Floods are the most commonly occurring natural disaster in India. What are the reasons for frequent floods in India? Suggest steps that need to be taken for proper flood management.

Floods are the most commonly occurring natural disaster in India. What are the reasons for frequent floods in India? Suggest steps that need to be taken for proper flood management.
Approach:
  • Brief Introduction to floods in India.
  • Mention reasons for floods.
  • Discuss measures for flood management.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
India is one of the most flood prone countries in the world. Riverine flooding is the most critical climate-related hazard in India. Twenty-three of the 35 states and union territories in the country are subject to floods and 40 million hectares of land, roughly one-eighth of the country’s geographical area, is prone to floods..
Reasons for Floods in India:
Natural reasons:
  • Rainfall: Heavy seasonal rains lead to rivers carrying water over their carrying capacity, as seen in frequent floods in Bihar.
  • Silt: Heavy sediment load from the catchments (especially Himalayan ranes), coupled with inadequate carrying capacity of the rivers
  • Cyclones: Cyclones accompanied by strong winds, high tidal bores inundates coastal regions and cause floods.
  • Cloud bursts: They result in flash floods, as seen in Uttarakhand floods.
Anthropogenic causes:
  • Drainage: Human impact on natural drainage reduces its capacity to carry away the rainwater quickly to streams/ rivers.
  • Flood plain encroachment: Population pressure resulting in encroachments into the flood plains over the years has aggravated the flood problem
  • Urban planning: Improper town planning, inadequate drainage arrangement lead to urban floods. Ex- Chennai Floods.
Floods create various problems such as crop and livestock loss, outbreak of diseases, water and sanitation issues, mud houses gets destroyed, access to basic services such as school gets restricted.
Measures for flood management:
  • Shifting the focus from flood management to flood governance i.e. shift from viewing floods as an extreme natural catastrophe to a hazard that is partly anthropogenic and partly natural.
  • Construction/strengthening  of embankments, new dams and reservoirs with specific flood cushion provisions
  • Desilting/Dredging of rivers
  • Catchment Area Treatment /Afforestation to prevent soil erosion, enhance water conservation and minimise water and sediment runoff.
  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • Rejuvenation of wetlands, lakes, dykes, drain as it will check the flooding to a large extent.
  • Capacity building through training and public awareness
  • Flood response teams, SDRF and NDRF as well as adequate contingency funds for immediate flood response
  • Flood Management Plans to be prepared by all relevant agencies
According to the estimate of the National Commission on Floods, 80 per cent of flood prone area in India can be provided with a reasonable degree of protection. To minimize the damage caused by floods, flood control and management planning along with potential impact of climate change need to be integrated into development planning for the country.

Subjects : Disaster Management

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