman Sagar. Expressing doubts about the “disproportionate” release of water, Ms. Sarwat demanded that the release be stopped, and FTL boundary maps along with the information about outflow and inflow be placed on the website. She demanded immediate eviction of all the identified encroachments and dredging of all the landfills inside the FTL boundaries. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/activist-questions-release-of-water-from-twin-reservoirs/article65686592.ece  (27 July 2022)

Rising water levels in the Musi, which was deemed a dead river for the last few decades, are the result of flood waters being released from Hyderabad’s two Nizam-era reservoirs, Osman Sagar and Himayat Sagar. (Express/Rahul V Pisharody)

Activists have been crying foul, stressing that when the changing weather and rainfall patterns are bound to cause massive downpours, one needs to look at the ground for solutions. “The city’s topography and contours are such that water from anywhere in the city will naturally flow into Musi. In the name of the city’s development and beautification of the river and its channels, a lot of damage has already been done to the river. As of a 2017 government report, there are over 5,400 encroachments on the river,” S Jeevan Kumar of Human Rights Forum lamented. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/hyderabad/hyderabad-rains-musi-river-floods-8063481/  (01 Aug. 2022)

Karnataka As dams get full, many villages face flood threat Many villages in Yadgir, Raichur, Bagalkot, Haveri, and Vijayanagar districts are put on high alert following heavy rain in the catchment areas of Almatti, Tungabhadra and Narayanpur dams. Due to heavy rain in Maharashtra and parts of North Karnataka, water level in Almatti dam in Vijayapura district is fast increasing. Water level has now reached to 515.77 metres against the FRL of 519.6 metres. The inflow has increased, and water level is expected to reach the maximum level in the next two days. If water level increases in Almatti dam, excess water will be released to Narayanpur dam of Yadgir district. Water level has already reached the maximum level in Narayanpur dam.

– Prakash Mudugal, assistant executive engineer, who is in-charge of Narayanpur dam, said the dam is now full. “If excess water is released from Almatti dam, then, water from this dam will be released by opening all crest gates and it likely to create a flood like situation in more than 80 villages of Shahpur, Shorapur, Hunasagi and Wadagera in Yadgir district and some villages of Lingasugur and Raichur taluks. People have been put on high alert and told to shift to safer places,” he said. “Today, there inflow at Almatti is 78,390 cusecs and it is increasing rapidly due to heavy rains in its catchment area. If there is an inflow of 4 lakh cusecs, then we must release excess water from our dam. In the next couple of days, we are likely to release water,” he added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hubballi/as-dams-get-full-many-north-karnataka-villages-face-flood-threat/articleshow/92776147.cms  (10 July 2022)

Water discharge from dams rises As monsoon picks up in Kodagu district again after a short break, Cauvery river is in spate with over 1 lakh cusecs of water being let out from KRS and Kabini dams. As rain has intensified in Wayanad district in Kerala, inflow to Kabini dam is increasing rapidly, forcing the authorities to let out 25,000 cusecs of water, which is almost double the amount released till Thursday (Aug. 5). It has led to flood-like situation in parts of Chamarajanagar district.

Around 7,500 cusecs of water is being released from Harangi reservoir which has added to the pressure on the downstream KRS dam, which is discharging 78,614 cusecs of water. Although the inflow is 66,345 cusecs, the dam authorities are not taking any chances as there are indications that the inflow could spike given incessant rainfall in the catchment areas of the KRS dam.  https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/water-discharge-from-dams-rises-cauvery-is-in-spate/articleshow/93382918.cms  (06 Aug. 2022)

The Tungabhadra dam, with a storage capacity of 1,633 feet, already has water level reaching 1,631 feet. To maintain the balance, 1 lakh cusecs of water was released, which has created a flood scare among the people living in the lower riparian of Tungabhadra dam. Of the 33 floodgates, 30 were opened on Sunday, August 7, following which many heritage sites of the Vijayanagara dynasty in Hampi were submerged. https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/karnataka-rains-gate-tungabhadra-dam-opened-districts-alert-taking-166615  (08 Aug. 2022)

Hampi monuments remain flooded in Tungabhadra waters  Continuing rainfall in the Tungabhadra catchment areas and the resultant discharge of over 1.64 lakh cusecs of water from the Tungabhadra reservoir continued to flood many monuments at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi in Vijayanagara district on Wednesday (Aug. 10). 

Monuments at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi in Vijayanagara district, Karnataka, was flooded in Tungabhadra waters. Photo Credit: SRIDHAR KAVALI/ The Hindu

As per the information provided by the Tungabhadra dam authorities at 6 p.m. on Wednesday (Aug. 10), the reservoir level was 1,631.62 feet, holding 100.289 tmcft of water against the full reservoir level (FRL) of 1,633 feet that could hold 105.788 tmcft. The dam was receiving 1.6 lakh cusecs of water and the authorities maintained the discharge of 1.81 lakh cusecs, including 10,638 cusecs to different canals. As much as 1.7 lakh cusecs of water were being released to the river through the spillway by lifting all the 33 crest gates – 28 gates by 4 feet and 5 by 1 foot.   https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/hampi-monuments-remain-flooded-in-tungabhadra-waters/article65754712.ece  (10 Aug. 2022)

Dams get full, many villages face flood threat Many villages in Yadgir, Raichur, Bagalkot, Haveri, and Vijayanagar districts are put on high alert following heavy rain in the catchment areas of Almatti, Tungabhadra and Narayanpur dams.

– Prakash Mudugal, assistant executive engineer, who is in-charge of Narayanpur dam, said the dam is now full. “If excess water is released from Almatti dam, then, water from this dam will be released by opening all crest gates and it is likely to create a flood like situation in more than 80 villages of Shahpur, Shorapur, Hunasagi and Wadagera in Yadgir district and some villages of Lingasugur and Raichur taluks. People have been put on high alert and told to shift to safer places,” he said. “Today, the inflow at Almatti is 78,390 cusecs and it is increasing rapidly due to heavy rains in its catchment area. If there is an inflow of 4 lakh cusecs, then we must release excess water from our dam. In the next couple of days, we are likely to release water,” he added. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hubballi/as-dams-get-full-many-north-karnataka-villages-face-flood-threat/articleshow/92776147.cms  (10 July 2022)

KRS Dam Floods Kaveri catchment area given flood warning as KRS dam almost full Heavy rains in the Kaveri catchment areas have caused the inflow into the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) to increase; as a result, the dam is expected to reach its full reservoir level soon. According to the flood alert issued by the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited, the surplus water (above the full reservoir level) would be discharged into the river at any time. https://www.deccanherald.com/state/karnataka-districts/kaveri-catchment-area-given-flood-warning-as-krs-dam-reservoir-almost-full-1124472.html  (07 July 2022)

Over 1 lakh cusecs of water was released from the KRS Dam, leading to a flood situation in the downstream areas. At 12pm on Sunday (Aug 7, 2022), 1.01 lakhs cusecs of water was released from the dam, as against the inflow of 85,247 cusecs. [According to CWC definition, a dam is said to have created flood when outflow is higher than inflow. So even by CWC’s definition, this is a case of dam induced flood.] Both the inflow and outflow are a new record for this monsoon. At 6 am, the outflow was 75,185 cusecs, while the inflow was 76,655 cusecs, but it shot up by noon. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mysuru/water-released-causes-floods-downstream/articleshow/93419001.cms  (08 Aug. 2022)

Tamil Nadu India’s typical reservoir operation procedure: Fill up the reservoir as soon as water is available, and then let out everything that comes in. Here is an example of Mettur dam on Cauvery River in Tamil Nadu as on Aug 29-31, 2022, from CWC hydrograph. No questions asked, no rule curve followed. This is bound to create avoidable flood disaster in downstream area.

