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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 06 August, 2022

  • 9 Min Read

FLOODS IN KERALA

FLOODS IN KERALA

Kerala is once again faced with flooding-like conditions brought on by heavy monsoon rains, similar to the one in 2018.

Additionally, a low-pressure system is forecast to build over the Bay of Bengal in the next two to three days, which is likely to make the rains worse.

Reason for Kerala flood

Condition of Dams:

  • The state of Kerala has 54 dams and out of which the majority of dams were opened because of heavy rainfall.

Over Population:

  • Kerala is at position three in terms of population and therefore it is one of the most densely populated states of India.

Deforestation:

  • The green cover in the state of Kerala has been eliminated since independence. In early 1900, the area which was covered under the Green cover was around 8 lakh hectares which are now reduced to 1 lakh hectares only.

Changing the Flow of Rivers:

  • Kerala is a state of rivers. This state is in the third position in India with a maximum number of rivers. Many development activities on the flood plains and encroachment over the river basins have led to a rise in floods.

Mismanagement of Dams:

  • There is a total number of 42 dams in Kerala and from these 11 are situated in Palakkad and 12 are situated in Idukki. During the time of heavy rainfall, the state was forced to open the gates of the majority of dams out of 42 dams which causes floods.

Unplanned Development:

  • The failure of flood control structures, unplanned reservoir operations, inadequate drainage infrastructure, deforestation, changes in land use, and sedimentation in riverbeds all contribute to unplanned development, encroachments in riparian zones, and increased risk of flooding.
  • When there has been a lot of rain, the river has breached the embankments and destroyed homes on the sandbars and along the banks.

Unplanned Urbanization:

  • Flooding has become a common occurrence in cities and towns.
  • The reason for this is indiscriminate encroachment of waterways and wetlands, inadequate capacity of drains, and lack of maintenance of the drainage infrastructure.

Poor waste management

  • Poor waste management also exacerbates the problem by blocking drains, canals, and lakes, leading to flooding.

Gadgil Committee Recommendations Not Obeyed:

  • The Madhav Gadgil committee suggested 2011 designating an area of about 1,30,000 square kilometres as an environmentally sensitive zone (spanning Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu).
  • However, none of the six states—Kerala in particular—agreed with its suggestions, which included a ban on mining, restrictions on development, and embargoes on hydroelectricity projects.
  • The regular floods and landslides that have resulted from this neglect are now readily apparent.

What occurred in the Kerala floods of 2018?

Following heavy rains in August 2018, Kerala had its worst floods since 1924.

  • The dams were fully stocked. The gates had to be opened because there was too much water being stored.
  • At least 35 of the 50 significant dams were opened to allow water to be released onto the downstream floodplains.
  • Levees and embankments began to flood as a result of silt deposition's gradual reduction of the holding capacity of the dams and the neighboring rivers.
  • Sand mining, widespread deforestation and forest destruction in the Western Ghats, encroachment that reduced the built-in area of the dam (further diminishing the capacity), and other factors all contributed significantly to the Flood.

About Floods

  • It is the overflow of water onto typically dry terrain. Floods can happen during torrential rainfall, as a result of ocean waves hitting the shore, fast snowmelt, or when dams or levees fail.
  • Even a few inches of water can cause destructive floods, or the water can reach a house's roof.
  • Floods can happen suddenly or gradually over a long period of time, lasting for days, weeks, or even longer. Of all weather-related natural disasters, floods are the most prevalent and extensive.
  • The most hazardous floods are flash floods, which combine extreme speed with a flood's destructive strength.

Way forward

  • To ensure the prompt opening of dam spillways and develop holding capacity in the reservoirs to absorb surplus rainfall, there is unquestionably a rationale for increased coordination between forecasting agencies and reservoir management authorities.
  • To ensure disaster preparedness, a comprehensive flood control plan is also required.
  • Affordable housing is the first aspect of urban growth that must be addressed to prepare for future climate change.
  • The best illustration of how to survive calamities is Japan, which experiences earthquakes and even tsunamis more frequently than other countries.
  • In policy and law, it should be made very clear how to manage watersheds and create an emergency drainage plan.
  • When creating a drainage plan, it is important to take into account natural limits like watersheds rather than political boundaries like election wards.

Source: The Hindu


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