28 Jul Let’s make room for the river (The Hindu, GS-1, Geography, GS-3, Disaster Management)
Posted at 28 Jul 2021 in Current Affairs, disaster management, GS Paper I, GS Paper III 0 Comments
Context:- There was a devastating flood in Germany due to intense rainfall between July 12 and 15. When the German chancellor visited those places she said- It is a surreal, eerie situation and there are no words in the German language for this devastation. The worst affected areas were Germany and Belgiumbecause a month’s rain poured in just 24 hours in. This caused multiple rivers to outflow their banks, floodplain and flood parts of the two countries as well as the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Switzerland.
Why such intense rainfall:-
- The main cause of the floods is climate change.
- Some experts are of the opinion that the more CO2 the world emits into the atmosphere, the warmer the air temperature.
- Warmer air holds more moisture compared to the cold one and results in excess and intense rainfall, which leads to flooding.
- Increasing temperatures at the poles result in slower movement of storms in the midlatitudes because the difference in the temperature in the polar region and temperate region will become small.
- Thus, the storms stays longer at a specific place.
- The deadly combination of a slow moving storm and the presence of surplus moisture (Because of warm air) in the atmosphere results in intense rainfall in one location. For example Kerala in 2018 has witnessed 414 mm of rain in just three days between August 15 and 17.
The Netherlands and other European nation’s Best practices, which India can Inculcate:-
- The advanced flood warning system of Germany, this system includes a network of sensors to measure river water levels in real time.
The Dutch Practices:-
- More scientific and away from conventional dependence on dikes, dams, walls and gates to protect themselves from floods.
- Dutch have inculcated how to live with water, build with nature, development which is ecocentric and make room for the river.
They have created an adequate space for rivers to overflow:-
- By protecting floodplains from human interference.
- Deepening riverbeds and creating some alternate channels for excess water.
- Dutch have executed several projects which widen riverbanks and reshape the areas around rivers.
How India can learn and implement the best practices:_
- W, ,Indians have to learn to live with water in the long term.
- Flood Prone areas must be identified, and projects initiated on an urgent basis to create room for rivers and preserve the floodplain.
- We must identify the Low Risk areas such as playgrounds, maidans, or agricultural fields that should be earmarked to store excess rainwater.
- Some drains must be built for diverting excess water into these storage units.
- This will relieve the stress on the existing drainage infrastructure.
- The stored water can later be discharged back into the drainage channel once the high water subsides.
The United Nations Development Programme World BankEuropean Union Post Disaster Needs Assessment report says that
- The drainage capacity of the rivers and canals in Kerala must be increased by creating more room for the water to flow.
- We must remove the obstructions and encroachments from existing water channels, further the proper maintenance of such channels and create additional channels for water to flow.
- Strengthened disaster readiness
- Planning and preparation will help us deal with sudden, intense rain and consequent floods.
- National and State disaster management authorities (NDMA,SDMA) have grown in experience, competence and professionalism so there is need for a higher degree of coordination and preparation across all levels of government.
- Practice drills need to be conducted in flood prone areas.
- We need to test the effectiveness of flood warnings.
- The warnings should be in local languages and in simple terms.