Flood alert in 12 TN dists as Mettur discharge clocks 1.75L cusecs. DT Next

This, while a Flood alert has been sounded in twelve districts of TN, parts of upstream Cauvery basin in Karnataka already facing floods. The dams will contribute to floods, a month before the end of SW Monsoon and remember this area also gets rains in NE monsoon soon after SW Monsoon. https://www.dtnext.in/tamilnadu/2022/08/30/flood-alert-in-12-tn-dists-as-mettur-discharge-clocks-175l-cusecs  (30 Aug. 2022)

With the discharge from the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur stepped up to 1.50 lakh cusecs and could be increased further, the district administration has sounded flood alert to people living in low-lying areas in Bhavani and Kodumudi as more houses are likely to be flooded here on Tuesday (Aug. 30). https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/more-houses-likely-to-be-flooded-in-erode-as-discharge-in-river-cauvery-stepped-up/article65829406.ece  (30 Aug. 2022)

In case of Harangi dam also upstream of KRS and in Cauvery basin, the water level is about 76 cm below FRL, but outflow is higher than inflow.

In case of Hemavathy reservoir upstream of KRS in Karnataka in the same Cauvery river basin, the water level on Aug 31 just six cm below FRL, outflow is higher than inflow.

The case of Bhavani Sagar dam also in Cauvery basin is interesting. Here the water level is above FRL and now outflow is higher than inflow as we can see from this CWC hydrograph showing the situation during Aug 29-Aug 31 and forecast for Sept 1.

Same situation prevails at Kabini reservoir in the same Cauvery river basin, FRL already achieved on Aug 29, and now water being released to flooded river to reduce the FRL, increasing outflow.

In Upstream Krishnarajsagar dam on same river Cauvery in Karnataka, the water level already at FRL on Aug 29 is now being sought to be reduced below FRL while the river is in floods!

Due to continuous heavy rains in the state of Karnataka, the flow of water to Mettur Dam has increased. Thus the Mettur dam reached its full capacity of 120 feet. Flood alert has been issued for 11 districts including Trichy. All the excess water that came to the Mettur Dam is now being released into the Cauvery. Along with this, the water released from the Bhavanisagar and Amaravati dams also reaches the Trichy trident.

As of 6 am, a maximum of 1 lakh 95 thousand cubic feet of water has reached Mukhombu. This flood water released 1 lakh 33 thousand cubic feet in Kollidam river from Mukkom and 62 thousand cubic feet in Cauvery. These rivers are flooded. On the Kumbakonathon road from Thiruvanaikaval to Kallani between Uttamarseeli-Kautharasanallur, Cauvery river overflows its banks and flows into the Kollidam river crossing the Kumbakonathon road. About 2 km. I am. At length the Cauvery river flows along the road leading to the fort. The fields of Uttamarseeli, Gautharasanallur and some nearby villages are flooded. About 200 acres of banana crops have been flooded again. Vehicles passed through that road in the morning. Traffic was blocked on the road in the afternoon. https://pipanews.com/trichy-srirangam-amma-mandapa-steps-submerged-uttamarseeli-flyover-flooded-traffic-disruption/  (02 Sept. 2022)

Water release from Mettur dam increased to 2.13 lakh cusecs on Monday (Oct. 17), and the public works department discharged 1.4 lakh cusecs of water realised at Mukkombu into the Kollidam and 73,000 cusecs into the Cauvery. Overflowing rivers inundated paddy and banana crop on hundreds of acres in Panayapuram, Uthamarseeli and Kilikoodu. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/floods-wreak-havoc-in-delta-dists-15-cattle-washed-away/articleshow/94930128.cms  (18 Oct. 2022)

Collectors from various districts in the Delta region have issued flood warning as the release from the Mettur dam has been stepped up to 2.13 lakh cusecs. According to official sources, the Upper Anicut (Mukkombu) in Tiruchy received 1.90 lakh cusecs from Mettur at 6 am on Monday and 1.28 lakh cusecs was released into the Kollidam and 62,000 into the Cauvery. But, the inflow steadily increased and by afternoon on Monday, it rose to 2.13 lakh cusecs with 1.40 lakh cusecs discharged into the Kollidam and 73,000 cusecs into the Cauvery.

As many as 16 cows, which were grazing along the Cauvery banks, were washed away on Monday (Oct. 17) after they attempted to swim against the current. As there was heavy flow in both Cauvery and Kollidam, a herd of 16 cows grazing along the Cauvery banks near Grand Anicut (Kallanai) were swept away and they reached near the shutters of Kallanai. The cattle attempted to swim against the current in Kallanai, which was witnessing a heavy flow. https://www.dtnext.in/tamilnadu/2022/10/17/alert-along-banks-as-213l-cusecs-flow-in-delta-rivers  (18 Oct. 2022)

Shutter of Pambar Dam Snaps Open The Pambar dam was half drained out on Thursday (Sept. 01) after a shutter snapped open following an electrical glitch. The reservoir has a total capacity of 19.69 ft with 245 mc ft of water but was left with around 100 mc ft due to the snapping of its fourth shutter. The dam had reached the total capacity of 19.80 ft, and during heavy rains, 5,250 cusecs of water were released from the Pambar reservoir last week.

The fourth shutter of Pambar dam sprung open owing to electrical glitch in shutter control at Uthangarai in Krishnagiri district on September 1, 2022 | Photo Credit: Special arrangement/The Hindu

The district administration issued a flood alert along the banks of the Thenpennai river. The dam’s watershed spans over 2,501 acres in 12 villages in Uthangarai in the Krishnagiri district, while 1,499 acres in neighbouring Dharmapuri village will also be affected. Aqua farmers have been affected most due to the water drained out as the reservoir was auctioned out to them, but the fish have now been drained out into the river.

Engineers attending to the problem said that the fourth shutter was snapped open at a horizontal angle and the panel was found burnt, leading to a tripping failure and a shutter control breakdown. Department officials must bring down the water level to 39 mc ft to commence the repair. Engineers told IANS that bringing the shutters back to the earlier position would require 15 days. https://weather.com/en-IN/india/news/news/2022-09-02-tamil-nadus-pamba-dam-shutter-snaps-open-due-to-electrical-glitch  (01 Sept. 2022)

Stanley Reservoir discharges flood houses Over 80 houses located along the River Cauvery and in low-lying areas in Bhavani town and Kodumudi were flooded, as the discharge of surplus from the Stanley Reservoir in Mettur into the river stood at more than one lakh cusecs on Saturday (Oct. 15).

Houses located along River Cauvery at Bhavani in Erode district were flooded on October 22, 2022. Photo Credit: M. Govarthan/The Hindu

This is the fifth time in the last three months that they were moved to the camps after the river was in spate affecting their livelihood. Despite flooding, many families near the river continued to stay in their houses while few others move to their relative’s houses. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/more-than-80-houses-flooded-in-erode-district/article66013812.ece  (15 Oct. 2022)

Mettur releases huge quantity of water into flooded downstream, adding to the misery of downstream areas. It was expected that NE monsoon will bring more rainfall into its catchment, but the dam has remained near full since over two months when there was opportunity to release water to make space so that it does not have release water when downstream is flooded. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/storage-in-mettur-dam-stands-at-its-full-level-of-120-ft/article66128258.ece  (12 Nov. 2022)

Concrete floor on Kodiveri Dam washed away A 100-metre concrete structure on Kodiveri Dam was washed away due to heavy rainfall in Erode district of Tamil Nadu. The concrete structure was built at a cost of Rs 2.65 crore during the previous AIADMK government. The Kodiveri dam is located on the Bhavani river near Sathyamangalam. The concrete floor was built at the deep end of the river to prevent untoward incidents while tourists and locals took a dip in the river.

The Bhavanisagar dam reached its full capacity a few days ago due to heavy rains. 25,000 cubic feet of excess water was released into the Bhavani river. However, the water flowed out of the Kodiveri dam and the heavy rocks carried by the flood fell, breaking the sluice gate in the central part. With the concrete structure washed away, blocks of concrete debris were found in the region, which are being removed using JCB vehicles. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/erode-news-tamil-nadu-kodiveri-dam-concreate-floor-washed-heavy-rainfall-1990379-2022-08-20  (20 Aug. 2022)

Breach in left main canal of Kelavarapalli dam Heavy rain in Hosur led to a breach in the left main canal of Kelavarapalli dam in Kothur village. The breach resulted from a collapse in the section of a wall of the left main canal passing through Kothur village, causing the dam water to rush through agri lands. Kelavarapalli dam was opened for irrigation on August 4, with the water being released through the left main canal and the right main canal.

