Guest Article by: Dr. CG Madhusoodhanan
The dams and their management received a central role in all debates and discussions across the country on the causes of the 2018 Kerala floods. The role of dams in the floods was negated by two studies viz. the Central Water Commission (CWC) report on Kerala floods[i] and the study by Prof. K P. Sudheer and team published in the Current Science journal[ii], both of which identified extreme rainfall as the primary cause of the floods. The latter study received wider publicity and attention because it was headed by an independent expert working at the premier technological institute viz. IIT Madras. Meanwhile, another peer-reviewed international publication from IIT Gandhinagar[iii] ascribed the floods of 2018 to the combined effect of extreme rainfall and dam mismanagement. Sri. Himanshu Thakkar of SANDRP in his EPW article argued that proper management of the dams would have drastically reduced the impacts of floods in the Periyar basin[iv]. More recently, Sri. J. Harsha, Director, CWC, Chennai has written a critique of the study by Sudheer et al (2019), in SANDRP which accused the study team of distorting science through ‘fallacious assumptions, accumulated errors in their methodology and the poor data quality fed into the hydrological model’[v]. A response by Sudheer et al[vi] to the J Harsha comments has now been published by SANDRP along with a rejoinder to the same by J Harsha[vii]. Due to these contradictory arguments and the highly technical nature of the problem, the dilemma continues among the public on the role of dams in causing floods. Continue reading “Role of dams in Kerala Floods 2018: What are we missing?”
Rejoinder Article by: J.Harsha
An article titled “Role of dams on the floods of August 2018 in Periyar River Basin” was published by Sudheer et al. (2019) in Current Science. A rebuttal was prepared and thanks to South Asia Network of Dams, Rivers and People (SANDRP), the same was published by SANDRP on 25th August 2020 (https://sandrp.in/2020/08/25/role-of-dams-in-kerala-floods-distortion-of-science/) for which Sudheer et al. (2019) has now furnished a response (https://sandrp.in/2020/09/19/response-of-sudheer-et-al-to-the-comments-by-mr-j-harsha-on-the-article-role-of-dams-on-the-floods-of-aug-2018-in-periyar-river-basin-kerala/).
In the rebuttal published by SANDRP, I had questioned the very basis of fitting HEC-HMS model for Periyar River Basin (PRB) by Sudheer et al. (2019), and also challenged the assumptions made by them, the methodology followed and the consequent voluminous inferences such as catchment response at Neeleshwaram (L2), virgin simulations, bank full discharges and particularly inferences that indicted nature for the flood calamity but exonerating the role of dams for the floods of Kerala in 2018.
Continue reading “ROLE OF DAMS IN 2018 KERALA FLOODS: Rejoinder of J Harsha to the response by Sudheer et al”
Sudheer, K P1,2,*, S. Murty Bhallamudi1,3, Balaji Narasimhan1,3, Jobin Thomas1, Bindhu, V M1, Vamsikrishna Vema1,4, Cicily Kurian1,
1Department of civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai – 600036,
2Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA.
3Indo German Centre for Sustainability, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai – 600036
*Corresponding Author: firstname.lastname@example.org
The authors of Sudheer et al. (2019) – hereinafter referred to as ‘authors’ – appreciate Mr. J. Harsha (hereinafter referred to as ‘commenter’) for his judgmental assessment (in his blog appeared on SANDRP website- “https://sandrp.in” on August 25, 2020, see: https://sandrp.in/2020/08/25/role-of-dams-in-kerala-floods-distortion-of-science/) of the authors’ work “Role of dams on the floods of August 2018 in Periyar River Basin, Kerala” (published in the Current Science in 2019: [DOI: 10.18520/cs/v116/i5/780-794]). As mentioned in Sudheer et al. (2019), the primary objective of the article was to examine whether the early release of the water stored in the reservoirs would have attenuated the flood peaks, and if so, what would have been the extent of the attenuation, in the context of debates and discussions in the social, political, as well as scientific domains based on non-sequitur speculations. Accordingly, the authors designed a scientific exercise using a widely used hydrological model (HEC-HMS) to understand the role of the dams in the Periyar River Basin (PRB) in the 2018 flooding situation.
Continue reading “Response of Sudheer et al to the Comments by Mr. J. Harsha on the article, “Role of dams in the floods of Aug 2018 in Periyar River Basin, Kerala””
During the recent Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) induced flood disaster in areas downstream of the dam in Gujarat, the dam operator, SSNNL (Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited) violated its own Flood Memorandum (FM) 2020[i] in multiple ways.
