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.    

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DRP News Bulletin

DRP NB 10×22: All Pervasiveness of Climate Change and Anthropocene Impacts

(Feature Image:- Odisha: 10 stranded in flash flood after sudden release of water from Gohira dam. Source: TNIE )

A large number of reports in this week’s news bulletin from SANDRP are tied by a common threat. The report in NYT about how the South Asian Monsoon is becoming more intense. How the droughts like the one in western US are becoming more likely.

In Bengal people killed in October rains while they were doing visarjan of Durga idols and in Odisha people stuck by sudden release of water from a dam. In these cases of W Bengal and Odisha, strangely, there was no warning and no one is even asking why. In both cases it is the destruction of the river in the that led to create the crisis, but again no questions are being asked.

The report of death by avalanches, the more frequent landslides in monsoons are also in the same league. The SW Monsoon is officially over as per India Meteorological Department, but even as we write, the extreme floods in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are breaching the Highest Flood Levels in several rivers.

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CWC - Central Water Commission · Dams

India’s Rivers Breaching High Flood Levels in SW Monsoon 2022

(Feature Image: Hydrograph of River Godavari in extreme flood situation at Kaleswaram level forecast station in Bhupalpally district, Telangana on July 15, 2022. Source: CWC)

Highest Flood Level (HFL) breach incidents are important indicator of flood cycle and could also help in understanding the changing rainfall pattern. Though, with 925 mm rainfall[i], the south west monsoon season 2022 falls in normal category, its distribution both temporally and spatially has seen huge variations. This is also reflected by at least 57 HFL breach incidents in 8 river basin across the country during the SW Monsoon months of July-Sept 2022.

For past four years, SANDRP has been tracking the HFL breach incidents during pre-monsoon and monsoon months. The analysis of such HFL breaches in 2018[ii], 2019[iii] and 2020[iv], May-Sept 2021[v], Oct.-Nov 2021[vi] can be seen on our website. The pre-monsoon months of May and June 2022[vii] have also seen 5 HFL breach incidents. This report tracks the other HFL breach incidents taking place between July and September months.

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CWC - Central Water Commission

2022: CWC Flood Monitoring Sites in East India

Flood forecast and monitoring is essential part of Central Water Commission’s (CWC) work. Presently, the agency claims[I] issuing flood forecasts at 332 sites including 133 Inflow Forecast (IF) sites and 199 Level Forecast (LF) sites. Since 2018, SANDRP has been presenting critical analysis of CWC’s flood forecast website[II] in region wise manner.

In 2022 SW monsoon season, we have already published the overviews for North[III] and North East[IV] regions of the country. This third part in the series covers the states in East India including Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal (Ganga Basin). Our previous overviews for the region can be seen here (2018[V]) and here (2019[VI]). 

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Dam floods

Madhya Pradesh: Collapse of Lateri Stop Dam in Vidisha

(Feature image: Flood water rushing through damaged portion of Lateri stop dam. Source: Hum Samvet)

Portion of a stop dam in Lateri Block of Vidisha district of Madhya Pradesh collapsed in morning hours of Monday, August 22, 2022 amidst heavy rains. The earthen dam is located at Islamnagar near Murvas in Lateri block of Vidisha district. The stop dam in Betwa basin is reportedly built a year ago by forest department. The reason behind the collapse is stated to be heavy rainfall.

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Chenab · Dams

August 2022: Flash flood debris block Chenab flow in Lahual, Himachal Pradesh

(Feature image: Video grab of artificial lake on Chenab river. Source Weatherman Shubham @shubhamtorres09, Twitter, Aug. 16, 2022)

Debris brought by flash flood in Jahlma nullah blocked[i] the flows of Chenab (Chandrabhaga) river for about 6 hours in Udaipur tehsil of Lahual and Spiti district, Himachal Pradesh forming a huge lake. The incident occurred following heavy rainfall on August 15, 2022 night.

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CWC - Central Water Commission

2022: Overview of CWC’s Flood Monitoring Sites in North East India

During monsoon CWC (Central Water Commission) monitors water level at several hundred sites in the county and publishes this information on its Flood Forecast website[I]. The website has three ways to get this information: Data Flow Map, List Based Exploration, and Hydrograph view. The Hydrograph view provides information for past 72 hours, supposed to be updated every hour. This is in addition to the list of current forecasts listed on the website.

Since 2018, SANDRP has been analyzing CWC’s flood forecast website in zone wise manner. After examining status of flood forecast and monitoring sites in North Indian[II] states, this overview is for North East India region covering Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim states. This also includes part of North West Bengal that is in Brahmaputra basin. Our 2018 and 2019 analysis on the North East region can be seen here[III] and here[IV].  .

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CWC - Central Water Commission · Dams

2022: CWC Flood Monitoring Sites in North India

(Feature image: Bar Chart showing number of Level Forecast/Monitoring, Inflow Forecast sites in North Indian States & UTs)

Continuing analysis of Central Water Commission’s flood forecast website, SANDRP presents the details of flood monitoring sites in North Indian states comprising Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Chandigarh, Delhi and states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Before this, we have prepared similar critical reports and highlighted problematic issues in flood monitoring sites in North India in 2018, 2019 and 2020.   

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Landslide dam

Uttarakhand June 2022: Shambhu River Landslide Lake in Alaknanda basin

(Feature Image:- बागेश्वर के कुंवारी में इस तरह हो रहे भूस्खलन के कारण पहाड़ी से शंभू नदी में गिर रहा मलबा। Image: Amar Ujala)

In last week of June 2022, a landslide lake was formed on Shambhu river in Kapkot tehsil of Bageshwar district. Shambhu originates from Shambhu glacier near Borbalda village in the district. It joins the Pindar river another glacier fed river few kilometres upstream Jhaliya village. In turn, passing through Tharali, Narayanbagad the Pindar river merges into Alaknanda river at Karanprayag in Chamoli district.  

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Floods

Assam: Kopili River Flows above Kampur HFL for 6 Days in Pre-Monsoon Season

In the third week of May 2022, River Kopili at Kampur Level Forecast (LF) site in Nagaon district of Assam has witnessed Extreme Flood Situation. The flood level at the site not only crossed the Highest Flood Level (HFL) there after 18 years but also stayed over HFL unusually for about 149 hours. 

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