The recent floods incidents in the North-Eastern States highlighted the need to shift focus from Flood protection to Flood Governance. Discuss the causes and flood governance efforts needed in the North East in this regard.

The recent floods incidents in the North-Eastern States highlighted the need to shift focus from Flood protection to Flood Governance. Discuss the causes and flood governance efforts needed in the North East in this regard.

Approach:

  • Start into with vulnerability of Brahmaputra valley
  • Discuss causes of repeated flood incidents
  • Discuss how flood governance can be implemented
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

According to National Flood commission of India, the Brahmaputra valley is one of the most hazard prone regions of the country. The unprecedented floods have become a recurring annual problem in Assam and other north eastern states following reasons:

  1. The rivers in the Northeast experience a sharp fall in gradient causing a large volume of water to gush to the floodplains.
  2. Most of these rivers carry large amounts of sediments which get deposited on the floodplains reducing the storage capacity of the river channels resulting in inundation of the adjoining floodplains.
  3. The embankments constructed along the Brahmaputra River are now worn and torn. Most of the embankments are used as roads by the villagers further deteriorating their condition.
  4. Landslides and increasing top soil erosion due to uncontrolled deforestation in the river catchment area is further adding to the river sediments.

 

As seen in 2017 Assam floods, the situation becomes grim with the arrival of monsoon. There is a need to shift the focus from flood protection to flood governance by building resilience of local communities with the measures like:

  1. Reducing vulnerability of the local communities by adopting a Community-based advance flood warning systems. Such systems have been successfully piloted in parts of Assam.
  2. Providing adequate number of boats to enhance access to developmental activities during floods. Boats are most important yet scarce resource in the villages.
  3. Providing Elevated toilets, eco-sanitation units and elevated dug wells or tube wells with iron filter in the Northeast as usual toilets are of limited use in flood-prone areas.
  4. There is a need to maximise productivity by giving people access to cheaper sources of irrigation.
  5. Innovative agriculture techniques like floating vegetable gardens and short duration boro paddy needs to be carried out.
  6. Scientific fish farming on the water bodies and on the inundated land can ensure that inundation is put to optimal use.
  7. Strategic environment assessment of development activities needs to be undertaken in the Brahmaputra basin.
  8. Strengthening planning authorities like the Brahmaputra Board and flood control departments by staffing them with scientists from a wide range of disciplines is essential.

With combination of above initiatives, flood governance can be implemented in the flood-prone regions of the North East. However it would require a focused approach from both the Centre and state governments.

Subjects : Editorials