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Q: What are the factors contributing to the high occurrence of floods in India? Suggest measures to effectively manage and mitigate the floods. (10 Marks, 150 Words)

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Flood refers to a natural disaster characterized by the overflowing of water onto land areas that are usually
dry. It occurs when the volume of water in rivers, lakes, or other water bodies exceeds their carrying capacity, leading
to the inundation of surrounding areas.
· As per Rashtriya Barh Aayog (National Flood Commission), 23 out of 35 states and union territories in the
country are subject to floods and recognized 40 million hectares of the terrestrial region as flood prone.
Assam, West Bengal and Bihar are amongst the high flood-prone states of India.

Factors contributing to floods in India:
· Monsoon Rainfall: Excessive and prolonged rainfall can result in the swelling of rivers and subsequent
flooding. For example, the devastating floods in Kerala in 2018 were caused by unusually heavy monsoon rains.
· Himalayan Rivers: The 2013 Uttarakhand floods, triggered by heavy rainfall in the region, resulted in
significant damage and loss of lives.
· Cyclones and Tropical Storms: Coastal regions of India are vulnerable to cyclones and tropical storms, which
can bring heavy rainfall and storm surges leading to coastal flooding. For instance, Cyclone Fani in 2019 caused
flooding in parts of Odisha and West Bengal.
· River Interlinking and Dam Failures: Inadequate maintenance, structural failures, or mismanagement of dam
operations can result in sudden releases of water, causing downstream flooding. The breach of the Machhu
Dam in Gujarat in 1979 caused catastrophic flooding in the town of Morbi.
· Urbanization and Encroachments: Cities like Mumbai and Chennai have experienced severe flooding due to
unplanned urban expansion and obstruction of natural drainage channels.
· Climate Change: Changing climate conditions can lead to more intense rainfall and subsequent flooding.
Examples include the floods in Chennai in 2015 and in Bihar in 2020, which were attributed to heavy rainfall
associated with climate change.

Measures to mitigate the floods:
· Flood Forecasting and Early Warning Systems: The Central Water Commission’s flood forecasting network,
supported by advanced technologies and river gauging stations, proved effective during the 2019 Kerala floods
and 2020 Assam floods, with timely alerts disseminated through mobile networks.
· Improved Infrastructure and Drainage Systems: Constructing reservoirs, dams, and well-designed drainage
systems have aided water management during heavy rainfall, as seen in the Bhakra-Nangal Dam in Himachal
Pradesh and the Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand, mitigating downstream flooding.
· Afforestation and Watershed Management: Promotion of afforestation and watershed management,
including tree plantation along riverbanks, has reduced flood intensity, as evidenced by the successful Kosi
River Valley Afforestation Project in Bihar and the Yamuna Action Plan in Delhi.
· Resilient Infrastructure Design: The Sabarmati Riverfront Development project in Ahmedabad constructed
flood-resistant infrastructure, including elevated walkways and flood protection walls, ensuring resilience
during floods.
· Community Awareness and Preparedness: During cyclones like Phailin in 2013 and Fani in 2019, the early
warning system and community awareness played a crucial role in minimizing casualties and ensuring timely

  • International Cooperation and Data Sharing: The Brahmaputra River Information and Flood Management
    System (BRIFMS) was established as a joint initiative between India and China to exchange hydrological data
    during the monsoon season.

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.