The breach in the left main canal of Kelavarapalli dam in Kothur village. Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT/The Hindu

After the night-long rain, a breach was found in the left main canal on Friday (Aug. 26) morning and the water entered the fields in Kothur village. This led to protests by farmers, who alleged that they had asked for scaling down the quantum of water released due to heavy rain, but in vain. Over 82 mm rainfall was recorded in Hosur on Thursday. The breach would affect over 2,000 acres of paddy crop, say the farmers. The water continued to drain out of the breached canal in the wake of the continuing downpour in Kelavarapalli watershed area. https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/heavy-rain-causes-breach-in-left-main-canal-of-kelavarapalli-dam/article65814488.ece  (26 Aug. 2022)

Kerala Parabikulam dam in Palakkad develops snags Kerala has been put on high alert after two shutters of the Parambikulam dam developed snags and opened on their own, leading to a dangerous rise in water level in the Chalakudy river. While hectic efforts are being made to plug the leakage, people living on the banks of rivers near the dam have been alerted and those living in low-lying areas have been evacuated. Shutters of the Peringalkuthu dam have been opened to ease the pressure. The government has meanwhile requested neighbouring Tamil Nadu to open all sluice gates. Parambikulam dam, situated in Palakkad district, is one of the major water sources for Coimbatore city. Fishing and tour activities in all rivers in the two districts of Palakkad and Thrissur were restricted in view of unexpected development. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/high-alert-in-kerala-after-parabhikulam-dam-in-palakkad-develops-snags-101663724963797.html  (21 Sept. 2022)

Parambikulam dam after shutter(middle) damage. Mathrubhumi

The Minister indicated that the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) would suffer a heavy loss because of the loss of water that could be used for power generation. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/flood-threat-from-parambikulam-blows-over/article65918923.ece  (21 Sept. 2022)  A new shutter will be installed on the Parambikulam dam in place of the one that was damaged and washed away four days ago. The new shutter will cost Rs 7 crore. The govt has also constituted a special team to inspect all the 90 dams managed by TN to prevent such incidents. The task should be completed by Oct end. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2022/sep/25/parambikulam-dam-toget-new-shutter-at-rs-7-crore-2501650.html (25 Sep 2022)

Karnataka-Maharashtra During a joint conference of Karnataka and Maharashtra Governors to discuss issues concerning border districts, the Kalaburagi district administration raised key matters of importance, including the sudden release of water from Maharashtra dams causing floods in the district, among other issues. Kalaburagi Deputy Commissioner Yeshwant Gurkar, who briefed the meeting about the plight of the district during monsoon, said that when water is suddenly released from Ujjani and Veer dams in the neighbouring state, villages in the district are prone to flooding and crop loss.

– “The district administration then has to take up relief measures in Afzalpur and other taluks. Before releasing water, authorities in Maharashtra should send an alert at least a week in advance to officials in Karnataka,” he said.

– Illegal Sand Transport: To curb the illegal transportation of sand from Karnataka to Maharashtra, a checkpoint has been proposed at Mashal village of Afzalpur taluk. https://www.newindianexpress.com/thesundaystandard/2022/nov/06/karnataka-maharashtra-governors-meet-kalaburagi-dc-talks-of-floods-schools-crimes-2515374.html  (06 Nov. 2022)

Telangana-Maharashtra Tribal families living on highway MEDIGADDA DAM on Godavari in Telangana and how it is flooding the tribal population in Maharashtra’s Gadchiroli, both upstream and downstream of the dam, that is part of Telangana’s Kaleshwaram project.

“Every dam is a potential source of disaster. That’s the reality and one needs to be aware of it,” says Himanshu Thakkar, an environmental activist and water expert, who is also the coordinator of SANDRP. “It’s not just that the dam could break, but also if it is not operated properly, it could lead to floods.”

A month after heavy floods swept Gadchiroli district, its residents are yet to return to their homes. BBC

On 8 August, India’s ministry of water resources had acknowledged that “faulty operations of reservoirs may sometimes result in flooding of downstream regions.”

Mr Thakkar explained how this could happen: “India has concentrated rainfall in three-four months of monsoon. So if a dam is filled right at the beginning of the season and it rains further, authorities end up releasing water from the dam while the area downstream is already flooded, worsening the situation.”

One of the things to ensure proper operation of dams is a “rule curve” or a graph that shows when and how a dam is to be filled gradually through the season. This graph, Mr Thakkar explained, must be designed considering the siltation and carrying capacity of the downstream river, or the tide timings, if the dam is close to the coast. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-62711069  (30 Aug. 2022)

Villages on banks of Godavari warned of flash floodsResidents of villages located on the banks of Godavari and Pranahita rivers and low-lying areas in the vicinity were alerted to the possibility of flash floods due to flooding of upstream Adilabad and the release of water into the Godavari from Maharashtra’s Babli project. The Kumuram Bheem, Satnala, and Yellampalli irrigation projects also received a heavy water flow. One gate of the Kadam project has also been opened. Meanwhile, heavy rains inundated the agricultural fields of Adilabad. Village roads and connecting roads were heavily flooded, affecting connectivity to other regions. Animals have washed away in multiple instances, while people were also caught in the floodwaters as officials released water from a few irrigation projects without prior warnings. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/070722/villages-on-banks-of-godavari-warned-of-flash-floods.html  (07 July 2022)

Maharashtra Mahim Kelwa Dam leakage: Another case of negligence Heavy water leakage has been detected from the Mahim-Kelwa dam at Zanjroli in Palghar district, Maharashtra causing danger to a few villages situated downstream, officials said on Saturday, Jan 8, 2022. A massive three-metre breach was detected on Saturday morning in a 41-year-old earthen dam with a 3.34 Million Cubic Meters capacity at Zanzorli in Palghar. About 1200 litres per minute was being discharged downstream. https://sandrp.in/2022/01/09/mahim-kelwa-dam-leakage-in-maharashtra-another-case-of-negligence/  (09 Jan. 2022)

Check dam bursts, water gushes into 50 Wardha houses Around 50 houses in three villages in Wardha district were damaged after a check dam constructed by the forest department on a nullah burst on Tuesday (July 12, 2022) night at Pavnoor village near Anji. Water entered 30-35 houses of Pavnoor, 10-15 houses of Khanapur and few of Kamthi villages.

The houses in three villages were damaged after a check dam constructed by the forest department on a nullah burst at Pavnoor village near Anji. ToI

Local police shifted affected people to temple in the night. MP Ramdas Tadas, who visited the villages on Wednesday (July 13) morning, said, “I have ordered inquiry and action against persons responsible for this disaster.” The dam was constructed with mud. “It will have to be constructed in cement and concrete this year,” he said. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/check-dam-bursts-water-gushes-into-50-wardha-houses/articleshow/92860947.cms  (14 July 2022)

Panel to examine causes of 2021 floods in Chiplun The state government has set up a panel comprising nine members and experts to study the effect of water discharge from the Kolkewadi dam into Vashisthi river which had caused floods in Chiplun town of Konkan in 2021. The panel has been asked to submit the report whether the discharge from the dam causes Vashisthi river to flood and also suggest stand operating procedure to manage discharge from the small dam.

In December 2021, several local activists from the coastal town of Chiplun in Ratnagiri district had met deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar and presented their observations regarding submergence of almost 50% of the town in two to three days. They had claimed that the discharge from Kolkewadi dam during heavy rain was one of the reasons for the flooding of Vashisthi river along with the encroachments alongside the river and narrowing of the stream due to dumping of debris. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolhapur/panel-to-examine-causes-of-2021-floods-in-chiplun/articleshow/91753369.cms  (24 May 2022)

Andhra Pradesh Annamayya dam flood Victims await homes The oft-repeated allegation of people across villages in the region is that the calamity was man-made and that the dam gates were not opened to release flood waters in order to save the tippers, JCBs and tractors of the sand mafia, which they further allege are connected to ruling party leaders.

