Is flood really a calamity?
Why is it that every time we hear flood, we relate it to destruction. Why it is that hearing flood gives us first pictures of mass destruction, fatality, property loss and much more.
Since childhood; in schools and other Alma maters, we are taught the significance of the floods. How floods are important to the fertility of the river’s embankment areas. How does arable silt from mountain flows down with fertile minerals and other useful sediments and enrich the soil? Floods bring the new and rich layer of soil which is generally very fertile and productive.
Floods are an essential part of rivers’ life cycle. This is the main reason why Ganga-Jamuna Plains are densely populated. They are the most fertile plains due to periodic floods.
Floods periodically clear the river channels that generally get congested with the flowed in sediments, silt, and rocks. With heavy floods, every obstruction gets evaded from the channel of the flowing river. River claims every encroachment that has come its way.
Floods recharge the underground water table. It is observed that flood plains with periodic floods are more populated than others.
According to experts, Floods are not a bane. Floodplains have the higher water level. This is a reason why fewer people carry pots of water on Ganga-Jamuna plains.
Floods are not sudden crisis rather they are fixed and periodic events. Destruction occurs when people encroach the flood plains. Experts believe that flood forecasting is required to alert people in the region about the possible consequences. Barring encroachments and obstructions in the way of the river. Storm forecast can be preventive in the case of urban flooding.
Time and experiences from last many years demand for an adaptive flood management techniques to be deployed and construction or any encroachments on river's flood plain should be made after a very careful study of river's behavior since her 100-year cycle.
The problem with India is and as discussed time to time, even if authorities plan for a minimal development along the river's flood plain, a lot of unauthorized construction comes along.
Since floods are cyclic events with major floods only recurring after 10 years or 100 years, it gives a lot of time for people to set up colonies where they shouldn't be any.
With elections, every now and then politicians keep regularizing these habitations looking for some short term gains but putting lives and property in danger.
In old days people did have the concept of floods and local adaptive management's were in place, where farmlands and highlands were known to people. With it flooded affected could move up or come down, there was no concept of "pukka" or concretization. And that did let people live along with nature for so long.
With major habitations coming nearer and nearer to water bodies, encroaching over them the flood patterns and river system behaviors have changed. The models or warning systems in place earlier have no impact now, aided by encroachment and short term vision of planning bodies the situation is turning from grim to grimmer.
How can you help?
Do you want to work on the adaptive flood management in your or any area of interest. Do you want to put this in practice and setup local disaster recovery systems in place to save some lives. Floods are reality and necessity, we need them to survive, the problem is can we live with them and adapt accordingly.
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