INTERVIEW M.N. Rajeevan Kochi

‘Time to formulate policies to conserve State’s water resources’

M.N. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, in Kochi on Saturday.

M.N. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, in Kochi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: H_Vibhu

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Development should never be at the cost of nature: expert

Kerala needs to formulate good policies for conservation of its water resources in view of the challenges offered by extreme weather conditions and climate change, said M.N. Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES). An expert in monsoon prediction, climate change and extreme weather events, Dr. Rajeevan warned that floods are man-made disasters while reminding that development should not be at the cost of destructing the environment. Excerpts from an interview on the sidelines of the Kerala Science Fest organised by Swadeshi Science Movement here.

On the need for scientific land use and planning

“We should have a good policy for conservation of natural waterbodies. These natural resources must not be filled up. Even a small water system can absorb rainwater and reduce flooding. You need a lot of studies on identifying flood-prone areas and areas where floodwater can be minimised. Construction along the riverside will affect its natural flow. Landslides are mainly caused by human activity. We have to be careful against anything that will go against the natural system of waterbodies. Scientific planning has to be there before initiating development work to ensure that it will not lead to disasters in the future.”

Support from MoES for Kerala

“The State will have 100 more automatic weather stations by June 2020. Fifteen of them will come up in a month. MoES will fund and install them. The locations will be identified by the State government, and the State Disaster Management Authority will manage them.

Kannur Airport will soon have an X-band radar being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation, which will help in predicting weather events in areas like Wayanad in advance. The weather prediction for Kerala will get a major boost with the commissioning of radars in Kannur and Mangalore along with the existing ones in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.”

On the spike in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather

“This is not applicable to Kerala alone but will be a pattern everywhere in view of climate change and global warming. Seasonal rainfall have not changed much. Nowadays what we find is that when it rains, it rains very heavily. The quantity of rain that comes down and visibly goes in a run-off is very high. Global warming is another concern. The frequency of cyclones may not be increasing. But intensification is taking place in a shorter period.”

Challenges in early prediction being faced by agencies like IMD

“Yes. The challenges for earlier forecasting of extreme weather events have now gone up. IMD has perfected prediction of tropical cyclones.

We have the best of systems in place. But Ockhi was a very different kind of system. However, we could warn Kerala government two days in advance. By that time, fishermen had gone to the seas, and they could not come back. Ockhi is a very rare phenomenon. Now, we should expect lot of storms in the Bay of Bengal as well as the Arabian Sea.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 1:54:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/time-to-formulate-policies-to-conserve-states-water-resources/article30064755.ece

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