– Almost a year has passed since the Andhra Pradesh govt promised to build houses for the victims of the floods caused by a breach of the Annamayya project’s earthen bund over Cheyyeru river on Nov 19, 2021. However, till date, all that G. Siva Reddy, one of the victims of the floods, has to call a home is a makeshift tarpaulin tent erected where his home once stood.

– On the reconstruction of the Pincha and Annamayya dams, Rajampeta MLA M. Mallikarjuna Reddy said, “The designs have been approved and cleared by the chief minister recently for construction of concrete structures at Pincha and Annamayya projects, spending Rs 79 crores and Rs 800 crores respectively.” https://thewire.in/rights/annamayya-dam-flood-victims-still-homeless  (03 Nov. 2022)

Odisha-Chhattisgarh: Absence of coordination, data sharing affecting people

Hirakud dam releases flood hundreds of houses As water was released from the Hirakud dam after heavy rain, about a hundred houses in the vicinity Sambalpur were submerged. The DM of Sambalpur informed that several relief centres were started. “Incessant downpour and opening of 34 gates of Hirakud dam by 9 am on Aug 14 have led to a flood-like situation in Sambalpur. Over 100 houses submerged. Relief centres opened,” DM Ananya Das, Sambalpur. The water level of the dam stood at 616.60 ft against the full reservoir level of 630 ft. The inflow of the water into the dam was 5,79,680 cusecs while the outflow was 5,60,614 cusecs. https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/nearly-100-houses-submerged-in-odishas-sambalpur-as-water-released-from-hirakud-dam-3254241  (14 Aug. 2022)

This report mentions the dispute between Odisha & Chhattisgarh recently about water data sharing, but very strangely, does not even mention the role of CWC, the only flood forecasting organisation in India. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/water/integrated-risk-assessment-of-dams-required-to-prevent-human-made-disasters-experts-84519  (24 Aug. 2022)

The opposition dubbed the recent floods as ‘manmade’ and stated it could have been avoided had the State administration taken timely action in coordination with its Chhattisgarh counterpart. Lack of coordination with the neighbouring State proved costly to Odisha as the manager of Hirakud dam failed to maintain the water level in the reservoir as per the rule curve, they alleged.

– They said the chief engineer of Hirakud dam had openly admitted that the mandatory meeting between officials concerned of Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments before and after the monsoon has not been held for the last three years. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/sep/02/bjp-slams-odishagovt-over-flood-handling-2494060.html  (02 Sept. 2022) Opposition parties in Odisha allege that the recent Mahanadi floods were due to gross mismanagement of Hirakud reservoir. Violation of rule curve is also alleged. It is also alleged that the rule curve has not been changed since 1988, and it needs to change urgently in view of changing rainfall pattern. https://theprint.in/india/oppn-dubs-mahanadi-flood-as-man-made-alleges-state-govts-failure/1093187/  (21 Aug. 2022)

A flooded locality in Sambalpur town. Express

How can we have safe operation of dams if neighbours do not even share water release data. This seems to be the case of Mahanadi Basin where Odisha has alleged that Chhattisgarh, the upstream state, is not sharing water release data. Flood management at Hirakud dam in question. https://odishatv.in/news/miscellaneous/flood-management-at-hirakud-dam-in-question-was-mahanadi-flood-avoidable–183355  (17 Aug. 2022)

Some useful information, but insufficient clarity or data about the Mahanadi floods and management of Hirakud reservoir. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/how-lack-of-coordination-between-odisha-and-chhattisgarh-led-to-floods-84402  (18 Aug. 2022) This mentions the CAG report of 2017 criticising Hirakud dam operation in 2011. There is also a role for CWC and its FF, where there seems to be a major failure. https://www.newindianexpress.com/cities/bhubaneswar/2022/aug/19/could-better-coordination-have-avoided-flood-fury-in-odisha-2489112.html  (19 Aug. 2022)

Odisha 10 persons stuck after sudden water release from Gohira Dam According to reports, on Friday (Oct. 7) morning, the group of 10 persons including five minors and a woman had gone to the Gohira nullah for recreation purposes when the water was up to knee level. However, at around 10 am, the water level started increasing suddenly after one of the gates of the Gohira dam located 5 kms from the Gohira nullah was opened to discharge floodwater. As water entered the nullah, the group made all efforts to get grip of the nearby branches or rocks to resist the water current and screamed for help.

Stranded persons being rescued by fire service personnel and villagers. Express

Subsequently, the villagers rushed to the nullah and immediately informed the fire officials of Reamal besides the dam authorities while some of them tried to rescue the stranded people. By the time, the team reached the spot, four persons had already come to the shore with the help of the villagers. https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/odisha/2022/oct/08/deogarh-stranded-after-floodwater-release-10-rescued-2505976.html  (08 Oct. 2022) https://odishabytes.com/10-tourists-stranded-mid-river-after-water-released-from-gohira-dam-in-odishas-deogarh/  (07 Oct. 2022)

Chhattisgarh Flood in village after breach in dam gates A village in Dhamtari district was flooded with water after the gates of a dam broke on Thursday (Aug 18 2022). According to the state Water Resources department, the breach in the dam gates at Bakori village took place.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/headlines/2148816-flood-in-chhattisgarh-village-after-breach-in-dam-gates  (19 Aug. 20222)

According to the state Water Resources department, the breach in the dam gates at Bakori village took place due to a technical glitch. “As we received info of failure at gates of the dam, we reached the site and found excess water overflowing from the dam. This resulted in drowning parts of a village. Analysis of damage to crops is yet to be done. We are trying to block the flow of water,” said RL Dev, Water Resources Department official, Dhamtari. https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/flood-in-chhattisgarh-village-due-to-technical-glitch-in-dam-gates-122081900121_1.html  (19 Aug. 2022)

Assam: Embankments, infrastructures are increasing flood disasters  

Many man-made factors behind Barak floods: CMThe reason given is that the breach of embankment along the Barak river in the town was created by some people. It is good to see that the Assam CM Mr Himanta Biswa Sarma has recognised that some of the floods can be due to man-made factors. And indeed, investigation followed by action is required in all such cases. But the CM should not limit this to just the breach of Barak embankment or the role of some of the people who may have breached the embankment earlier in May to provide outlet to one of the lakes. The investigation must also look into the role of the water resources department as to why they did not swing into action earlier, both in terms of repair and investigation. 

In fact, according to reports so far, no less than 297 embankments have breached during this monsoon so far already. Many or rather most of them have happened due to systematic neglect and lack of proper maintenance by the water resources department and needs proper investigation and action. There is also an urgent need for assessment of cost benefit and efficacy of the embankments in Assam.

Moreover, as mentioned by a number of experts and editorials in some newspapers there are other man made reasons including destruction of forests, wetlands, dumping in and encroachment of rivers, streams and other water bodies, releases from upstream dams, among others that also contribute to worsening the flood situation in Assam each year and needs investigation and action. We hope the Assam government will bring all of these into the mandate of the forthcoming investigation and action about the man made factors in Assam flood disaster.  https://sandrp.in/2022/06/27/drp-nb-270622-there-are-many-man-made-factors-behind-assam-floods-mr-cm/  (27 June 2022)

It is notable that last month, some people had cut the vital embankment to let water from a lake to enter the river. While the water level had risen in May, the embankment was not breached. But the rising water had flown over the embankment and entered the area. Due to this, the water level of the Mahisha Lake had gone up. As the flood situation was still worrying, the irrigation department had not opened the sluice gate, and the water in the lake didn’t recede, even though the water in the Barak river started to recede.

