Finding new ways to tackle flood

In an effort to draw up a practical strategy for water management and flood control for the State, the Water Resources Department is looking at innovative methods including the Chinese initiative of ‘Sponge City’ alongside the Dutch ‘Room for River’ concept and the department’s own plans for flood-control dams in key river basins.

All three concepts will be featured at a national conference on ‘Policies and strategies for flood management: Kerala scenario’ planned in Thiruvananthapuram on January 23 and 24 against the backdrop of the devastating floods of 2018 and 2019. The discussions will be anchored on the central theme of integrated water resources management, a key component of the Rebuild Kerala initiative.

The deliberations at the two-day meet are expected to help the department draw up integrated plans, policies and strategies for improved water security and flood management.

Kerala is looking at multiple methods to contain floods, as the scenario here may demand a hybrid strategy combining different approaches.

‘Sponge City’

China had launched the ‘Sponge City’ initiative in 2015, which envisages urban localities designed to ‘soak up’ rain water and harvest it for various purposes including household use. The concept will be discussed at the conference under the theme ‘Flood management in urban prospect’.

In the aftermath of the floods, the Kerala government had already voiced its interest in the ‘Room for River’ concept of the Netherlands. As the name suggests, the idea is to provide more space for the rivers to manage flooding. According to Irrigation Department officials, this concept will be practical only in a few locations in the State such as Kuttanad.

The Irrigation Department had announced plans to construct a number of flood-control dams in major river basins including Periyar, Chaliyar and Chalakkudy. Initially, five dams have been planned. The proposal is expected to presented in detail at the two-day conference.

The conference will also discuss the integrated operation of reservoirs, ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction, flood early warning systems, climate change and its environmental implications, and land use control measures.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 4:08:09 PM |

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