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Our Flood Woes

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A couple of rainy days and whole of Kashmir valley, particularly South Kashmir and Srinagar, is in panic because of an imminent flood threat. The scene was the same towards end of last month when the water level in the Jhelum rose rapidly with the I&FC Department declaring a flood alert. For the families who had suffered devastation in Sep 14 floods, it was reminder of the anxious moments before the floods and of the horrific memories when valley was inundated by the worse flood in more than a hundred years.

Time flies and we will soon be observing the fourth anniversary of our very own 9/11 i.e. our 9/7 (7 Sep) when most of the Srinagar city, particularly the left bank, was inundated with water column running as high as 20 feet at some places. Unfortunately, other than some cosmetic works (did they call it dredging?) nothing has been done in the last four years towards flood mitigation, control and protection.

From an engineering perspective, there are numerous ways to address flood problem in a river basin:

(i) increase the vegetation cover in the upper catchments and thereby extend the time of concretion of the run off and thus delay the flood peaks,

(ii) increase the discharge carrying capacity of the river by removing any encroachments in the river and/or by widening it and/or desilting,

(iii) construct a new flood diversion (spill) channels and pass the additional (flood) discharge through it to protect a major city or town but eventually drain it back into the river

(iv) increase the height of embankments (bunds) of the river to increase its carrying capacity and

(v) divert and store the flood discharge for some period to attenuate the flood peak.

Each of the above measure will help in flood mitigation and control though........

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