The FM-2020 titled “Disaster Management Plan – 2020” provides detailed information about how the dam operation is to be done during South West Monsoon 2020, that is from June 1, 2020 to Oct 15, 2020, or whenever the monsoon has withdrawn. It is published by SSNNL’s Flood Control Cell and carries the names of six highest functionaries of SSNNL on second page: Chairman, Managing Director, Jt MD, Director (CAD), Director (Canal) and Director (Civil). It says Officer in charge of Flood Control Cell of SSNNL is Executive Engineer (Narmada Project Main Canal Division-2) and the FM-2020 is compiled by Superintending Engineer, Narmada Project Design Circle.
An earlier version of the Flood Memorandum for 2018[ii] is also available, which is useful as it has some additional information.
Continue reading “How SSNNL violated its own Flood Memorandum 2020 during recent SSD induced floods”
સપ્ટેમ્બર ૨, ૨૦૨૦[i]ના અમારા લેખમાં અમે સત્તાવાર માહિતીનો ઉપયોગ કરીને દેખાડ્યું હતું કે સરદાર સરોવર ડેમ (SSD)ને કારણે ભરૂચમાં જે પૂર આવ્યાં તેને ટાળવાનું શક્ય હતું. ડેમના હેઠવાસમાં ઑગસ્ટ ૨૯, ૨૦૨૦થી ઓચિંતા જ ૧૦.૭૨ લાખ ક્યુસેક પાણીનો જબ્બરદસ્ત જથ્થો છોડવામાં આવ્યો અને ભરૂચને પૂરની આફતે ઘેરી લીધું. સરદાર સરોવર ડૅમને લગતા બધા કાર્યકલાપ માટે જવાબદાર સરદાર સરોવર નર્મદા નિગમ લિમિટેડે (SSNNL) હજી સુધી એનો સ્પષ્ટ, સુસંગત અને તથ્ય આધારિત જવાબ નથી આપ્યો. જો કે, નિગમ/ગુજરાત સરકાર (GoG)ના કેટલાક પ્રવક્તાઓએ દાવો કર્યો છે કે સરદાર સરોવર ડેમને કારણે ભરૂચ બહુ મોટી હોનારતમાંથી બચી ગયું છે. આ દાવો પાયા વિનાનો તો છેજ, એ તાજા જખમ પર મીઠું ભભરાવવા જેવો પણ છે.
SSDનું સંચાલન કેમ થયું, કેમ થવું જોઈતું હતું, ભરૂચે જે જબ્બર સંકટ ભોગવ્યું તેના માટે કોણ જવાબદાર હતા તેની તપાસ માત્ર કોઈ સ્વતંત્ર પેનલ (જેમાં સરકારના કાર્યરત કે નિવૃત્ત અધિકારીઓ ન હોય) દ્વારા થાય તો જ આ સત્યને બહાર લાવી શકાશે.
Continue reading “સરદાર સરોવરને કારણે ભરૂચ પૂરમાં સપડાયું: નિગમના દાવાની પાછળનું સત્ય”
We showed on Sept 2, 2020[i] using official information that Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) created an avoidable flood disaster in Bharuch, downstream of SSD starting on Aug 29, 2020, due to sudden, adhoc release of massive quantities water upto 10.72 lakh cusecs. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), official agency responsible for operation of the SSD is yet to provide any clear, coherent and fact based response. However, some of the spokespersons of SSNNL/ Government of Gujarat (GOG) are claiming that scientific operation of SSD saved Bharuch from bigger disaster. While this claim has no basis, this is like spraying salt on the fresh wounds.
Only an independent (not by serving or retired bureaucrats of the government) investigation would be able to bring out the truth as to how SSD operated, how it should have been operated, who is responsible for the massive disaster that Bharuch experienced, how can we fix accountability and what lessons we can learn for future.
