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Floods UPSC | Natural Disaster| Contemporary Issues | Geography of India

What is a flood?

  • The immersion or dipping of land and human settlement by the rise of water in the channel is called a flood.
  • Floods occur commonly when water in the channel and streams exceeds the runoff capacity.
  • The gentle and sleepless channel has generally low carrying capacity or discharging capacity, which is why flood occurs more in plains and valley region.
  • Floods are also a disaster at it destroy human life and property.
  • Floods are relatively slow in occurrence than other disasters and can be a well-identified region that occurs at the expected time in the year.
Urban flood?:
  • Nearly every year, we experience a flood in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Banglore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata.
  • We do face flood problems in smaller towns and cities.
The reasons for urban floods are different from normal floods, the following are some of the reasons:
  • Groundwater infiltration is missing in Urban areas.
  • Lakes, wetlands, river flood areas, etc are encroached
  • Improper solid waste treatment leads to choking of the drainage system

Flood prone region in India

Flood prone region in India:

National Flood Commission[ Rashtriya Barh Ayog] identified 40 million hectares of land as flood-prone areas in India.
  • Assam, Bihar, and West Bengal are high flood-prone states of India.
  • Punjab and Uttar Pradesh are vulnerable to occasional floods.
  • Flash flood also occurs in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Haryana, and Punjab due to the changing pattern of the Monsoon and the blocking of most of the stream and river channel by human activities.
  • Tamil Nadu experienced a flood by the North-East monsoon from November to January month.

Causes of floods:

The direct cause of flood:

  • Heavy rainfall for a relatively longer duration
  • Storms surge in coastal areas
  • Melting of ice and snow
  • Reduction in the infiltration rate
  • Presence of eroded materials in the water due to the higher rate of soil erosion

Indirect causes of floods:

  • These human activities increase the intensity and frequency of floods.
  • Indiscriminate deforestation
  • Unscientific agriculture practices such as not practicing terrace forming, practicing shifting cultivation, forming of potatoes in hilly areas, etc
  • Disturbance along with natural drainage
  • Colonization of flood plains

The consequence of floods:

Heavy loss to economy and society:
  • Frequent submergence of agricultural land and human settlement in Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Eastern UP by the flooding river
  • Cyclone floods in the coastal states such as Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu
  • Flash floods in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, northern Gujarat, and Haryana
  • Floods cause heavy losses to the national economy and society
  • Million of people are forced to migrate to a safer place and become homeless
  • Loss of cattle
  • It badly harmed the tourism sector
Impact on Transport and communication:
  • Floods not only destroy crops but also damage physical infrastructures such as roads, rail, bridges, and human settlements.
Health implications:
  • Spread of diseases like cholera, hepatitis, and other water-borne diseases
  • Waste management and cleanliness challenge
Increase in productivity:
  • Floods also bring fertile silt over the agricultural fields that are good for Rabi crops.[ Positive things]

Floods preventions:

  • Construction of flood protection embankments in flood-prone areas
  • Construction of Dams
  • Afforestation
  • Discouragement of construction activities, mining activities, afforestation in the upper reaches of food creation rivers
  • Removal of human settlement in the flood plains and flash flood areas.
  • Hazard mapping using satellite data
  • Making and using Dam to prevent the flood
  • Need best available information for decision making such as Flood hazard mapping
  • Reliable Weather forecasting
  • Robust management of catchment water
  • Safety dam code
  • Buffer areas for rivers
  • Sponge cities concept of China
We do have many ideas and plans to avoid the flood, but what missing is willpower and implementation. We need to focus on implementation and outcome parts to prevent the flood.

Try to solve the following questions:
  • Account for the growing frequency and intensity of floods in India and suggest short-and long-term remedial measures indicating the chronically flood-prone areas. ( UPSC 2015, 250 words, 20 marks)

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