UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Flood control and management
The term flood is generally used when the water-flows in rivers, streams and other water bodies cannot be contained within natural or artificial banks. India is one of the most flood prone countries in the world. Floods occur regularly in India affecting about 10% of area. According to the estimates of the National Flood Commission (1980), commonly known as the Rashtriya Barh Ayog, Assam and Bihar are the states worst affected by floods followed by U.P. and West Bengal. However, during monsoon months, all states are prone to floods, including even Rajasthan.
A beginning in scientific flood forecasting was made in November, 1958 by CWC (then known as Central Water & Power Commission) when a Flood Forecasting Centre was set up at its Headquarters, at Delhi for giving timely Forecasts and Warnings of the incoming floods to the villages located in the river areas around the National Capital, Delhi.
The flood forecasting involves the following four main activities:
- observation and collection of hydrological and hydro meteorological data,
- transmission of Data to forecasting centres,
- analysis of data and formulation of forecast, and
- Dissemination of forecast.
The floods are categorised according to their severity by the CWC in the following manner (increasing order):
- Low flood stage
- Medium flood stage
- High flood
- Unprecedented flood
Flood Control and Management:
- There ought to be a master plan for flood control and management for every flood prone basin.
- Ample flood-cushion should be made available in water storage ventures, wherever viable, to enable improved flood management. Flood control needs to be given superseding consideration in the reservoir regulation policy even if it means sacrificing some irrigation or power benefits, in highly flood prone areas.
- More importance should be given to non-structural actions such as flood plain zoning and flood proofing for minimising losses and to bring down the recurrent expenditure on flood relief, flood forecasting and warning etc.
- In order to minimize the loss of life and property in the event of floods, there has to be stringent regulation of settlements as well as economic activity in the flood plain zones. Flood proofing should also be done to lessen the loss of life and damage to property.
- The flood forecasting activities should be modernized, value added and extended to other areas not yet covered. Inflow forecasting to reservoirs must be established for their efficacious regulation.
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