Continue reading “SSD induced Bharuch Flood disaster: Reality behind SSNNL claims that it saved Bharuch”
સરદાર સરોવર ડૅમ (SSD)ના સંચાલકો જરાય વિચાર કર્યા વિના, અને કહી શકો કે, ક્રૂરતાથી, પાણી કેટલું છોડવું, ક્યારે છોડવું તેના નિર્ણયો લે છે. એમના નિર્ણયની અસર હેઠવાસમાં શું થશે તેના પર તો જરાય ધ્યાન નથી આપતા. કંઈ નહીં તો, ૨૬મી ઑગસ્ટ ૨૦૨૦થી જ એમને સત્તાવાર માહિતી મળી ગઈ હતી કે ભારે વરસાદને કારણે નર્મદાના ઉપરવાસમાં પાણી વધવા લાગ્યું છે. આ માહિતી પર એ કામ કરી શક્યા હોત તેમ છતાં ૨૯મી ઑગસ્ટ, શનિવારની વહેલી સવાર સુધી એમણે ડેમનાં સ્પિલ-વે ગેટ્સમાંથી પાણી ન છોડ્યું. ડૅમ ૭૦ ટકા ભરાઈ ગયો હોવા છતાં એમણે પાવર હાઉસો પણ ન ચલાવ્યાં. ઓચિંતા જ ૨૯મીની રાતે એમણે દસ લાખ ક્યુસેક – દર સેકંડે ઘન ફૂટ (૨૮,૩૨૦ ક્યુમૅક એટલે કે દર સેકંડે ઘન મીટર) પાણી છોડવાનું શરૂ કરી દીધું [i].. ત્રણ દિવસ પછી ૧ સપ્ટેમ્બર, મંગળવારની સાંજે એમણે મોટા ભાગનાં સ્પિલ ગેટ બંધ કરી દીધાં. આમ સ્પિલ-વેમાંથી નીકળતા પાણીનો જથ્થો પહેલાં કરતાં માત્ર દસમા ભાગનો રહ્યો. આ ૩-૪ દિવસમાં (૨૯મી ઑગસ્ટ અને ૧લી સપ્ટેમ્બર વચ્ચે) પાણીનો ૩૦,૦૦૦ ક્યુમૅક સુધીનોજબ્બરદસ્ત જથ્થો સ્પિલ-વે મારફતે છોડવામાં આવ્યો; એના પહેલાં કે તેના પછી કંઈ જ નહીં! પરિણામે હેઠવાસમાં ગરૂડેશ્વરથી ચાંદોદ અને ભરૂચ સુધી પૂરનાં વિનાશકારી પાણી ફરી વળ્યાં. પરંતુ લાગે છે કે, સરદાર સરોવર પ્રોજેક્ટ (SSP)ના સત્તાવાળાઓ અથવા ગુજરાત સરકારના પેટનું પાણી પણ નથી હાલ્યું. હવે સમય આવી ગયો છે કે ગુજરાતની જનતા જાગે અને આ માનવસર્જિત તારાજી માટે SSPના ખેરખાંઓનો જવાબ માગે.
Continue reading “ભરૂચમાં પૂરની તારાજી માટે સરદાર સરોવર જવાબદાર”
Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) operators are operating the dam callously, almost cruelly, without consideration of the impact of the operation in the downstream area. Till Saturday-Aug 29, 2020 early hours, they were not releasing any water from the spillway gates of the dam, in spite of sufficient actionably information at least since Aug 26 that rainfall is hugely increasing in upstream Narmada basin. They were not even operating powerhouses even though the dam was close to 70% full. Suddenly, by Aug 29 night they started releasing upto ten lakh cusecs – Cubic Feet Per Second (28320 cumecs or Cubic Meters per second) of water[i]. Three days later, in the evening of Tuesday, Sept 1, they closed most of the spillway gates, thus reducing releases from spillway to less than a tenth of the earlier figure. During these 3-4 days (Aug 29-Sept 1), massive quantities were released, upto 30 000 cumecs through spillways, and almost nothing before or after! It created massive flood disaster all along the downstream from Gaudeshwar to Chandod to Bharuch, but the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) authorities or the Gujarat government seem least bothered. It is high time people of Gujarat wake up and hold the SSP operators accountable for this man made disaster.
Continue reading “Sardar Sarovar Creates avoidable flood disaster in Bharuch”
Guest Article by: J.Harsha
Introduction: In August, 2018, devastated floods occurred in the southern Indian state of Kerala that led to widespread death and destruction to livelihoods. One of the worst affected basins was Periyar River Basin (PRB). While investigating the role of dams in the devastating floods, an article titled, “Role of dams on the floods of August 2018 in Periyar River Basin, Kerala” by Sudheer et al., (2019) was first published in the Current Science1 Journal brought out by Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru, India on 10th March 2019. The journal article by Sudheer et al., (2019) adopts hydrological model to investigate the role of dams in the occurrence of floods in PRB and concludes that dams had less or little role in the occurrence of floods in comparison to the natural reasons. However, when the article was reviewed, it was found that the authors Sudheer et al., (2019) had made fallacious assumptions, errors in their methodology, adopted poor data quality and they have arrived at erroneous inferences and conclusions such as exonerating the role of dams in Kerala floods but indicting the nature as the cause of floods. This review article therefore, using RS & GIS (Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System) techniques challenges their inferences that is based on fallacious assumptions, accumulated errors in their methodology and the poor data quality fed into the hydrological model.
Continue reading “Role of dams in Kerala floods: Distortion of Science”
The South West Monsoon in 2019 in India brought the highest rainfall of last 25 years and issues related to heavy rainfall continue even to the end of October 2019. Here we have listed major instances during the monsoon when there were question marks over safety of dams either due to structural safety or due to wrong operations of the dams. Some issues of breaches of embankments/ canals are also included here. As we can see, the instances come from across the country, including North East, North, West, Centre, South.
Continue reading “2019 Monsoon: Instances when Dam Safety Came into Question”