‘Lack of preparedness ledto climate-driven disasters’

Climate scientist calls for regular monitoring of dams

Lack of preparedness and poor management keeping in mind the peculiar hydrology of the Western Ghats have led to two consecutive climate-related disasters in the State, said climate scientist C.G. Madhusoodhanan.

“We have a disaster management plan for each district but this does not incorporate any real-time data sets,” Dr. Madhusoodhanan said. He stressed the need for regular monitoring of dams and online publication of all related data along with advanced flood warning systems for populations in downstream areas of major rivers.

Heavy rainfall is not uncommon and it was poor dam management that contributed to the floods of 2018, he said at a workshop, ‘Liveable Urbanism,’ on climate change realities organised by the Indian Institute of Architects, Kochi chapter here on Saturday.

The severe drought following the 2018 flood was a result of the hydrology of the Western Ghats where most of the rainwater seeps into the soil. Much of this water flows through naturally forming soil pipes which are highly dynamic. If there is an increase in the amount of rainfall, the pipes will fail and cause landslips, he explained.

The complex interconnection of energy sources, water and land, and the massive population leaves India particularly vulnerable to even small climate variations and at high risk in terms of climate-related disasters. “Despite treading on a tightrope, we are far from prepared,” Dr. Madhusoodhanan.

“We have around 200 dams that are over a 100 years old and 600 dams in the country are in seismic zones. We do not have an emergency plan or even a clear database that documents where the dams are. Moreover, the Dam Safety Bill only looks at the safety of the dam and not the people,” he said.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 1:17:41 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/lack-of-preparedness-ledto-climate-driven-disasters/article29309452.ece

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