Dams and flood control
- The efficiency of dams to withhold floods has always been put to question. Critics have also termed dams as harbinger of floods claiming that the essential scientific assessment for consistent release of water to avoid build up is rarely done.
- Absence of a standard operating procedure for releasing water from the dam gates was evident in 2014 when 24 students picnicking in a river were swept away due to sudden release of water from Larji dam in Himachal Pradesh.
- Similarly, area downstream of Hirakud dam in Odisha has witnessed 14 floods in recent past with nine caused by sudden release of water from the dam.
- A major reason is that the dam has not changed its flood control strategy for 23 years while the rainfall pattern has undergone major changes in local areas.
- Lack of a coordination mechanism between neighbouring states about water flow also leads to emergency situations like one in 2011 when sudden release of water flow from upstream dams in Chhattisgarh led to breaching of danger mark in Hirakud.
- In Gujarat, sudden release of large quantities of water from Ukai dam led to the biggest flood of 34 years in Tapi river submerging over 80 per cent of Surat, killing 150 persons and stranding over 20 lakh. Similar examples have been reported from other states.
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