A permanent solution remains elusive for A.P.’s flood-prone areas

A suburb in Vijayawada was inundated despite the construction of a retaining wall along the Krishna, thanks to faulty sealing

Published - July 22, 2022 12:53 pm IST - VIJAYAWADA

Work on the flood protection wall under way downstream of the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada.

Work on the flood protection wall under way downstream of the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada. | Photo Credit: GIRI KVS

The record floods in the Godavari have displaced lakhs of people and left hundreds of villages waterlogged, throwing normal life out of gear for days.

This has once again brought to fore the plight of people residing in the flood-prone areas across the State. People living in several other areas in the vicinity of major rivers such as the Krishna, Penna, Vamsadhara and Nagavali, as well as some minor rivers, face the same ordeal whenever inflows into the rivers rise.

Floods in the rivers of the State particularly in Krishna and Godavari, the largest eastward draining rivers in Peninsular India, occur due to the inflows from other States where excessive rainwater collected in the catchment area is discharged into the sea.

Though flooding of several areas lying alongside the course of the major and minor rivers has been an annual phenomenon, there are no permanent solutions in place. However, efforts are on to mitigate the loss caused by floods.

At least 177 persons were killed and property worth thousands of crores damaged either in floods or heavy rains that occurred across the State between 2015 and 2021. Thousands of villages were affected and lakhs of people displaced in most of the districts, according to the A.P. State Disaster Management Authority.

The Penna floods in December last year cost 46 lives and property worth over ₹500 crore was damaged. The flood has affected villages in Chittoor, Nellore, Kurnool and Anantapur districts.

Minister for Water Resources Ambati Rambabu has recently assured a ‘permanent solution’ to the flooding in the river. He laid the stone for the construction of a flood protection wall which will prevent the entry of floodwater into several low-lying areas.

A similar flood protection wall project is under way in Vijayawada which has been one of the major urban areas prone to frequent flooding in the State.

The construction of a flood protection wall in the Krishna from Kanakadurga Varadhi to Ramalingeswara Nagar alongside Ranigari Thota area of Krishnalanka will be built up to a height of four metres from the river bed level by the end of July. The wall will be able to protect over 30,000 people in the areas of Ranigari Thota, Balaji Nagar, and Bupesh Gupta Nagar against a flood of eight lakh cusecs, according to the officials. The wall will be able to withstand an inflow of 12 lakh cusecs if it is raised up to a height of 8.9 metres, officials said.

A similar wall has been constructed separating the river and Ramalingeswara Nagar area in 2019, but due to the negligence of authorities, the wall was not sealed properly and thousands of houses were inundated despite the completion of the project.

The Water Resources department is also planning to construct two more flood protection walls to protect the city from the flood in the areas upstream and downstream Prakasam Barrage. The upstream flood protection wall will be built up to Bhavanipuram from the Barrage and the other one will be built between Padmavathi Ghat and Kanakadurga Varadhi spanning four municipal wards.

These walls are to protect the growing population which has infringed into the flood plains over the past several decades. Between 1883 and 1892, flood banks of a length of 230 km were built on either side of the Krishna to safeguard villages and towns.

Apart from Vijayawada, several villages between the city and the mouth of the river near Nagayalanka are prone to floods every year.

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