Due to this, people living in the area had started to dig a pathway for the water to move from the lake to the river. This did solve the problem, and the water level in the lake came down. But this was a big mistake by people, because when the water in the river started to rise again due to non-stop rain earlier this month, there was no embankment to keep the water away from the town. The strong water current quickly widened the drain that was dug through the dyke, and water started to enter Silchar through it. An FIR has been registered with Cachar police in the matter.  The WR department did not take action in time to reverse this. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/silchar-flood-man-made-says-assam-cm/article65567667.ece  (26 June 2022)

Unprecedented floods submerge Silchar town The Barak river has submerged almost whole of Silchar town and even entered the first floor. This has never happened before. The culprit is a breach at the Bethukandi embankment along the Barak river. The breach sent waters of the river rushing in and submerging the town overnight.

However, the scale of the problem is such that even rescue and relief has become a tough challenge for the district administration. Other disaster management officials said that the lack of boats was a major problem and that the administration had to resort to “country boats”. Strong currents, however, were pushing away these boats, making rescue even more challenging. “In the last few days, it was the rain but coupled with the embankment breach, it is a disaster,” said Dipankar Mishra, who owns a cyber cafe in the town’s Shillongpatty area. https://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/assam/assam-floods-silchar-rains-death-toll-7983001/  (22 June 2022)

“Only 7 per cent of the districts have updated their disaster management plans (DDMP) until 2020 in Assam, according to our analysis,” said Abinash Mohanty, at the CEEW. Ensuring updation of the DDMPs and, more importantly, its practical implementation can help manage floods better. “Usually when embankments are breached, villages inside embankments (between the river and embankments) are affected and are supposed to be evacuated. But this year, villages lying outside embankments in Darrang district, the very land the embankments were supposed to protect, were engulfed by floods,” said Nanu Saikia, executive-director of SATRA foundation, an NGO focused on disaster mitigation in villages of Assam. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/natural-disasters/climate-change-poor-planning-why-assam-s-floods-are-getting-worse-83361  (20 June 2022)

Floods made worse by dams, say locals The residents of Tetelisora Grant village in Nagaon district blamed their plight on the sudden release of water from the dam. The village is in between Kampur and Kathiatoli towns. The floodwaters of the Kopili have washed away the main road which connects Kampur and Kathiatoli and passes through Tetelisora Grant Village. Arobinda Deka’s house in Tetelisora Grant village was flooded with water till the roof, he said, forcing him to take shelter in a camp five kilometres away from the village. “The floodwater was very dirty and muddy,” he said. “The water also flowed at a high speed. We have heard that they have opened the dam gates – that’s why there is lots of water.”

The road running through Tetelisora Grant village. Scroll

Zakir Hussain of Pub Bagari village echoed these claims. “It was NEEPCO’s dam water,” he said. “Most of the year, it remains dry. They stock the water in the winter and release it when the dam is full and they cannot control it. If a warning had been given, we could have still prepared better.” Mokbul Ali, a resident of Paschim Bagari village, agreed – they only had time to run for their lives. “What will you save — humans or animals?” asked 40-year-old Ali. He also said that for about the last decade and a half, they had witnessed the river go from dry to overflowing its banks. https://scroll.in/article/1024610/  (24 May 2022)

Experts say it is futile to blame climate change alone and that non-climatic factors have worsened the flood situation. Rahman explains how ecological concerns were ignored as infrastructure building got a big push in the region. “The logic given for infrastructure building was that it is for furthering economic connectivity. But at the same time they were disrupting the ecological connectivity. If you don’t put ecological connectivity at the heart of economic connectivity projects, all such projects are doomed to fail in the face of climate change,” Rahman told Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/5/26/he-never-returned-widespread-misery-in-indias-flooded-assam  (26 May 2022)

Within a month, second flood spell The continuous rains for the last few days in Assam, Meghalaya and upstream Bhutan, coupled with the opening of gates of the dams in a few hydroelectric projects, have caused the current disaster. Situations in many places are tense as tributaries, rivers, and streams are gushing above the danger line; many places have witnessed breaching of the embankments by the rivers and also breaching of the rivers by the banks, inundating huge swathes of land, submerging houses, grain stocks, paddies and livestock. https://www.newsclick.in/Assam-Flood-Within-Month-Second-Spell-Submerges-Half-State  (17 June 2022)

The flood situation became critical in Bajali after Bhutan released water from Kurichhu dam. In Bajali, 2 people reportedly died and 2 persons were missing, authorities said on June 18. The water levels of the Kaldia and Pahumara rivers increased and many parts of the district were inundated. https://www.sentinelassam.com/north-east-india-news/assam-news/flood-situation-in-bajali-turns-critical-after-bhutan-releases-water-597942  (19 June 2022) Phoolmati, who lives in a village in Udalguri district of Assam, lost everything in the flood that came from Bhutan on Jun 16. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDD3-V9DBso (4 Juy 2022)

Why northeast floods are getting grimmer According to Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP, though, embankments are short-term solutions that are efficient at the time they are built, losing their ability to perform with the passage of time. Embankments along the river have made the problem worse, because the silt gets deposited within them, making it even more shallow,” he said. “When the river breaches one of the embankments, it’s catastrophic because of how the water rushes out.” https://theprint.in/science/another-year-another-deluge-in-assam-why-northeast-floods-are-getting-grimmer/1020323/  (02 July 2022)

Criticising the government approach towards flood management in the region by constructing embankments, independent researcher Mirza Zulfiqar Rahman said, “Flood management in this region means constructing embankments which are nothing but merrymaking for contractors. Since the 1950 earthquake, we are constructing risks (embankments and dams) in the landscape without properly mapping the floodplains. Even small dams like Kopili, Ronganodi and Umrangshu can create huge havoc.” https://india.mongabay.com/2022/06/unprecedented-flood-cripples-assam-massive-loss-of-life-and-property-reported/  (30 June 2022)

Uttar Pradesh Azamgarh: Ghaghra ring dam broken, flood devastation in 65 villages Hundreds of families in about 65 villages have been affected due to breach in ring dam by the rising flood in Ghaghra river. According to the Azamgarh district administration there have been leakages at many places along ring dam from Mahula to Hyderabad. On the other hand, near Chhitauni, the villagers are scared because the flood level is at par with the ring dam. Due to the strong current near Mahula Garhwal, a large part of the ring dam has been cut. https://up.punjabkesari.in/uttar-pradesh/news/azamgarh-ring-dam-badly-broken-by-ghaghra-river-flood-1694273  (15 Oct. 2022)

Rising floods in Burhi Rapti breached embankments at three locations in Siddharth Naga as result, flood water has entered hundreds of villages. Embankments were breached near Sonauli Nankar, Dadiya and Lamuiya villages in Shohratgarh tehsil causing huge devastation. Many villages have been cut off road connectivity with district headquarters due to these breaches. Several village have been flooded. There are many houses, half of which has been submerged in water. Seeing the critical situation, some people have shifted on roofs, while many have taken shelter along safe portion of embankment. There are leakages in embankment at five other places posing threat to safety of the structure and creating panic among locals.  https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/sidharth-nagar-flood-in-siddharthnagar-three-dams-broke-on-the-same-day-in-siddharthnagar-heavy-destruction-23139641.html  (14 Oct. 2022)

Two flood embankment breaches have been reported on river Burhi Rapti in the District of Siddharth Nagar in the late night of 12th October 2022. https://twitter.com/sharadcha1/status/1580939275222122497?s=20&t=QT_i1tM3F6N_bky2Lz1XlQ; One of the prime reason for increased damages during flood is embankment breaches. Especially, the old embankments are not getting proper maintenance. https://twitter.com/sharadcha1/status/1580938838712913926?s=20&t=QT_i1tM3F6N_bky2Lz1XlQ  (14 Oct. 2022)

