Kashmir Indepth

I&FC Dept calls for preparation of master plan for flood prone areas

Faizan Ahmad
Srinagar Sep 28 (KINS): As Kashmir is prone to floods, the Irrigation and Flood Control department has emphasised the preparation of a master plan for flood prone areas that could help Kashmir to prevent floods in future.
A senior official said the department has stressed the preparation of a master plan for flood prone areas, and called for various measures to prevent the valley from floods in the future.
“Measures to establish the extensive networks for flood forecasting to give timely warnings to the people likely to be affected shall also be outlined. A roadmap for determination of the limits of the flood basins and the necessary exercises to be carried out shall be prepared,” the official quoting Irrigation and Flood Control Department having said to the government.
Further, it has emphasised measures to protect the natural drainage systems with a view to removing artificial barriers in the path of flow of excess drainage water. “Operating procedures for reservoirs shall be evolved, and implemented in such a manner so as to have flood cushion, and reduce trapping of sediments during flood seasons,” the official told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS) while quoting Irrigation and Flood Control Department having told to the government.
Kashmir has a history of floods since 1990. As per the official records, the state has witnessed major floods in 1900, 1902, 1903, 1905, 1912, 1929, 1948, 1950, 1955, 1957 and 1959. Floods were also witnessed in the years 1976, 1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1997 and in September 2014. The floods of September 2014 caused immense damage resulting in loss of land, lives, houses and public infrastructure.
A study titled ‘A satellite-based rapid assessment on floods in Jammu & Kashmir–September, 2014’ conducted jointly by the Department of Environment & Remote Sensing (DERS) and ISRO has warned that intensity of rainfall and frequency of rainy days in the Himalayan region may increase in 2030s, leading to another flood in Kashmir if immediate steps are not taken to restore the drainage system of Jhelum.
According to a disaster management report, 13 districts in J&K out of 100 districts in India have been identified as ‘multi hazard districts’.
“Majority areas of the valley, especially Sonawari, Awantipora and Srinagar, along with parts of Jammu are prone to floods. Upper catchments of all the tributaries of the Jhelum, Indus, Chenab and Tawi rivers are prone to flash floods,” the report says. All these areas were worst hit by September 2014 floods.
A senior official of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said the Wular Lake which is the largest flood absorption basin has lost the water carrying capacity due to a host of factors.  “Several surveys have found gross human interference, deforestation, encroachments, choking of waterways and reduction in capacity of wet lands due to heavy siltation posing an imminent threat of floods even by average downpour,” the official said. “Government should prepare a master plan and issue directions to implement it,” he added. (KINS) 

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