सिद्धार्थनगर में बूढ़ी राप्ती नदी पर बना बांध टूटा – फोटो : अमर उजाला।

The villagers of Sunauli Nankar told that the embankment was weak and officials were informed about seepages in advance but no action was taken to fix it as a result it collapsed last night flooding the village. https://www.prabhatkhabar.com/state/up/water-entered-many-villages-due-to-rupture-of-dam-on-rapti-river-in-etawah-of-siddharthnagar-sht  (13 Oct. 2022) The embankment was being used as road and providing flood protection to several villages. It started leaking after rains but the officials did not pay attention. https://www.amarujala.com/photo-gallery/uttar-pradesh/siddharthnagar/budhi-rapti-river-dam-broke-in-siddharthnagar-many-villages-submerged  (13 Oct. 2022) Due to the continuous rise of Rapti, the power station located at Nebua got submerged and the supply of six feeders came to a standstill. https://www.jagran.com/uttar-pradesh/sidharth-nagar-siddharthnagar-flood-of-painful-story-of-people-suffering-due-to-flood-of-rapti-river-23133478.html  (11 Oct. 2022)

Every year, as many as 100,000 villagers in Barabanki relocate to temporary shelters when the Ghaghara river inundates their villages and destroys their crops. These rural residents are trapped between the embankments of the river built for flood control. Villages like Tepra are washed away and for the past three years now, people are living on an embankment awaiting compensation and rehabilitation. https://www.gaonconnection.com/read/uttar-pradesh-elections-barabanki-floods-displacement-poverty-compensation-ghaghara-embankment-water-sirauli-gauspur-ramsanehighat-ramnagar-polls-2022-50432  (22 Feb. 2022)

Punjab Ravi in spate, Gurdaspur villagers told to evacuate The gushing waters of the Ravi created havoc in Dera Baba Nanak tehsil following which the district administration ordered the evacuation of scores of villagers and livestock from several villages. An observation post of the BSF was damaged even as nearly a hundred jawans worked for nearly 18 hours to ensure some order was restored. A 10-metre-long breach occurred on the road leading to Dera Baba Nanak.

A 10-metre breach that occurred on the road leading to Dera Baba Nanak. Tribune photo

This road assumes significance as the BSF moves its jawans, vehicles and heavy equipment to strategic places near the international border on this stretch from its command headquarters in Gurdaspur. Meanwhile, Ranjit Sagar Dam Chief Engineer Sher Singh said the water in the dam was at manageable level. “If the need arises and the water level in the dam rises following heavy rainfall, we will release the excess water.” https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/ravi-in-spate-gurdaspur-villagers-told-to-evacuate-422717  (18 Aug. 2022)

Rajasthan: Kota Barrage Floods Damages River Birds, Chambal Riverfront

Untimely discharges from Kota washes away Indian skimmers nestlings Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), tweeted a video on Wednesday (May 11) showing a drowned birdling. “Sudden release of water from Kota Barrage has led to [the] flooding of river islands in Chambal, downing the eggs and newly hatched chicks of the endangered Indian Skimmer,” it said. It added so far 22 Indian skimmer nests with over 60 chicks and eggs have been washed away. “Many more nests of Little Tern, River Tern, and River Lapwings have also drowned.” BNHS appealed to CM Ashok Gehlot to halt the release of water for two weeks until the birdlings begin to fly.

BNHS tweeted a video showing a drowned birdling. (BNHS/HT)

An irrigation department official, said the water was released for an annual inspection of Gandhi Sagar Dam and it needed to be full for the purpose. “Following the state government’s permission, the water was being released from Kota Barrage since April 30. On an average 3,000 cusec daily were released.”

BNHS’s member Manoj Kulshreshtha said the Indian skimmer, black-bellied tern, and river tern are river system birds. “The sudden release of water killed the newborn skimmers. Earlier, also sudden release damaged their nests but it did not come to light. The govt needs to come up with a policy.” https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/release-of-water-from-rajasthan-washes-away-nestlings-of-indian-skimmers-101652247751157.html (11 May 2022)

Chambal Riverfront Damaged Hindi report on significant damages to ongoing Chambal Riverfront Development work after release of 5.25 lakh cusec water from Kota barrage throught opening of 16 gates. It mentions during 2019 floods all 19 gates were open to release more than 7 lakh cusecs of waters and such a situation now could have caused more destruction under present condition as the river width is being reduced from both sides. https://dainiknavajyoti.com/article/21782/the-uprooted-stones-are-telling-the-plight-of-the-river-front  (05 Sept. 2022)

Several areas downstream Kota were also flooded apart from River front garden. https://navbharattimes.indiatimes.com/state/rajasthan/kota/rajasthan-heavy-rain-leads-to-flood-like-situation-in-kota-and-bundi-latest-update/articleshow/93717387.cms  (23 Aug 2022) This report raises questions over contractor’s claims that the riverfront would not face flood threats.  https://www.bhaskar.com/local/rajasthan/kota/news/water-up-to-10-feet-below-the-river-front-some-stairs-submerged-leaking-in-the-returning-wall-130224243.html (24 Aug 2022) Several homes along the Chambal were flooded. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/rajasthan/kota/news/water-started-filling-in-low-lying-settlements-on-the-banks-of-chambal-rescue-teams-on-alert-mode-130064005.html (Jul 2022) Severe impact of floods on human habitations along Chambal river in Kota. https://www.bhaskar.com/local/rajasthan/kota/news/water-filled-up-to-15-feet-people-left-the-house-before-the-rescue-team-arrived-130234399.html  (26 Aug. 2022)

2 gates of Bisalpur dam opened as water level breaches full capacity 2 gates of Bisalpur dam in Tonk district were opened on Friday (Aug. 26) morning after its water level breached its full capacity of 315.50 RL/metre. This was the sixth time in the history of the dam when the gates were opened. The last time the gates were opened was on August 20, 2019. Since Aug 25, the authorities were waiting for the water level to reach the point when they could open the gates. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/jaipur/rajasthan-two-gates-of-bisalpur-dam-opened-as-water-level-breaches-full-capacity/articleshow/93807242.cms  (26 Aug. 2022)

Bihar: Erosion, Siltation are Emerging Threats

On Kosi’s banks, lives upended every monsoon Useful, in-depth story of floods in Kosi river basin in Bihar. However, the way it has narrated river frequently changing course is problematic, lacks accuracy and depth.

Birendra Yadav sits in front of the remains of his house. (Subhash Pathak/HT Photo)

Also it fails to highlight accountability on maintenance of embankment and breach and CWC’s failures in flood forecasting. It could have also highlighted the role of Farakka in increasing silt levels in Bihar rivers something even Nitish Kumar raised earlier. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/on-kosi-s-banks-lives-upended-every-monsoon-with-little-support-succour-101659724401138.html  (06 Aug. 2022)

Villagers abandoning villages In flood-prone Katihar, erosion by four major rivers – Ganga, Mahananda, Koshi and Barandi displaced thousands during monsoon. However, there is no official data on the number of people displaced by river erosion in the state. Ironically, the State government claimed that anti-erosion works are underway as a part of flood control measures in Katihar and other vulnerable districts. On the paper, flood-control measures, mainly the maintenance of long embankments and anti-erosion works, should have been completed by May 15, but works are still underway at several places.

Gopal Chander Mishra, superintendent engineer, flood control, Katihar, said no order had been given to date for anti-erosion works near Babla Banna. Anti-erosion works are undertaken only after the order is passed at the department level. Mishra admitted that Katihar is worst affected by river erosion that displaces thousands every year. This fact has exposed the negligence on the part of the government and its seriousness in dealing with increasing river erosion year after year in the state. https://www.newsclick.in/bihar-monsoon-fearing-river-erosion-villagers-abandoning-villages   (31 May 2022)

Farakka Barrage Impact of Farakka barrage is felt in Bhagalpur with reduced river depth, lower carrying capacity, the floods come more frequently. This says a study by Central Govt is going on and will be completed in two months.

West Bengal 8 drown during idol immersion It is not very clear what exactly led to this tragedy, if there was any warning, if not why so etc. Eight people were killed and 13 others injured in flash floods in the Mal river in Jalpaiguri district during an idol immersion procession of the Goddess Durga on the last day of Puja festivities, officials said. According to the police, the flash floods occurred around 9.15pm on Wednesday (Oct. 5), when the idol immersions were being carried out by followers in the Malbazar in Dooars areas of Jalpaiguri.

Local residents said that boulders were placed on the river bed to accumulate water for idol immersion. The temporary dam collapsed in the flash flood, washing away people. “The dam was created to facilitate the sand and stone mafias. The minister concerned and the chairman of the local municipality should be arrested,” tweeted a resident. https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/others/8-drown-during-idol-immersion-in-bengal-101665080406437.html  (07 Oct. 2022)

A videgrab showing the flash flood in Mal river, in Jalpaiguri. (PTI/TIE)

Dilip Pandit, a resident of Caltex More in Malbazar filed a police complaint against the local municipality, alleging that an embankment constructed on the Mal river had led to the flash flood that had killed his wife and son. A source said authorities had built a raised patch near the site of the tragedy on the river using boulders and sand to enable vehicles carrying idols to enter waters. ‘The complainant might have referred to the raised patch as the embankment,” said the source. Officials of Jalpaiguri district administration, who are conducting an inquiry into the incident, have said they are mulling over a proposal to prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) which should be followed at all ghats of rivers where idols are immersed after Puja every year. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/complaint-blames-embankment-for-river-tragedy/cid/1890777  (08 Oct. 2022)

The Mal incident, the first of its kind in recent years, has also led to the demand that ahead of the immersion days, the administrations of different districts should consult the irrigation department, authorities which run the barrages from water is regularly released, and the weather office. They should come up with an SOP (standard operating procedure) on immersion, “said Subir Sarkar, a former professor of North Bengal University. https://www.telegraphindia.com/west-bengal/lessons-from-tragedy-for-safe-immersions/cid/1890537  (07 Oct. 2022)

Gujarat Narmada dam gates to be opened Sardar Sarovar Dam water level have reached 133.6 m, and five gates of the dam are likely to be opened at noon on Aug 12, 2022 to release 10 000 cusecs water. This is in addition to release of 45000 cusecs from riverbed  power  house. Dam level is  going up by 5 cm per hour. Current inflow is 1.57 lakh cusecs. CHPH is releasing 4876 cusecs and 5100 cusecs is being released from Godbole gate. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/narmada-dam-gates-to-be-opened-gujarat-districts-on-alert-8085811/  (12 Aug. 2022)

Residents of villages along Narmada river in Karjan, Dabhoi and Shinor talukas were asked to shift to safer locations on Sunday (Aug 14 2022) owing to rise in the water levels in the river. The move came after over 1.5 lakh cusecs of water was released from Narmada dam on Sunday evening. SSP dam water level has reached 135.11 m, FRL is 138.68  m. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/gujarat-narmada-rivers-gets-1-5-lakh-cusecs-dam-water-villagers-shifted/articleshow/93564868.cms  (15 Aug. 2022)

The water level in the Narmada Dam went up over 135.2 metres on Sunday (Aug. 14), just 2.57 metres short of the Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 138.68 metres, even as Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) authorities opened 23 of the 30 radial gates of the dam on Sunday (Aug. 14) afternoon to release about 1.94 lakh cusecs of water into the river. According to a release from the SSNNL, although two of the five radial gates that were first opened on Friday (Aug. 12) morning were closed Saturday (Aug. 13) morning after the inflow from Madhya Pradesh reduced, the heavy inflow recorded over Saturday (Aug. 13) night prompted the SSNNL to open 15 gates until Sunday morning.

– The Riverbed Powerhouse (RBPH), which started operating at its full capacity in mid-July when the dam was positioned at 119 metres, has generated electricity worth Rs 104 crore in the past 26 days, the release said. – The Canal head powerhouse (CHPH), which has been operating its four units at full capacity since August 12, also produced power worth Rs 2.94 crore in three days until Sunday (Aug. 14). [Shows that CHPH was not operating to full capacity till Aug 12.] Inflow int the dam has increased to 2.33 L cusecs by Sunday (Aug. 14) evening. The water release from the spillway can be increased upto 3 lakh cusecs when needed, officials said. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/city-others/23-gates-of-narmada-dam-opened-flood-alert-sounded-in-3-districts-8090266/  (15 Aug. 2022)

Banana farmers in Narmada and Bharuch districts said that the final nail in the coffin for their crop was the sudden release of water from the Karjan reservoir due to heavy rainfall in the catchment areas of the river in Maharashtra. Harvesting was still going on these areas and up to 70 per cent of the standing crop was lost.

 Destroyed banana plantations in central Gujarat. Photo: Jumana Shah/DTE

“We lost 70 per cent of our standing crop and 100 per cent of the fresh plantations. The river rushed into several inland farms when water from the reservoir was suddenly released without warning,” Mahendrasinh Karmaria, a farmer in Bharuch, said. https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/sudden-release-of-water-destroyed-gujarat-banana-crop-allege-farmers-83752  (15 July 2022)

Sardar Sarovar to release 4 lakh cusecs of waterSeveral villages in the districts of Vadodara, Bharuch and Narmada, located on the riverbanks of the Narmada river, are on a flood alert as the SSNNL is set to release close to 4 lakh cusecs of water downstream, on Saturday (Sept. 18), from the 23 open radial gates of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which is flowing over its FRL of 138.68 metres since September 15. With close to 2.8 lakh cusec of water flowing in from the Indirasagar and Omkareshwar dams in Madhya Pradesh as well as the rainfall in the catchment area as of 6pm on Saturday, the SSNNL has decided to increase the outflow from 3 lakh cusecs to 4 lakh cusecs, thus sounding an alert in villages located on the riverbank in the three districts. https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/sardar-sarovar-to-release-four-lakh-cusecs-of-water-8157456/  (18 Sept. 2022)

Sabarmati Riverfront; Ahmedabad:- Entry to lower promenade of Riverfront restricted Water released from the Dharoi dam due to heavy rains in the Sabarmati river’s catchment in Rajasthan has led the state government to warn districts along the river. The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) closed the Sabarmati Riverfront lower promenade to the public on Wednesday (Aug. 17) evening. Residents of low-lying areas along the river, especially in Juna Wadaj, Nava Wadaj, Paldi, Ellisbridge, Jamalpur, Raikhad, Kochrab, Subhash Bridge and Gyaspur have been alerted. “Seven gates of Vasna barrage have been opened to set the level at 127 feet,” said an AMC official.

I K Singh, executive director, Sabarmati Riverfront Development Corporation Ltd, issued a press statement saying, “55,000 cusecs of water from Dharoi dam will be released into the Sabarmati river. The lower promenade of the Sabarmati riverfront is likely to be submerged. As a precaution to prevent any loss of life, it has been decided to restrict citizens from 8pm on Wednesday (Aug. 17).” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/gujarat-entry-to-lower-promenade-of-riverfront-restricted/articleshow/93626377.cms ; https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-dharoi-dam-water-release-sabarmati-riverfront-closed-8097254/  (18 Aug. 2022)

Lower Promenade At Sabarmati Riverfront Under Water. Jignesh Vora/Ahmedabad Mirror.

Following release of water from the Dharoi Dam, the lower promenande along the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad went under water on Wednesday (Aug. 24). As a result, the facility was closed to public as a precautionary measure by the AMC till further notice. https://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/lower-promenade-at-sabarmati-riverfront-under-water/81843535.html (25 Aug. 2022);  https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/gujarat-dharoi-dam-release-76000-cusecs-water-sabarmati-riverfront-lower-walkway-closed-again-8108908/  (24 Aug. 2022)

Jharkhand Coal town bridge caves in after flash floods A flash flood in river Barkar caused due to  record rainfall of 309mm in Dhanbad, led to a portion of the  Purbi Tundi -Jamtara Bridge to cave in early on Friday (Oct. 1, 2021), leading to disruption in traffic. The incident took place due to strong current of water in the river washing away the soil accumulated for the ongoing repair work and resultant increase of load on the existing pillars. Local residents said that that several pillars of the bridge constructed 15 years ago were in dilapidated condition for long and repair work of the bridge has also been initiated recently according to which huge amount of silt has been deposited on the both the ends of bridge to provide support.

Meanwhile, the incessant also led to increase of water level in Maithon dam situated on river Barakar which as per records of the office the Manager Reservoir Operations of  Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) has reached 492 feet around 3 feet below the highest storage level of 495 feet on Friday morning at around 10 am. In Panchet dam situated on river Damodar, the water level has also reached to 427 feet three feet below the danger level of 430 feet. Apurba Saha, Public Relation Officer of DVC at Maithon said, “The situation is not good as we have to release 1.4 lakh cusecs of water cumulatively from Maithon and Panchet on Thursday and due to grim situation of flood in Asansol we are further storing the water in dam.”  https://www.telegraphindia.com/jharkhand/coal-town-bridge-caves-in-after-flash-floods/cid/1833022  (01 Oct. 2021)

Some Relevant Reports

The ever-growing risk of big dam failure  “India is one of the biggest dam builders in the world,” says Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of the SANDRP. “We have a stock of very large and very old dams, many of which have growing safety and maintenance issues. Big dams need constant monitoring and maintenance, but unfortunately we are pretty bad at this.”

After decades of deliberations, India passed its Dam Safety Act – which mandates surveillance and maintenance of large dams – in 2021. But, says Thakkar, the bill “does not inspire confidence” because rather than creating a new regulatory body, the same institutions that have long mismanaged the country’s dams have simply been given larger responsibilities. https://www.energymonitor.ai/finance/risk-management/the-ever-growing-risk-of-big-dam-failure  (14 July 2022)

Only 4 states have Floodplain Zoning Law Environmental activist and water expert Himanshu Thakkar said even though some states have enacted the legislation, no state in the country has implemented it.  “The only state which did a little bit of work on it was Maharashtra, where they assigned ‘red’ and ‘blue’ line on floodplains, which meant that no activity within ‘red line’, which was restricted behind the ‘blue line.’  “Even that was de-notified. So even Maharashtra is not following it now. No political party is being serious about its implementation and there is no political will,” he said. Thakkar stressed that if floodplains are encroached upon or become a dumping ground then it is an invitation to major trouble.

– “In terms of increased floods and more urban footprint the situation is worsening. Also, in the context of climate change, again the flood intensity increases so it is urgent to come out with a floodplain protection plan,” he said.    https://www.outlookindia.com/national/flood-devastation-states-impervious-to-huge-losses-only-4-enforced-floodplain-zoning-law-news-221035  (04 Sept. 2022)

Chambal river front damaged after release of flood water from Kota barrage. Dainik Navjyoti.

A standing parliamentary committee has rapped flood-prone states like Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for not taking any initiative to enact the model bill for flood plain zoning despite witnessing huge losses of human lives, cattle and properties during deluge. The standing committee on water resources, in a report tabled in Lok Sabha, said only Manipur, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand and erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir had enacted legislation, though delineation and demarcation of flood plains are yet to be undertaken. https://theprint.in/india/parl-panel-hits-out-at-flood-prone-states-for-not-enacting-model-bill-for-flood-plain-zoning/1051238/  (22 July 2022)

Why EWS for floods & cyclones fall short Lack of impact-based forecasts, poor dissemination of information to those at risk, lack of data on the effectiveness of early warning systems and lack of localised action plans to follow the warnings plague India’s early warning systems. By Tanvi Deshpande. https://www.indiaspend.com/explainers/why-indias-early-warning-systems-for-floods-and-cyclones-fall-short-825110  (08 July 2022)

Edit Flood fighting inept Tribune edit on Aug 6, 2022 is on flood management this monsoon, a welcome sign. It rightly calls flood management as inept and in fact could have mentioned more instances of the same and also lack of maintenance of the embankment, lack of early warning system, failure of CWC’s flood forecasting system and failure of NDMA in ensuring even basic norms of dams following updated rule curves. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/flood-fighting-inept-419207  (06 Aug. 2022)

Opinion Flood not a disaster Nirmalya Choudhury writes: Holistic flood management strategies can help vulnerable communities thrive, not just survive. Flood risk management strategies would need to expand their scope from river engineering and embankment construction and address the diverse root causes through a set of interventions targeted to address the drivers of vulnerability. Risk management cannot be done just by the water resources department. It needs convergence across multiple departments. In the overall flood risk management strategy, the role of agriculture, animal husbandry, education, PHED and health departments are as important – if not more.

-Climate scientists predict an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, and hence the importance of warning systems will continue to increase. But from a risk management perspective, warning technologies are only as good as their reach in remote villages. It is here that the convergence with the tiered community institutions promoted under the National Rural Livelihoods Mission becomes important. With proper training, these institutions could act as a response force of the community to calamities in disaster-prone areas. https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-we-can-have-disaster-free-floods-8044624/  (23 July 2022)

Assam Re-conceptualising flood The conventional flood control measures such as embankments and cognate infrastructures have created a separation between water and land, or between the river and human habitat. This separation has had adverse impacts on local ecologies in the Brahmaputra floodplains. In Majuli, for instance, the wetlands are the biggest casualty of this separation. https://www.eastmojo.com/assam/2022/08/08/re-conceptualising-flood-the-assam-floods-in-context/  (08 Aug. 2022)

J&K Flood management plan faces heavy criticism Eight years after the devastating 2014 floods, residents of Srinagar fear a repeat despite a much-touted plan to reduce damage. https://www.thethirdpole.net/en/livelihoods/kashmir-flood-management-plan-faces-heavy-criticism/  (03 Aug. 2022)

A general view of the section of a railway bridge washed away by the deluge at the Chakki River after flash floods in Kangra district, in India’s Himachal Pradesh state on August 20, 2022. – At least 15 people were killed in India after heavy monsoon rains triggered flash floods and landslides near the Himalayan foothills, authorities said August 20, 2022. (Photo by AFP; Source:HT) 

Himachal, Uttarakhand Need to step up flood management An HT analysis of various data sets shows that multiple factors, including growth in habitations, need to be taken into account to understand the growing risks of floods in these regions and that mechanical interpretation of rainfall data can be misleading. https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/why-himachal-pradesh-and-uttarakhand-need-to-step-up-flood-management-101661947469018.html  (31 Aug. 2022)

Research Need to ensemble flood forecast in India Author Nanditha J.S. Vimal Mishra Abstract:- Precipitation forecast is available at various spatial and temporal resolutions, which provides a skilful prediction of extreme precipitation at short (1–3 day) and longer (15–20 day) lead times. However, the spatial and temporal resolutions and lead time need to be improved for precipitation forecast in smaller catchments and urban areas, which are prone to flash flooding. There is a need to translate the ensemble weather and climate forecast to hydrologic ensemble prediction (HEP) system through the integration of improved meteorological forecast, hydrologic and hydraulic modelling, data assimilation, and post-processing. We also highlight the role of improved inflow forecast at the appropriate lead for reservoir operations as the decisions related to reservoir operations can be critical for flood management. We, finally, discuss the need for an integrated approach at various levels to enhance the operational flood forecast in India, which is essential for the development of an effective flood early warning system. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2468312421000031 

Study Seismic sensing reveals flood damage potential Rapidly evolving floods are a major and growing hazard worldwide. Currently, their onset and evolution is hard to identify using existing systems. However, seismic sensors already in place to detect earthquakes could be a solution to this problem. Researchers led by the University of Göttingen show that a seismometer can sense a flood, such as the devastating one that hit Germany in July 2021, up to 1.5 km away. This could act as an early warning to save lives and lessen damage. They also found that being able to measure the “seismic footprint” of the flood provides information on its magnitude, velocity and trajectory in real time, which could be used for future flood protection. The results were published in Geophysical Research Letters.

– Dietze adds that “as 10% of Europe’s surface area is prone to rapid flooding by rivers confined in valleys, we may want to start thinking about new ways of flood early warning. The current network of water level stations is not enough to be adequately prepared for future events.” https://phys.org/news/2022-10-seismic-reveals-potential.html  (13 Oct. 2022)

Compiled by Bhim Singh Rawat (bhim.sandrp@gmail.com)

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